Despite all of the jokes told for years by comedians about the flaws of marriage - a new preliminary study suggests that a happy marriage is good for your blood pressure.
But the study also points out, a marriage under stress one can be even worse for your health than being single.
That second finding is a surprise since previous studies have shown that married people tend to be healthier than singles, said researcher Julianne Holt-Lunstad.
Further study would be necessary to sort out what the results mean for long-term health, said Holt-Lunstad, an assistant psychology professor at Brigham Young University. Her study was reported online Thursday by the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
Two-hundred-and-four married people and 99 single adults were involved in the study. Most were white and it's not clear whether the same results would apply to other ethnic groups, Holt-Lunstad said.
Lowered Blood Pressure
Each study participant wore a meter that monitored their blood pressure at different times during one day. Married couples also answered questions about their marriage.
Research from the study shows that the more marital satisfaction and adjustment the spouses reported, the lower their average blood pressure was over a 24-hour period.
However, spouses who scored low in marital satisfaction had higher average blood pressure than the single people did. During the daytime, their average was about five points higher, entering a range that's considered a warning sign..
"I think this is worth some attention," said Karen Matthews, a professor of psychiatry, psychology and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh. She studies heart disease and high blood pressure but didn't participate in the new work.
Few studies of the risk for high blood pressure have looked at marital quality rather than just marital status, she said.
It makes sense that marital quality is more important than just being married when it comes to affecting blood pressure, said Dr. Brian Baker, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
Source: The Associated Press