New research suggests that partner happiness may boost your health.
Having a happy spouse obviously makes for a more pleasant marriage. But what if it could also boost your health?
A recent study from the American Psychological Association examined a survey of 1,981 middle-aged heterosexual couples. The data revealed that, over time, happy spouses had a higher likelihood of reporting better health. The study was published earlier this month in the association’s journal, Health Psychology.
Specifically, the study looked at survey results from couples ages 50 to 94. Participants shared details on their happiness, health and physical activity levels spanning six years. The couples discussed both their own health and concerns about the health of their spouse.
Why might having a happy spouse equate to better health? William Chopik, an assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University and they study’s co-author, has three hunches:
- Happy partners have a higher likelihood of offering social support like caretaking
- They may encourage unhappy partners to have better health habits
- They ought to help a person’s life run more smoothly
“This speaks to the power of our close relationships,” Chopik told The New York Times. “We’ve known for a long time that when we surround ourselves with happy people, we’re happier. But now we know that it not only makes us happier, but healthier as well.”