Regular rows can double a person’s risk of dying when they are middle-aged, researchers have claimed. Men and those who are unemployed are most at risk of the fatal consequences of frequent arguments, the authors said.
The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, examined almost 10,000 men and women aged 36 to 52 from Denmark about their social relationships.
They were quizzed about who – be it friends, family, partners or neighbours – made excess demands, prompted worries or were a source of conflict.
Around one in 10 said their partners or children were a frequent or constant source of excess demands and worries, 6% said these came from relatives and 2% said these came from friends.
Meanwhile, 6% had frequent arguments with their partners and children, 2% with other relatives and 1% with friends.
The participants’ health was then tracked been 2000 and 2011.
During this time frame, 4% of women and 6% of men died.
Frequent arguments were associated with a double to triple risk of death from any cause compared to those who said that rows were rare.
And those who said they had frequent demands or worries from their children or partners were found to be at a 50% to 100% increased risk of death.
Being out of work appeared to amplify the effect and men seemed to be particularly vulnerable to the worries and demands generated by their partners.
The Danish researchers said: “This study suggests that stressful social relations, ranging from partners to neighbours, are associated with mortality risk among middle-aged men and women.
“Conflicts, especially, were associated with higher mortality risk, regardless of whom was the source of the conflict.
“Worries and demands were only associated with mortality risk if they were related to partners or children.
“We found men were especially vulnerable to frequent worries/demands from their partner, contradicting earlier findings suggesting that women are more vulnerable to stressful social relations.”