Hostile Fights With Your Partner Could Make You Sick, Says New Survey

A new study says that fighting with our partners can cause repercussions to our health.

The study was conducted by Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center and led by Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, the director of the center’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. Helping her was Michael Bailey, who works for the institute and The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Together, the two had the study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, according to Eureka Alert.

The study was conducted on 42 married couples, whether there were any same-sex couples included in that group was not detailed so we're guessing not.

Each couple was asked to privately discuss and hopefully resolve a conflict while being recorded for 20-minutes. These conflicts touched on topics such as money, in-laws, and more.

After each discussion, the couple’s video was watched to categorize their verbal and non-verbal behavior. Plus, the researchers tested the blood levels of participants before and after the fight.

The results showed that partners who were more hostile in behavior also had higher levels of a biomarker caused by leaky gut. This condition weakens the intestines and allows bacteria to enter the blood stream.

“Men and women who demonstrated more hostile behaviors during the observed discussions had higher levels of one biomarker for leaky gut — LPS-binding protein — than their mellower peers. Evidence of leaky gut was even greater in study participants who had particularly hostile interactions with their spouse and a history of depression or another mood disorder,” explains Eureka Alert.

“Marital stress is a particularly potent stress, because your partner is typically your primary support and in a troubled marriage your partner becomes your major source of stress,” Kiecolt-Glaser wrote.

It seems that more intense and hostile fighting between couples can cause wound healing to slow down and increase the risk of inflammation-related disease such as depression, heart disease, and diabetes.

While researchers are still investigating this link, they also gave tips on how to live healthier lives. They suggested healthier eating, probiotics, and calmer conversations with your partner.

h/t: Eureka Alert