Want a less stressful life? More reasons to tie the knot
Contrary to what couples joke about, a recent study suggests that married people face less psychological stress than the unmarried. According to the research, married individuals had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those not married or previously married. Prolonged stress is associated with increased levels of cortisol which can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate inflammation, which promotes development and progression of many diseases.
“It is exciting to discover a physiological pathway that may explain how relationships influence health and disease,” said one of the researchers Brian Chin from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US.
Researchers collected saliva samples from 572 healthy adults aged 21 to 55. Multiple samples were taken during each 24-hour period and tested for cortisol. Results showed that the married participants had lower cortisol levels. The researchers also compared each person’s daily cortisol rhythm — typically, cortisol levels peak when a person wakes up and decline during the day. Those who were married showed a faster decline, a pattern that’s been associated with less heart disease, and longer survival among cancer patients.
“This proves our intimate social relationships can get under the skin to influence our health,” said co-author Sheldon Cohen, professor at the University.
Married individuals tend to have lower levels of stress hormone