Michigan: Couples who row over their differences are more likely to live longer than those who bottle up stress.
This is the conclusion of reserach at the University of Michigan School of Public Health where scientists studied 192 couples over 17 years, placing them into four categories.
The first consisted of couples where both partners communicated their anger and the second of couples where the husband showed anger while the wife suppressed it.
The third comprised couples where only the wife showed anger; and the fourth relationships where both parties suppressed it. The researchers found that death during the period of the study was twice as likely in the final group than in all other types.
The trend was evident even when other factors such as age, smoking, weight, blood pressure, bronchial problems and cardiovascular risk were taken into account.
Longevity experts have long said that stress is one of the biggest killers and leads to inflammation and diseases of ageing such as heart disease.
Within the 26 couples where both suppressed their anger, there were 13 deaths.
However, in the remaining three groups, 166 couples in total, there were only 41 deaths combined, half the rate.
Ernest Harburg, professor emeritus at the University said: ‘When couples get together, one of their main jobs is reconciliation about conflict.
Professor Harburg stressed that the preliminary figures are small, and that researchers are now collecting follow-up data spread over 30 years.