Skip to content

Health & Sex

Relationship Worries Can Make You Sick

Font Size
A
A
A

continued...

The study found a link or association between relationship anxiety and the body's stress and immune response, but cannot prove cause and effect.

While the study did not track whether the highly anxious partners got sick more often, the link is reasonable, Jaremka said, based on other research about the ill effects of chronically high stress hormone levels.

"A lot of the negative consequences of high cortisol are beyond the common flu," she said. Rather, she added, high level have been linked to heart problems, sleep problems, depression and other conditions.

Another expert who also studies attachment styles said the link between attachment anxiety and stress is not new, but the link to immune system function is newer. And it is "not that surprising," said Jeni Burnette, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Richmond, in Virginia.

Until more research is in, Jaremka suggests people who are highly anxious in relationships work on reducing their stress. Reduce stress by yoga or other exercise or meditation, she suggested. That would lower cortisol, presumably, and help their health.

Burnette suggested that highly anxious partners might also try to be more forgiving, and not keep replaying negative events such as arguments. "Some of our work suggests that anxiously attached individuals are less forgiving and tend to respond with more rumination," she said.

The study was supported by an American Cancer Society grant, a Comprehensive Cancer Center at Ohio State fellowship and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

More information

To learn more about improving a relationship, visit the American Psychological Association.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

couple not communicating
How to tell when you're in one.
couple face to face
Get your love life back on track.
 
couple having an argument
Turn spats into solutions
couple in argument
When to call it quits.
 
Life Cycle of a Penis
Article
HIV Myth Facts
Slideshow
 
How Healthy is Your Sex Life
Quiz
Couple in bed
Video
 
6 Tips For Teens
Article
Close-up of young man
Article
 
screening tests for men
Slideshow
HPV Vaccine Future
Article