Strained Family Bonds Can Hurt Your Health
In general, since we are children, we grow conditioned by our environment, but even more so by our ties and family relationships. The family in which one grows can have a greater unfavorable impact on health than the family we choose, according to a new study.
Researchers found that strained family bonds can lead to the development or worsening of chronic diseases such as migraines, heart attacks or stress over a period of 20 years. This is something we must keep in mind, especially if we have small children.
According to an earlier study in which the results established that a romantic relationship was more important for mental and physical health than family ties, contradicting the new results, published this week in the Journal of Family Psychology, which suggests that good family relationships can help improve the overall health of an individual and even extend life expectancy.
“In general, people don’t realize the stress that family relationships can generate, whether intense or not”, said the author of the study Sarah Woods, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Texas in the Family and Community Medicine department.
In turn, Woods added that “it is extremely important to know the quality of a family relationship can condition the health of the members and can become quite negative if it is not taken into account.”
Physical health linked to “emotional climate”
The researchers used data collected from the Midlife Development in the United States survey that had almost 3,000 participants who responded about the quality of their relationships, both romantic and family in order to discover how these types of relationships — good or bad — affect the health of people over time.
Considering the number of responses obtained, the researchers measured health outcomes with the total number of chronic conditions that people reported a year earlier, along with general health ratings from an insufficient to excellent scale.
Clearly, people with tense family bonds tend to develop and worsen chronic health conditions, in addition to other regular illnesses. On the contrary, most affectionate relationships are linked to better health over time.
According to these results, we can say that:
- Bad family relationships, over time, lead to poor health.
- Poor health tends to stress family relationships more.
Woods also added:
- For adults who are already carrying a chronic condition, a negative family emotional climate can be counterproductive and increase the level of their poor health.
- Adults living in a family supportive climate can greatly improve health outcomes.
- Relationships can somehow form the self-care of individuals.
- Diet and exercise are also influenced by the habits of the people around us.
- The sum of the above points can have a significant impact on a person and the development or appearance of certain health conditions later in regular life.
Love life & marriage
According to the study, romantic relationships — good or bad — had no associations with health outcomes.
Many times, it is presumed that marriage is the most predominant relationship in the life of an adult, therefore, the most strongly associated with health conditions, but there is not enough scientific evidence to support it.
In a previous study, it was deduced that unhappy marriages tend to report impaired health and die more prematurely than people who have a better life as a couple.
Currently, more studies and research are being carried out on the different types of relationships, whether between friends, husbands, parents with children, etc., and how different dynamics affect the body.
Many average adults think or bet on individual or group therapies, but do not realize the important value of family therapy.
Emotional intensity is also linked to how deep relationships are conducted. Even animals, like dogs and cats have these feelings and even horses will not succeed in the races’ betting odds if they are emotionally unstable.
In most cases, we are the reflection of our family. Whether sharing good times with our children or parents, going for a walk, educating our kids in the best possible way and accompanying those around us in the process, can shape both our character and our health.
The study also suggests that older people who were not married, family relationships may reach a critical point because the social network or environment may be smaller.
It is extremely important to invest energy in strengthening family ties. Not only can they improve emotional health but keep you healthier and live longer and better.