Ambivalent hearts may be at higher risk for heart disease, according to a new study of married couples with mixed feelings for one another.
“The most intriguing finding was that within a couple, only if both of them felt ambivalent towards their partner did you see this elevated (heart disease) risk,” said Bert Uchino, a psychologist at the University of Utah and lead author of the study.
The health of both spouses “is interdependent – it isn’t what one says or does; it’s what both do within the relationship that matters” when it comes to heart health, Uchino told Reuters Health.
Past research has looked at the health effects of either positive or negative feelings within couples, Uchino and his colleagues write in the journal Psychological Science, but the reality of most relationships is more often mixed.
To see what effect those feelings might have on the heart itself over time, the scientists recruited 136 long-married couples. Their average age was 63 and average marriage length was 36 years.
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