A study has shown that middle-aged and older men are more likely to have higher blood pressure when their wives are feeling more stressed out.
The study, which evaluated over 1,000 couples in the USA, looked at how stress can affect the members of a couple over the course of four years.
While it may not be surprising to some that stress and low relationship satisfaction can be linked to high blood pressure, the results shed new light on how one partner’s stress levels can affect the other.
Husbands who had reported some level of unhappiness with their relationships were more likely to have higher blood pressure when their wives were also feeling stressed.
When both partners had negative feelings about the relationship, they were both more likely to have higher blood pressure. When only one partner was unhappy, no link was found with higher blood pressure, suggesting a link between physical wellbeing and a partner’s stress levels.
As well as the links between relationship satisfaction, stress, and physiological health , many older husbands may be dependent on their wives for caregiving, managing the household and preparing meals. These traditional gender roles may also be connected to the link between women’s stress and their partners’ physical health.