Divorce is no longer the only concern associated with irreconcilable differences.
Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health compared more than 1,500 adults in recovery one year after a heart attack, who were asked to self-report on their marital stress.
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The effects of marital strife were more apparent in women, 40% of whom reported feeling severely stressed over it, compared to 30% of men.
Participants who reported severe marital stress were 50% more likely to be readmitted to the hospital for any cause. More specifically, those who reported severe marital stress were also 67% more likely to report chest pains than those who did not.
In another aspect of the assessment, those who reported severe stress scored 1.6 points lower in physical health and 2.6 points lower in mental health, on average, on a 12-point scale. And cardiac patients with the most stress were at an 8-point detriment in terms of overall quality of life.
The preliminary findings will be shared in a live presentation during the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2022, held in-person in Chicago and virtually from Nov. 5 to Nov. 7.
“Health care professionals need to be aware of personal factors that may contribute to cardiac recovery and focus on guiding patients to resources that help manage and reduce their stress levels,” said the study’s lead author, Cenjing Zhu, in a statement.
“Our findings support that stress experienced in one’s everyday life, such as marital stress, may impact young adults’ recovery after a heart attack,” Zhu continued. “However, additional stressors beyond marital stress, such as financial strain or work stress, may also play a role in young adults’ recovery, and the interaction between these factors requires further research.”
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease, including heart attacks, remains the leading cause of death in the United States, with an estimated 605,000 new heart attacks and 200,000 recurrent attacks being reported nationally each year.