Bad Relationships Equals Bad Health

Amy Cunningham

If you're in a bad relationship or have gone through a string of breakups, it may cause more than just a broken heart.

According to reports an Italian researcher set out to measure the effects that your relationships have on your health. To study the effects, he measured "attachment security", defined as your ability to trust and depend on others, your comfort level with emotional intimacy, and your security level in romantic relationships. Your particular "attachment style" both affects and is shaped by your romantic relationships with bad relationships causing "attachment insecurity".

After studying a random sample of women, the researchers found that those who had "attachment insecurity" had lower immune systems, were more susceptible to disease, and had higher instances of skin diseases such as psoriasis. Of course you can't say that bad relationships alone make you more likely to get sick, but for those that already have problems, bad relationships could worsen your health.

This isn't the first study on the correlation between your health and your relationships though. Psychiatrist Redford Williams and historian Virginia Williams "emphasize that good relationships have physical as well as emotional benefits, lowering stress and increasing resistance to disease". The pair have written a book, Lifeskills, which is based on a program designed to improve your relationships that they run at Duke University Medical Center. Using Lifeskills, you learn to understand yourself, recognize problems in your relationships, communicate to solve problems, and emphasize the positive in your interactions.

If you're currently in a bad relationship, it's time to act. You deserve a successful, happy, and emotionally satisfying relationship -- and your health depends on it.