Happiness of marriage affect diabetes management differently in men and women, study reports

Jack Woodfield
Thu, 26 May 2016
Happiness of marriage affect diabetes management differently in men and women, study reports
Men who experience problems with their marriage may actually be more likely to have a reduced risk of diabetes, and manage it better if they do have the condition, research finds.

Scientists at Michigan State University (MSU) found that wives who are regularly 'nagging' their husband's health behaviours could help improve their health, even though this could be seen as provoking hostility.

"The study challenges the traditional assumption that negative marital quality is always detrimental to health," said lead author Hui Liu, MSU associate professor of sociology. "It also encourages family scholars to distinguish different sources and types of marital quality. Sometimes, nagging is caring."

Liu and colleagues analysed data from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project. The survey included results from 1,228 married respondents over five years, all of whom were aged between 57 and 85 years.

389 respondents had diabetes at the end of the five-year study. The researchers were not able to distinguish between cases of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, but noted the findings applied primarily to people with type 2 diabetes.

For women, an increase in positive marital quality was linked to lower risk of developing diabetes. Women were also more likely to experience improved health from being in a good-quality relationship.

Men, on the other hand, had a lower risk of diabetes and were more able to control the condition after diagnosis if they had an increase in negative marital quality.

Because wives were reported to be prodding their husbands, this led to them taking better care of themselves, despite marital strain increasing over time.

Liu added: "Implementation of public policies and programs designed to promote marital quality should also reduce the risk of diabetes and promote health and longevity, especially for women at older ages."

The findings were published in The Journals of Gerontology.
Leave a Comment
Login via Facebook
or
Have your say in the Diabetes Forum
Your comments may be moderated. Please report any spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts.