Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Afraid of a broken heart? Feeling insecure in relationships may predispose people to later cardiovascular problems, says research

Date:
July 21, 2010
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
People who feel insecure about their attachments to others might be at higher risk for cardiovascular problems than those who feel secure in their relationships, according to a new study.

People who feel insecure about their attachments to others might be at higher risk for cardiovascular problems than those who feel secure in their relationships, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.

"This is the first study to examine adult attachment and a range of specific health conditions," said lead author Lachlan A. McWilliams, PhD, of Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. He and a colleague examined data on 5,645 adults age 18 to 60 from the National Cormorbidity Survey Replication and found that people who felt insecure in relationships or avoided getting close to others might be at a higher risk of developing several chronic diseases.

Ratings of attachment insecurity were positively associated with a wide range of health problems, they found. "Much of the health research regarding attachment has focused on pain conditions, so we were initially surprised that some of our strongest findings involved conditions related to the cardiovascular system," said McWilliams.

Participants rated themselves on three attachment styles -- secure, avoidant, and anxious. Secure attachment refers to feeling able to get close to others and being willing to have others depend on you. Avoidant attachment refers to difficulty getting close to others and trusting others. Anxious attachment refers to the tendency to worry about rejection, feel needy and find others are reluctant to get close to you.

The participants answered a questionnaire about their histories of arthritis, chronic back or neck problems, frequent or severe headaches, other forms of chronic pain, seasonal allergies, stroke and heart attack. They also disclosed whether a doctor had told them they had heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, chronic lung disease, diabetes or high blood sugar, ulcers, epilepsy, seizures or cancer. They were also questioned regarding their history of psychological disorders.

After adjusting for demographic variables that could account for the health conditions, the authors found that avoidant attachment was positively associated with conditions defined primarily by pain (e.g., frequent or severe headaches). Anxious attachment was positively associated with a wider range of health conditions, including some defined primarily by pain and several involving the cardiovascular system (e.g., stroke, heart attack or high blood pressure).

The authors also adjusted for lifetime histories of common psychological disorders and found that people with anxious attachments were at a higher risk of chronic pain, stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure and ulcers.

"These findings suggest that insecure attachment may be a risk factor for a wide range of health problems, particularly cardiovascular diseases. Longitudinal research on this topic is needed to determine whether insecure attachment predicts the development of cardiovascular disease and the occurrence of cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks,"said McWilliams. "The findings also raise the possibility that interventions aimed at improving attachment security could also have positive health outcomes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lachlan A. McWilliams and S. Jeffrey Bailey. Associations Between Adult Attachment Ratings and Health Conditions: Evidence From the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Health Psychology, Vol. 29, No. 4 DOI: 10.1037/a0020061

Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "Afraid of a broken heart? Feeling insecure in relationships may predispose people to later cardiovascular problems, says research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100720123641.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2010, July 21). Afraid of a broken heart? Feeling insecure in relationships may predispose people to later cardiovascular problems, says research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100720123641.htm
American Psychological Association. "Afraid of a broken heart? Feeling insecure in relationships may predispose people to later cardiovascular problems, says research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100720123641.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. 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:
from the past week

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