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Stressful relationships linked to men's earlier death.



Stressful relationships linked to men's earlier death.
Date: 2014-06-16
Author: - Editor
Access: Public


Worrying and frequent arguing with partners, relatives, friends and neighbours, may contribute to premature death in middle-aged men, according to recent findings published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 

The Danish study, which sampled nearly 10,000 men and women, showed that men who experienced frequent stressful social situations such as worries and demands from their spouses and children had a 50-100% increased mortality risk.1

In Australia, men live to an average of 79 years, compared to women who can expect to live 84 years.2 

“Conflicts, especially, were associated with higher mortality risk regardless of whom was the source of the conflict,” the authors write. “Worries and demands were only associated with mortality risk if they were related to partner or children.”

The unemployed seemed to be the most vulnerable, said lead study author Rikke Lund, a public health researcher at the University of Copenhagen.

The study looked at data from a long-term study in Denmark, which included 9,870 adults in their 30s, 40s and 50s when the study began and tracked their health from 2000 to the end of 2011.

Stressful social relations were measured by comparing answers to questions about who - including partners, children, relatives, friends and neighbours - caused worry and conflicts in the participants’ lives.

The authors also looked at answers to questions about emotional support and symptoms of depression.

Approximately one in every 10 participants said that their partner or children were always or often a source of demands and worries. About 6% said they always or often experienced conflicts with other members of their families and two percent reported always or often having conflicts with friends.

The study also found that 6% of participants had frequent arguments with their partner or children, 2% with other relatives and one percent with friends or neighbours.

This startling new evidence that even the smallest day-to-day worries and demands from family and friends, if frequent enough, can shorten life, warrants serious consideration as to what can assist men who find themselves in this situation. 

Men’s health: the facts2

  • Compared to women, men visit the doctor less frequently, have shorter visits, and only attend when their illness is in its later stages.
  • Men are more likely than are women to work full-time. Office hours for most medical clinics coincide with typical work hours, so men in full-time employment find it difficult to make an appointment. (Of course, this is also true for women who work full-time.)
  • Men are traditionally encouraged to do the high-risk jobs that are stressful, dangerous and deadly such as mining, logging and construction.
  • Men are encouraged by our culture to be tough and independent. Some men could believe that visiting doctors or complaining of feeling ill are threats to their masculinity.

International Men’s Health Week takes place from 9-15 June! Find out how you can support the health of men in your life by visiting www.menshealthweek.org.au 

Speak to your healthcare practitioner for more information about looking after your health with an individualised treatment regimen that includes a combination of a balanced diet, high-quality supplementation and exercise. To find a healthcare practitioner in your local area, use our Find A Practitioner service.

References:

  1. Lund R, Christensen U, Nilsson CJ, et al. Stressful social relations and mortality: a prospective cohort study. J Epidemiol Community Health 2014;doi:10.1136/jech-2013-203675 
  2. State Government of Victoria. Better health channel: men’s health. Viewed 27/5/2014. http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Men%27s_health

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