Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spouse's Personality May Be Hazardous To Your Health

Date:
January 17, 2007
Source:
Washington State University
Summary:
To the long list of things to consider when choosing a mate, there is now evidence suggesting that your spouse's personality can have a major influence on your own ability to recover from - and perhaps even survive - a major challenge to your health.

To the long list of things to consider when choosing a mate, there is now evidence suggesting that your spouse's personality can have a major influence on your own ability to recover from - and perhaps even survive - a major challenge to your health.

Related Articles


It is a finding drawn from a study by a team of researchers including John M. Ruiz, an assistant professor of psychology at Washington State University, as well as Karen A. Matthews and Richard Schulz, at the University of Pittsburgh, and Michael F. Scheier with Carnegie Mellon University.

The study involved 111 coronary artery bypass patients and their spouses. The researchers assessed aspects of personality, symptoms of depression, and the marital satisfaction of each patient and his spouse prior to, and 18 months following, surgery.

The main finding was that within couples, the personality of one person predicted the depression level of their partner 18 months later. The results were published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

"We've known for some time that a patient's personality and mood before surgery influence their own mental and physical recovery following surgery," Ruiz said. "We also know that a partner's personality and mood can affect us in the short term. What this work shows is that a partner's personality traits are also important determinants of our own long-term emotional and physical recovery from a major health challenge."

The research demonstrated that a patient married to a generally neurotic and anxious spouse was more likely to report symptoms of depression 18 months after surgery.

"In other words, the spouse's personality - quite independent of the patient's own personality - exhibited a major influence on how well the patient was feeling and progressing towards recovery," he said.

Depression is an important consideration in the treatment of cardiac patients as it is increasingly recognized as a significant risk factor in heart attacks and death.

"Our study suggests that there's a distinct possibility that the spouse's personality can increase depression which may then lead to these negative physical outcomes. It's an issue we will be looking at as we continue to follow these patients and as part of new studies here at WSU."

The study also focused on how the spouses of patients coped over the course of the study.

"Spouses are often times a major source of daily care and take on many of the roles that the couple may have previously shared," Ruiz said. "We found that the same effects seen for patients also applied to spouses. Those spouses who cared for a person who was generally neurotic and anxious were more likely to report symptoms of depression as well as high levels of caregiving burden and strain a year and a half later."

"We don't really understand what it is that a spouse with these negative personality traits is doing to cause this depression in their partner," he said. "Are they creating more stress, being less helpful, or burdening a person who is already having a difficult time with their own needs? It's a question that needs more study."

Ruiz notes that not all of the findings were negative. Optimism in one spouse appeared to have beneficial effects for the partner.

"Spouses caring for an optimistic, as opposed to a pessimistic, patient reported fewer depressive symptoms and significantly less burden and strain over time."

But Ruiz points out that we are hardly helpless when it comes to our spouse's personality and how it affects us. He said there is a "silver lining" in the findings, which suggests that a person's degree of satisfaction with their marriage is a key influence.

"Being married to a neurotic, anxious person was only harmful for those who were unhappy in their marriage," Ruiz said. "For those happy in their marriage, spouse neuroticism appeared to have little influence. Hence, the findings highlight the importance of personality in marriage and health, but also support the notion that 'love conquers all."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington State University. "Spouse's Personality May Be Hazardous To Your Health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070116211634.htm>.
Washington State University. (2007, January 17). Spouse's Personality May Be Hazardous To Your Health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070116211634.htm
Washington State University. "Spouse's Personality May Be Hazardous To Your Health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070116211634.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins