How having a miserable husband (or wife) is bad for your health
Study shown having a happy spouse increases chances of good health
Dr Chopik, of Michigan State Uni, tracked the health of 2,000 couples
Someone who is upbeat is also more likely to eat regularly and sleep well
A miserable wife or gloomy husband won’t just get you down – they could also make you ill.
A study has shown that having a happy spouse increases a person’s own chances of good health.
On the flip side, a glum partner could make you unwell.
A miserable wife or gloomy husband won’t just get you down – they could also make you ill (File photo)
Researcher Bill Chopik said: ‘Even if you’re the happiest person, your health can be dragged down by an unhappy spouse.’
Dr Chopik, of Michigan State University, tracked the health and happiness of almost 2,000 couples for six years.
The men and women, who were aged 50-plus, were asked how satisfied they were with their lives, as well as whether they suffered from diabetes or any other chronic diseases, how easy they found washing, dressing and other day to day tasks and how much they exercised.
Analysis showed that a partner’s happiness affected their other half’s health.
So, if a husband or wife was a cheerful sort, their spouse tended to be in better health – even if they were not particularly happy themselves.
Similarly, having a miserable spouse seemed to harm a partner’s health.
Dr Chopik said: ‘Participants with happy partners were significantly more likely to report better health, experience less physical impairment and exercise more frequently than participants with unhappy partners, even when accounting for the impact of their own happiness and other life circumstances.
‘None of these effects diminished over time suggesting that having a happy partner could afford surprisingly long-lasting effects on a person’s own health.’
Various studies have shown that happiness boosts a person’s own health but this research, published in the journal Health Psychology, takes the idea a step further by showing that one person’s happiness has a knock-on effect on another’ s health.
A study has shown that having a happy spouse increases a person’s own chances of good health (File photo)
Possible reasons for the finding include a happy spouse being more attentive of their other half. They may also have the energy needed to motivate unhappy spouses to take better care of themselves.
Someone who is upbeat is also more likely to eat regularly and sleep well – healthy behaviours that could rub off on their husband or wife.
In contrast, a miserable atmosphere at home may up the odds of someone drinking or smoking, even if they are relatively happy themselves.
Dr Chopik said: ‘For better and for worse, daily life inevitably involves the presence of other people and happiness simply cannot exist in a vacuum.
‘Testing an older adult population affords insights for better understanding health trajectories in later years of life, when the average person’s health is particularly at risk.
‘Identifying novel factors that may enhance health at these stages is particularly valuable.
‘The presence of one person’s sickness may be subtly indicated by the absent smile of another.’