The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Unhappy marriage unhealthy

Chicago, Dec. 6 (Reuters): There is even more proof that an unhappy marriage is bad for your health, researchers said.

The stress that comes from discord appears to slow the initial production of a blood protein ' proinflammatory cytokines ' at the wound site, that is key to healing wounds, the report from Ohio State University said.

Quarrelling couples studied in a laboratory setting had a slower wound healing process than when they were not arguing, as measured by how rapidly blisters healed. The blisters were deliberately inflicted using a vacuum pump on the arm.

“Couples who demonstrated consistently higher levels of hostile behaviours ... healed at 60 per cent of the rate of low-hostile couples,” said the report published in the December issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The study involved 42 married couples, aged 22 to 77. They were tested twice ' first in a social setting and then again when they were told to get into disagreements.

But the study also found that couples with high degrees of conflict had higher levels of the same cytokines generally in the bloodstream the morning after an argument.

While greater early production at wound sites is beneficial, the authors said, a higher systemic level is harmful.

“Elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines have been linked to a variety of age-related disease, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis ... certain cancers, and frailty and functional decline,” the study said.

There is already a sizeable body of research that shows marital disagreement causes adverse health impacts ranging from high blood pressure and depression to the abil ity to cope with heart disease and heart failure, says the report.

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