fbpx
Connect with us

adult relationships

Negative marital communications leave literal, figurative wounds

Published

on

Study links destructive interaction patterns to lower immune function

Newswise — COLUMBUS, Ohio – A tendency for one or both spouses to avoid or withdraw from tough conversations could set up married couples for emotional distress, bad feelings about their relationship, chronic inflammation and lowered immune function, new research suggests. 

The analysis revisits data from a 2005 Ohio State University study that showed the stress couples feel during a brief argument could slow their bodies’ ability to heal from wounds by at least a day – a landmark finding at the time showing how psychological stress affects immunity. 

A fresh look at the data shows that when married couples typically communicate with each other in negative ways, both spouses – and women in particular – suffer emotionally and their immune function wanes, in the form of having wounds that take longer to heal. The analysis revealed that the health consequences of negative communication patterns were evident even before the 2005 study began: These couples arrived at the lab with higher blood markers for inflammation. 

The initial trial showed that one stressful argument – in a lab, recorded and analyzed by researchers – could harm immune function. This new study suggests that the more combative arguments in the lab were linked to more negative typical marital communication for these couples – and those daily patterns are a likely culprit behind persistent negative emotions and biological markers that can lead to poorer health outcomes. 

“Marriage is associated with better health, but chronically distressed marriages can worsen health,” said first author Rosie Shrout, who completed this work as a postdoctoral researcher in Ohio State’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR). “It’s important to understand what is going on behind the scenes that contributes to these effects. 

“What we’re seeing is that both chronic daily negativity and acute negativity, and their combination – experiencing both of those – is particularly bad for couples’ emotions, relationships and immune functioning,” said Shrout, now an assistant professor of human development and family science at Purdue University. 

The new study was published recently in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology

The 2005 research was co-led by Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, senior author of the new study and professor emerita of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State, whose decades of discoveries as a leader of the IBMR have shown the many ways in which stressful life events are detrimental to health.

The 2005 work involved 42 married heterosexual couples who had been together for an average of 12 years. Researchers tested the baseline level of a proinflammatory protein in their blood and used a device to raise small blisters on each partner’s forearm – the wounds’ healing progress was monitored as an indicator of how well each participant’s immune system was functioning.

Participants completed questionnaires assessing their typical communication patterns when problems arise – mutual constructive or symmetrical positive communication, or variations of negative communication patterns that involved either mutual avoidance or instances where one partner made demands and the other withdrew from the discussion in response. 

Couples were recorded having discussions in two separate lab visits: The first focused on social support and the second was an attempt to resolve a known source of tension in the marriage, such as finances or in-laws. Researchers coded negative and positive behaviors during these talks.

In follow-ups, couples evaluated the discussions – whether they were satisfied with the conversation, and the degree to which they felt supported and understood by their partner, and in control and working productively while sorting out a problem. Their blister wound healing was assessed daily for eight days and then again on day 12. 

In the new study, statistical modeling of the qualitative and biological data showed that couples’ negative communication patterns – specifically mutual avoidance or demand/withdrawal – had cascading effects on how they felt after the lab conversations, and on their inflammation and immune function measures. 

“If they were more negative typically on a day-to-day basis, and were negative in those specific interactions, they rated the discussion more negatively and less positively, they felt fewer positive emotions, and their wounds healed more slowly,” Shrout said. “That chronic negativity and acute negativity had emotional, relational and immune effects – most notably for women.” 

In contrast, couples who reported more mutual constructive communication patterns rated the lab conversations more favorably.

A few specific findings suggested how insidious the effects of poor communication patterns could be: Wounds healed more slowly in couples who mutually avoided talking about tough topics and also showed fewer positive behaviors during lab discussions. Even when mutual avoiders were more positive while trying to resolve conflict, that positivity didn’t help their wounds heal more quickly. 

