Marital Harmony Can Keep BP Low, Despite Job Stress

However, job stress and an unhappy relationship raise blood pressure

MONDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Men and women with hypertension have a better chance of keeping their blood pressure under control if they have a happy marriage, even in the face of job stress, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's annual high blood pressure research meeting in Washington, D.C.

Sheldon Tobe, M.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues collected data on 216 hypertensive and normotensive men and women who were not taking medication. The subjects were employed and living with a significant other. During the one-year course of the study, the researchers measured ambulatory blood pressure. In addition, job satisfaction and marital cohesion were measured by the Job Content Questionnaire and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale.

After a year, regression analysis showed that job satisfaction, marital cohesion and being on antihypertensives were associated with lowered blood pressure. In addition, marital cohesion was related to a drop in blood pressure among those with job stress, the researchers report.

Job stress and low marital cohesion was related to an increase in blood pressure of 2.8 mmHg over one year. However, high marital cohesion was related to a decrease in blood pressure of 2.5 mmHg, Tobe's team found.

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