The scientists, from the Tilburg University in the Netherlands, have published this in the journal Psychological Science. They say their data, conducted nationwide across the US, suggests that when a partner is inactive or depressed they tend to bring down those closest to them as well.
‘Spousal life satisfaction was associated with mortality, regardless of individuals’ socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, or their physical health status,’ explained study author Olga Stavrova.
‘The findings underscore the role of individuals’ immediate social environment in their health outcomes,’ she said.
‘Most importantly, it has the potential to extend our understanding of what makes up individuals’ ‘social environment’ by including the personality and well-being of individuals’ close ones.’
A good diet and exercise affects life satisfaction and if someone is active and healthy then their partner tends to be too. But the opposite is also true.
Stavrova added: ‘If your partner is depressed and wants to spend the evening eating chips in front of the TV, that’s how your evening will probably end up looking, as well.
‘This research might have implications for questions such as what attributes we should pay attention to when selecting our spouse or partner and whether healthy lifestyle recommendations should target couples (or households) rather than individuals.’
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