Unhappy Marriages May Lower the Risk of Diabetes

Study finds link between marital bliss and greater risk of diabetes development.

The assumption that an unhappy marriage is detrimental to a person’s health was challenged by findings from a national study, revealing that it may slow the development of diabetes and promote a successful treatment in men.

The study, conducted by Michigan State University, used data from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project and analyzed the survey results of 1228 married respondents over 5 years. Participants were between 57 and 85-years-old, of whom 389 individuals had diabetes by the end of the study.

The results of the study showed that an increase in negative marital quality lowered the risk of developing diabetes in men, and increased the chances of managing the disease. Since diabetes requires frequent monitoring, prodding from wives may boost men’s health, but also result in increased martial strain over time, according to the study.

Women in happy marriages were found to have a lower risk of being diabetic 5 years later. Women may be more sensitive to the quality of the relationship than men and it could be more likely that they receive a health boost from a good marriage, the researchers wrote.

“The study challenges the traditional assumption that negative marital quality is always detrimental to health,” said lead study investigator Hui Liu. “It also encourages family scholars to distinguish different sources and types of marital quality. Sometimes, nagging is caring.”

The promotion of marriage equality also has the potential to provide health benefits individuals with diabetes.

“Since diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in the United States, implementation of public policies and programs designed to promote marital quality should also reduce the risk of diabetes and promote health and longevity, especially for women at older ages,” the study authors wrote.