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Could arguing with your partner be good for your health?

study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine has found that the likelihood of premature death is lower for couples who row. This is providing the row is of equal intensity on both sides however. Contrastingly, the risk of an early death could be as much as doubled if one partner bottles up their anger while the other vents their feelings.

192 couples were studied over 32 years to see whether the way that they argue had an effect on their lifespan. The study found that the couples who row with an equal intensity had the lowest risk of death, with the husband having on average a 24% risk of death and the wife an 18% risk over the 32-year period.

The study found that the couples who row with an equal intensity had the lowest risk of death 

This means that the more similar the coping mechanisms of anger between the couple, the healthier it will be for each individual. If the coping mechanisms significantly differed, this would leave both parties feeling dissatisfied, one may want to have more heated disagreements for example, whereas another partner might not. This also leads to more daily conflict and in turn more stress.

A greater amount of stress can be detrimental to health in a number of ways including hypertension (high blood pressure) which in turn can lead to cardiovascular disease. Stress is also associated with causing elevated levels of the hormone cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels can interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, and increase blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease as it down-regulates responses which are not involved in the fight-or-flight situation.

Elevated cortisol levels can interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, and increase blood pressure

Overall, the key to a healthy relationship and greater individual health for both partners could be both partners venting their anger and their feelings as both remain satisfied for longer and the amount of daily conflict would be reduced. So next time you have a row with your partner, remember it could actually be beneficial for your health!

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