[Mise à jour du 10/08/21]
Whether you’ve been in a relationship for a week or married for years, whether your partner is the same sex as you or the opposite sex, spending time with the person who shares your life influences your health. A healthy relationship is not only a source of happiness, but can improve the functioning of the body over the long term. On the other hand, an unhealthy bond or a lack of social connections increases the risks of depression, cognitive decline and premature death. Here are some good or bad effects that scientists have observed in couples.
Abusive messages from a partner increase the likelihood of suffering from mental illness
Violence, abuse and bullying are widely recognized as contributing factors the onset of mental disorders. Researchers from King’s College of London were keen to address an aspect rarely examined when this situation occurs within a couple: the impact of malicious, threatening messages sent by a partner on his / her spouse (e). The study, published in the journal “Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience” revealed that people who received threatening or obscene messages of their current or former partner in the past year were more likely to have common mental health problems and thoughts of suicide.
The document reveals that 2/5 of the people who had received abusive messages in the past year had received them monthly or more. To come to this conclusion, the researchers drew on data from 6,857 people in a psychiatric health cohort, interviewed on a range of topics, including exposure to threatening messages, as well as previous experiences. abuse, both in childhood and adulthood. “While exposure to the physical and psychological violence is a well-documented aspect of abusive relationships, the effects of threatening or obscene messages are not. “, Explain the researchers.
Threatening messages usually occur in the context of physical violence
In this study these types of messages are defined as unwanted texts, emails, letters or cards repeatedly sent by a former current partner for the purpose of cause fear or distress. The results found that 1 in 15 people (6.6%) had received two or more threatening messages from a current or former partner, but that women were twice as likely as men to be in this situation (8 , 7% against at 4.4%). Thus, even if all categories of people can be concerned, those most exposed to these messages were women aged 16 to 24, single or divorced, unemployed and from low-income households.
Recipients of threatening messages were also much more likely to have experienced other types of violence in the past. They were, for example, three times more likely to have suffered a form of mistreatment during childhood (emotional, sexual and / or physical), and two-thirds of women and half of men who have received obscene messages have experienced physical violence between partners in adulthood, compared to 14.6% of women and 8.2% of the men who had not received it. The study also shows that rates of mental disorders were twice as high among those who received these messages (39.2%) compared to those who did not (15.2%).
Another aspect to take into account when providing psychological support
These people were also more likely to have higher rates of non-suicidal self-harm. and thoughts of suicide. “Receiving threatening messages is rarely isolated from other forms of abuse, but the effects are clear. We can see that people who receive these messages are more likely to” experience anxiety and depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. », Explains Prof. Louise Howard, who conducted the study. Finally, the scientific team found that even without taking into account previous experiences of abuse, the reception of threatening messages remains a major factor contributing to the occurrence of diseases. like depression.
The researchers say the new data “underscores the importance for healthcare professionals of incorporating explicit questions about threatening messages from current or former partners into security assessments to ensure that any threat, bullying or harassment not be put aside. ” The latter thus invite those who work with people who have escaped domestic violence to inquire about the continuous contacts of the partners. “This should include questions about the messages, as well as on other forms of abuse potentially technology-related which may become increasingly common. », They conclude.
Positive effect: relieve pain
Researchers have long known that people tend to subconsciously synchronize their steps when walking together, or assume the same positions during a conversation. This “behavioral mimicry” or “mirror effect” is more than present in the couple. In a study of heterosexual couples, when the woman was in a state of distress, physical contact with her partner helped synchronize heart rate and breathing, thereby reducing pain.
Positive effect: coaching
Do you want to adopt a balanced lifestyle? You will be more successful if your partner embarks on this challenge with you. Stop smoking, lose weight, play sports, eat healthy, cut down on alcohol… all of these habits will be easier to overcome if you tackle them together.
Positive effect: better health
Long-term relationships are good for both physical and psychological health, and these benefits increase over time. On average, recalls the site Medical News Today, married couples live longer, women enjoy better mental health and men enjoy better physical health than single people.
Negative effect: weight gain
Wanting to diet together might seem like a good idea at first, but research has shown that when a partner is more successful because they are able to eat healthier and get back in shape faster, the other is at risk of losing confidence. in him and less well control his food intake. Among other things, marriage has been associated with weight gain in both partners.
Negative effect: health problems
Although the figures indicate that couples enjoy better mental and physical health than singles, the opposite effect has been observed in some cases. For example, a Canadian study suggests that when a person has type 2 diabetes, their partner is more likely to develop the same disease. Because, even if they have no biological link, they share the same environment, the same lifestyle and therefore the same risks. On the other hand, one partner may unintentionally make the other’s insomnia worse. Research has also shown an increased rate of inflammation in the body in tired couples who argue. And people married to a partner with depression are more likely to have it too.