It is common knowledge that good relationships with family are important to overall health and happiness. Thanks to a new study, we may actually have evidence that those relationships are much more vital in keeping us healthy than we knew before.
A recently published study in the Journal of Family Psychology took a wide ranging approach to nailing down the importance of extended family in keeping us healthy. The study looked at nearly 3,000 people – a large case study for such a project – between 1995 and 2014. The average age of the group was close to 45-years-old at the first collection metric.
The study had the group, at three points during that time period, rate the quality of their interactions with their partner and their extended family. The researchers then compared that information with the respondent’s chronic conditions that they had, things ranging in severity from headaches to strokes.
The study then asked a number of questions to ascertain where that person was in life with the vital relationships that were closest to them. Questions in the study were based around their family and love life such as: “Not including your spouse or partner, how often do members of your family criticize you? How much can you rely on your family for help if you have a serious problem?”
The two findings of the study were that people who were suffering from issues within their family and/or extended family tended to have much worse health at that specific time than those people who were getting along well with their family. The study also found – perhaps surprisingly – that there was little to no correlation between people who were struggling with their spouse and health issues.
The result with family came as a shock to no one involved in the study or involved in the psychology of health vs. family relationships. Lead author Sarah Woods points out that family is for life, while more and more intimate relationships are seen as something that can be transitional in nature. This is a modern take, with people waiting longer to be married and being content on their own perhaps being a reason why the health issues were not seen in people having trouble with their intimate partner.
One thing this should teach everyone is the vital relationship between family and health. Happy, caring families – all the way down to grandparents and cousins – give a person a basis and stability for life. Keep your loved ones close, take care of family, and live a healthier life in the process.
Article by Vital Guidance