Research conducted by the University of Michigan links stress, negative relationship quality and high blood pressure in older married couples.
- Husbands had higher blood pressure when their wives reported greater stress.
- Husbands who reported greater stress had lower blood pressure when their wives reported lower stress.
- Wives who reported greater stress had lower blood pressure when their husbands reported greater stress.
The researchers speculated that these findings were due to the fact that husbands relied on their wives for support, whereas wives had a broader support network.
According to the paper, “When both partners reported higher levels of negative relationship quality, there were negative health effects.”
However, the paper did not address why partners may have viewed the relationship as negative. I wonder what would happen if this study were done with couples in which one partner was disordered.
Stress and negative relationship quality among older couples: Implications for blood pressure, published by the Journals of Gerontology.