Marital Blues Bring Ills – married women: arguments with husband may cause physical suffering

Marital Blues Bring Ills – married women: arguments with husband may cause physical suffering – Brief Article

Kirsten Galisson

Fighting with her husband can leave a wife more than just sick at heart–she may also suffer physically and consequently end the marriage. Ohio State University (OSU) researchers looked for physiological consequences of stress in marital relationships in 90 couples on two separate occasions: when they were first married and again years later. While the couples discussed their marital issues and relationship history, researchers measured their levels of cortisol–a stress hormone–while counting the number of both negative and positive words used.

Presented at the 2000 American Psychological Association convention, the study found that wives who used fewer negative words when describing their marriages had decreased cortisol levels. But when using more negative words, cortisol levels were much higher than that of their husbands. In the follow-up study, conducted eight to 12 years later, those women who had experienced increased cortisol levels were more than twice as likely to be divorced than were the others.

According to Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph.D., study author and OSU psychology and psychiatry professor, the findings suggest that women are more cognitively and emotionally sensitive to marital distress than are men. “Women function as barometers of distressed marriages, [and their physiological arousal] may be tied to greater propensity to mend or end their marriages,” she explains. “For women, immunological responses to conflict may be one bellwether for subsequent changes about the relationship.”

COPYRIGHT 2001 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group