Happy Marriage Strengthens a Woman's Heart

Good union reduces heart disease risk factors, study finds

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MONDAY, Sept. 15, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A happy marriage can be a healthy blessing for women.

A 13-year American study of middle-aged women found that those in good marriages were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease risk factors than unmarried women or those in unsatisfying marriages.

The findings by researchers from San Diego State University and the University of Pittsburgh appear in the September issue of Health Psychology.

The study included 493 women (aged 42 to 50) who rated the quality of their marriages as high, moderate or low, and women who were single, divorced or widowed.

Their cardiovascular risk factors were measured during an average of more than five visits to the researchers over 13 years. Each visit included measurements of cholesterol and glucose levels, blood pressure and body size.

The women were also assessed for health behaviors such as smoking, exercise and diet and for psychological characteristics such as anger, stress, anxiety and depression.

Women who reported high levels of marriage satisfaction scored higher on the health measurements than single women or those who reported low or moderate levels of marriage satisfaction.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about heart disease and women.

SOURCE: American Psychological Association, news release, Sept. 14, 2003

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