Kiecolt-Glaser, who has led a number of marriage and health studies, said it doesn’t take long for married couples to have expectations of what the marriage is like that can override any evidence to the contrary. In a bad marriage, a negative behavior is perceived as reinforcement of this expectation, while in a good marriage, a negative behavior is taken as a sign one’s partner is in distress. 

“This study provides a window into relationships: What couples say about their relationship really did translate not only into how they behaved, but also what they said about the behavior, and their biology,” she said. “They walked into this study situation, and the way they’re responding may in part be because that’s what they’re expecting. They have such well-worn tracks in terms of interactions that it’s hard to derail the train.”

That doesn’t mean all is lost, Shrout noted – couples have lots of options to pursue education or therapy to help them learn better communication skills. 

This work was supported by an Ohio State Presidential Postdoctoral Scholars Fellowship and the National Institutes of Health. 

Additional co-authors include Megan Renna of the University of Southern Mississippi, and Annelise Madison and William Malarkey of Ohio State.

Source: Ohio State University

https://q5i.09c.myftpupload.com/category/lifestyle/

Author


Discover more from Daily News

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Continue Reading
Advertisement Bully Sticks

adult relationships

5 Easy Ways to Say ‘I Love You’

Published

on

(Family Features) If gift-giving isn’t your strong suit, occasions like Valentine’s Day are likely to bring on stress and worry, but procrastinating will only serve to elevate your unease.

Follow these steps to simplify your shopping, and while you may not come to love the task of finding the perfect gift, your loved one will undoubtedly appreciate your effort.

  1. Browse for ideas online. Many retailers offer special promotions and gift idea sections on their websites, so finding inspiration can be as easy as visiting the sites of your loved one’s favorite stores. There are also dozens of articles online to help get the ideas flowing. Searches such as “gifts for horse lovers” or “Valentine’s gifts for a new boyfriend” will reveal a long list of ideas to peruse.
  2. Keep it simple. Although the advertising industry works hard to convince consumers otherwise, Valentine’s Day isn’t really all about the bling. Sure, a pretty bauble is a welcome gift, but there are plenty of ways to show your affection that don’t require spending a month’s salary. A heartfelt card paired with a memento of a meaningful event or place in your relationship sends the same loving sentiment.
  3. Make it a (different) date. For many couples, navigating the demands of work, kids and life make spending time together a luxury. Instead of fighting crowds at busy restaurants on the official date, celebrate your love on a day of your own choosing, when you can relax and enjoy the time together without the pressure to rush through dessert so your table can be flipped for the next waiting couple.
  4. Give blooms a boost. A dozen long-stem red roses is a beautiful gesture, but unless your intended rose receiver is a strictly traditional type, try adding a little spice to your floral arrangement. Go for a bouquet in her favorite color, or have the flowers arranged in a practical vessel she can reuse to remember the occasion, such as a cocktail shaker or a watering can.
  5. Go ahead, gift yourself. It may seem counter-intuitive, but finding a gift you’ll enjoy may inspire an idea for your loved one. The trick is finding something you can share together, whether it’s tickets to a show or his and hers mugs for enjoying your favorite brew. Just be sure the item is something your intended will share your enthusiasm for, or you may as well go buy a blender.

Find more ideas to simplify every occasion at eLivingToday.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images


SOURCE:
eLivingToday.com

Author


Discover more from Daily News

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Continue Reading

adult relationships

7 Valentine’s Day Date Ideas to Break from the Norm

Published

on

(Family Features) If you’re feeling pressure to plan the perfect Valentine’s Day date, it may be time to veer away from tradition. While flowers, chocolates and dinner for two is a classic, thinking outside the box can make for just as romantic of an experience.

Consider these simple date ideas to reduce stress and make your day extra special.

Take a Dance Class
Learning something new together can be a great way to bond with your significant other. Research dance studios in your area and book a lesson for a night out. Many studios offer new or first-time discounts and typically have a variety of lessons available from ballroom to salsa, cha cha and more. If dancing isn’t really your thing, consider another skill-building class you can do together like pottery, cooking or painting, for example.

