Negative personal relationships increase the threat for cardiovascular problems
Could negative personal relationships increase the threat for cardiovascular problems? According to a recent sizable study published in the October 8th issue of the Achieves of Internal Medicine, they can. Roberto De Vogli, Ph.D., M.P.H., and colleagues of the University College London, report that people who experience high levels of conflict in close relationships over lengthy periods of time are 34% more likely to experience a heart attack or angina then those with lower levels of relational conflict.
The study complements previous studies that have found that positive social interactions decrease risks of heart related problems. The study examined responses from 9,011 (2,897 women) respondents who were British civil servants ages 35 to 55 with no history of heart related problems. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study:
So the researchers analyzed a prospective cohort of British civil servants working in London offices ages 35 to 55 from 1985 through 1988 in the Whitehall II study. The analysis included 9,011 respondents (2,897 women) who completed a questionnaire on close personal relationships in phase 1 (1985-1988) or phase 2 (1989-1990) of the study and had no history of coronary events.
Among the 8,499 participants with complete data, 589 experienced an incident fatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal MI, or angina as determined from clinical records over an average follow-up of 12.2 years.
The researchers found a dose-response association after controlling for age, sex, marital status, employment grade, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol level, social support, and source of emotional and practical support. About a third of participants in each tertile were married or co-habiting.
Participants who ranked in the top third of the cohort for a high level of adverse exchanges and conflict in their closest relationship were 1.34 times more likely to experience a coronary event than were those in the lowest tertile (95% confidence interval 1.10 to 1.63).