Marriage cuts stress
There is ample research to show that marriage has positive effects on health, moreso for men than women, but overall a positive effect. Now a new test has shown that being married or in a committed relationship reduces your bodies â€œstressâ€ response to stressful psychological stimuli.
For the study researchers had the subjects play a computer game. The subjects were told that how well they did on the game would influence their future career. This is quite a stressful situation to be placed in.
To assess stress levels the researchers took saliva samples before and after the experiment. They used the saliva to measure levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
The results showed that all subjects had a surge in cortisol in response to the stressful experience. It was found that women experienced a higher average increase in cortisol than did men. Interestingly, testosterone levels dropped in men but not in women; a phenomenon that has been demonstrated in other studies in response to stress.
What interested these researchers though was the link between relationship status and stress response. It was found that people who were single had much higher levels of cortisol than people who were either married or in a committed relationship. This finding that being in a committed relationship can dampen the short term response to psychological stress is new.
As the researchers point out, although marriage can be stressful in itself it seems that it may make it easier for people for cope with other stressors. A cynic may say that after marriage any other stressor seems like a walk in the park. A romantic however, and this is the view that we will embrace here, might take the view that marriage so fills your world with the warmth of love that the stresses of life just melt away.