Recreate Your First Date
Take a trip down memory lane and go back to the beginning of your relationship by recreating your first – or a favorite – date. Whether you went bowling, mini golfing, to dinner and a movie or something else entirely, reliving the past can be a special way to connect and show your partner how much you care.

Plan an Indoor Picnic
If it’s too cold outside for an actual picnic, clear some space in your living room and throw down a blanket. Pack a basket of finger foods like sandwiches, cheese and crackers, fruit, a bottle of wine and dessert for a romantic meal for two in the comfort of home.

Book a Staycation
A getaway doesn’t have to mean going far from home. Become tourists in town by booking a night at a nearby hotel and visiting some local landmarks you’ve been wanting to check out or haven’t experienced in a while. A simple break from routine can make for an enjoyable escape, even if you’re only a few miles from home.

Schedule a Photoshoot
If the last time you had your photo professionally taken was on your wedding day or a family vacation, hire a photographer for a couples photo session, and use it as an opportunity to create fun memories together. Many photographers offer mini sessions, which only take 15-30 minutes, leaving time for a night out afterward. For an inexpensive option, have a friend take a few casual pictures or use a selfie stick to help document your date.

Cook Dinner Together
Restaurants are often booked up on Valentine’s Day, so try something different this year and make a special home-cooked meal together. Whether you make a tried-and-true favorite or whip up something new, like a heart-shaped dish, you’ll bond over the experience while creating a tangible (and hopefully tasty) reward once the oven timer dings. Then dim the lights, play some soft music and light some candles to create a romantic ambience while enjoying dinner together.

Go On a Road Trip
Take a day – or a weekend – and venture to a destination you haven’t been before on a romantic Valentine’s Day getaway. Even if traveling far away isn’t possible right now, exploring a town or two over allows you to check out new restaurants, stores or other attractions and get out of your comfort zones.

Find more ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day at eLivingtoday.com.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash


SOURCE:
eLivingtoday.com

Author


Discover more from Daily News

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Continue Reading

adult relationships

5 Timeless Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Published

on

(Family Features) On a day that signifies the importance of love and companionship, many people find it rewarding to show their loved ones just how much they mean. If you’re in the gift-giving spirit this Valentine’s Day, you may find a bit of inspiration with these ideas.

Just remember, whether you’re celebrating the relationship with your significant other or showing appreciation for a friend, the best gifts come from the heart.

  • Food – If your partner is a foodie, a Valentine’s Day date is an obvious choice. Make a reservation at his or her favorite restaurant or opt for takeout and enjoy quiet time together in the comfort of home. Satisfy that special someone’s sweet tooth with a classic box of chocolates or create a personalized candy basket full of guilty pleasures.
     
  • Jewelry – Whether you’ve been together a year, a decade or more, it’s a perfect opportunity to splurge for a gift he or she will cherish for a lifetime. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, anklets, watches and more all make for perfect gifts that can often be customized with engravings like names or important dates.
     
  • Experiences – Oftentimes, the gift of moments together means more than a trinket. Consider the things you enjoy doing side by side and schedule a day or weekend to do nothing but your favorite activities. Book a tour at a local museum, find tickets to the next big game, sit frontstage for a favorite band or road trip to a nearby attraction for new sights and sounds.
     
  • Subscriptions – Gifts don’t always need to be sentimental. Sometimes, they can be downright practical. Creating an account for a new streaming service or music platform, signing up for monthly food or wine gift boxes and buying ticket packages for a favorite local team are all gifts that keep on giving.
     
  • Handwritten Notes and Flowers – Take time to write what you appreciate most about your special someone – personality traits, favorite memories, thoughtful gestures and why they’re important to you – and pair your note with favorite flowers. Gifts may spark a smile, but sharing a moment of connection offers a reminder of what you’re celebrating in the first place.

Find more Valentine’s Day gift ideas by visiting eLivingtoday.com.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash


SOURCE:
eLivingtoday.com

Author


Discover more from Daily News

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Continue Reading

Trending