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Bad Marriages Take Health Toll on Women

Study Shows Marital Discord Hurts Women's Physical Health More Than Men's

Are Bad Marriages More Stressful for Women?

Henry says the gender difference they found is important because heart disease is the biggest killer of women, as well as men, and "we are still learning a lot about how relationship factors and emotional distress are related to heart disease."

Smith, who is heading a larger University of Utah study on the role of marriage quality in heart disease, says it's too soon to conclude that stress may make women more vulnerable to physical problems than men, but that's what this latest research suggests.

However, he adds, "it's a little premature to say they would lower their risk of heart disease if they improved the tone and quality of their marriages, or dumped their husbands."

Other studies, he says, are trying to determine whether improving marriage might boost the health of marital partners.

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