Monday, March 20, 2017

The science confirms it: Better alone than in bad company

couple and sexuality

Interpersonal relationships are an immense source of joy, but sometimes cause also great disappointment. Therefore, even though numerous studies have shown that counting with a solid social support network is important for recuperating from diseases and control problems such as depression, it isn’t less true that in some cases is valid the old saying: "better alone than in bad company."

A toxic relationship can affect your health

Psychologists of New York State University have realized it noting that a relationship that makes us unhappy can have a very negative impact on our health, both physical and psychological. In fact, the quality of a relationship can affect us much more than we think.

In the study, these psychologists analyzed the relationships of 200 young couples, engaged and married, in order to determine how these influenced the health of the subjects.

In this way they discovered that about one third of the young people had experienced significant changes in their relationships during this period of time, as well as in their health status. When in the relationship were predominant love, affection, support, compromise and understanding, the health of both members of the relationship improved.

However, when the relationship was characterized by hostility and criticism, people felt unhappy and frustrated. If these relationships were maintained over time the health of the subjects began to suffer, appeared symptoms of depression, problems with alcohol and other physical ailments. It was also seen that the more quickly those persons left behind these bad relationships, the better they recovered, indicating that more the bad relationship lasts and more difficult it will be to recover, both emotionally and physically.

Hostility and lack of support, psychological feelings that have physical consequences

A bad relationship can cause us to fall into a state of stress where disappointment is mixed with pessimism and anger. Of course, remaining in this state for a long period of time will cause changes at the physiological level that affect our health.

In this regard, a number of studies carried out by specialists at Ohio State University are especially revealing, because they show with no doubt the enormous impact that a relationship can have on our health.

These researchers studied 76 women, half of who married and the other half divorced or in the process of separating. After analyzing their blood they found that those who maintained a complicated relationship or remained emotionally tied to a difficult one, showed a weaker immune system response.

They later involved in the study 42 couples in order to investigate what happens in the body during a couple's argument. One day, the couple had to talk for half an hour about a subject in which both agreed, on the following day had to face a problem on what they did not agree and that created tension.

While they were talking, the researchers caused them small burns on their arms to analyze the effect of the support or the misunderstanding in the healing process. So they found that when couples argued, the wounds needed an extra day to heal. And in couples who showed the greatest hostility, the wounds took two days to heal.

These data suggest that the stress we experience in a relationship triggers changes in our body that, in the long term, can have negative effects on our health. Therefore, if you are "trapped" in a toxic relationship, which generates you more dissatisfaction that happiness, you should stop for a moment to rethink your situation, reflect and find the best solution for both.

Barr, A. B. et. Al. (2016) Romantic relationship transitions and changes in health among rural, White young adults. J Fam Psychol; 30(7): 832-842.
Kielcot-Glaser, J. K. et. Al. (2005) Hostile marital interactions, proinflammatory cytokine production, and wound healing. Arch Gen Psychiatry; 62(12): 1377-1384.


Keep feeding your neurons

The science confirms it: Better alone than in bad company

Jennifer Delgado Suárez

Psicologist by profession and passion, dedicated to string words together. Discover my Books


Psychology as you never heard about...

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