Life is short and it is even shorter if you‘re alone. It is not just some tacky popular wisdom – it is scientific reality. Numerous researches have proven that healthy relationships help people remain healthier for longer. Now a team of scientists, led by the University of Edinburgh, found that having an attentive, caring partner helps you live longer and healthier life.
Paying attention to one another is obviously important. In fact, it is one of the most important factors in a good relationship. It does take some effort, but the return is definitely worth it. Scientists invited 1,200 married or people with life partners, aged 25 to 74, to answer some questions. These people were assessed over a 20-year period starting between 1995 and 1996, so you cannot complain about this study not assessing the matter over a significant period of time. Participants had to rate how much their partner understood, cared about and appreciated them – they had to answer these questions every 10 years. At the same time heir self-reported stress levels were measured.
Scientists found that believing your partner cares is good for health. In short, an attentive partner can significantly improve his loved one’s long-term health and even life expectancy. And these effects are very significant. Those who reported a significant drop in their partner’s responsiveness during the first decade of the study, were 42 % more likely to be dead by the end of 20 year period. Sounds harsh? Well, that’s the reality. Furthermore, those who had caring and attentive partners were much happier and healthier, which suggests there is a correlation between health and emotional response to the relationship.
Researchers hypothesize that early death of some of the participants could be explained through an everyday stress. Scientists have known for a long time that stress has a significant effect on the life expectancy. People who don’t have caring and attentive partners suffer from more uncontrollable stress, which is extremely damaging. Dr Sarah Stanton, one of the authors of the study, said: “These findings are among the first to investigate how long-term changes are an important marker of relationship quality and can predict mortality risk. The results suggest that if people have someone they can turn to – and whom they think supports them – then it can help them deal with the stresses of everyday living.”
So what should be your takeaway from this study? Well, you should care for your partner. Make sure you give your best regardless of how long you’re together. Also, find a caring partner yourself.
Source: University of Edinburgh