A 13-year study of middle-aged women measured risk factors for cardiovascular disease in 493 women age 42 to 50. The researchers periodically tested blood, measured weight and height, and tracked health behaviors such as smoking and exercise. They also examined psychological health, including depression, anxiety and stress. Married or cohabitating participants completed a marital quality questionnaire that assessed satisfaction with amount of time spent together, communication, sexual activity, agreement on financial matters, and similarity of interests, lifestyle, and temperament. Findings indicate women in very satisfying marriages, when compared with the unattached or unsatisfied, had lower levels of cardiovascular risk factors by both biological and psychological measures. They even showed health advantages in comparison to those in moderately satisfying marriages, though to a lesser degree.
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Good Marriage, Good Heart: How Long-term Relationships Can Protect Your Heart.