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Arguments with Friends and Family Tied to Higher Premature Death Risk

Update Date: May 09, 2014 09:29 AM EDT

For the majority of people, having arguments is a part of life. In a new study, researchers examined the effects of arguing with family members and friends. The team from Denmark concluded that people who tend to argue more are at a greater risk of premature death.

"Stressful social relations in private life are associated with a two- to three-times increased risk of dying," said lead researcher Dr. Rikke Lund, an associate professor in the department of public health at the University of Copenhagen reported by Philly. "Worries and demands from partners and children, and conflicts in general, seem the most important risk factors."

For this study, the team from the University of Copenhagen reviewed data on 9,875 men and women who were between the ages of 36 and 52. The data came from the Danish Longitudinal Study on Work, Unemployment and Health, which started in 2000. They focused on the relationship between stressful social relations and premature death risk. The researchers found that the more people argued, the higher their premature death risk became. The two groups that had the highest risks were men and unemployed people.

"Men respond to stressors with increased levels of cortisol, which may increase their risk of adverse health outcomes," the study's authors wrote according to BBC News.

The researchers reported that constant arguing was tied to a two to three times increased risk of dying prematurely in men and women. Men in particular who dealt with demands from family members were more vulnerable and had a higher risk of death in comparison to an average man's risk of death. People who were unemployed also had a greater risk of death from any causes in comparison to employed people.

"Intervening in conflicts, particularly for those out of work, may help to curb premature deaths associated with social relationship stressors," Dr. Lund added.

The team believes that constant arguing increases stress levels, which can increase high blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease. These two factors contribute greatly to one's premature death risk. In order to reduce the risk of premature death, people should build strong support system or find helpful ways of relieving stress.

The study, "Stressful social relations and mortality: a prospective cohort study," was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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