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Negative Teenage Emotions Can Ruin Future Marraiges

Update Date: May 07, 2014 11:25 PM EDT

Harboring depression or anger in teenage years may damage your love life two decades later.
Researchers from the University of Alberta followed at 341 people for 25 years. They found that having negative emotions in young adulthood influenced participants' couple relationships. What's more, the influence of early adulthood misery lasted into middle age.
Lead researcher Matthew Johnson of the University of Alberta said that he was surprised that depression and anger in teen years could influence major life events like raising children, marriages and careers.
The latest study used data from a larger study that started in 1985. Researchers surveyed 178 women and 163 men through their transition to adulthood from age 18 to 25. Participants were questioned about their perceived stress levels at age 32 and on the quality of their intimate relationships at age 43. The point of the study was to find out whether anger or depression experienced as young adults influenced personal relationships in later life.
Researchers said that findings highlight the importance of identifying early mental health issues as they can negatively influence social relationship decades later.
Johnson, an assistant professor of human ecology in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences noted that people can help themselves by "recognizing the fact that where they are in their couple relationship now is likely shaped by earlier chapters in their lives," according to a press release.
"It's not only your partner's current behavior or your current behavior shaping your relationship, but the story you bring with you," he added.
"We assume or hope that high school experiences fade away and don't necessarily resonate 25 years later. The fact that symptoms of depression and expressions of anger can endure over many large events in life shows how important it is to deal with mental health early. Sometimes, problems don't just dissipate. How you grow and change over those early years becomes crucial to future happiness," Johnson concluded.
The findings were published in the Journal of Family Psychology.

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