Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Practise That Golden Mean

"Men also have fewer people in their social network than women, who tend to share their problems and worries with more people. Their partner is more important to them in a relatively small social network."
"It is interesting that we have identified that males who are exposed to worries and demands by their partners have higher mortality and are the ones we should focus on."
Dr. Rikke Lund, author, University of Copenhagen study

Remember the conclusions reached by studies that led to recognizing that men live longer, more fulfilled lives when they've a woman to share it with? There was a Harvard Medical School publication which read, in part:
A major survey of 127,545 American adults found that married men are healthier than men who were never married or whose marriages ended in divorce or widowhood. Men who have marital partners also live longer than men without spouses; men who marry after age 25 get more protection than those who tie the knot at a younger age, and the longer a man stays married, the greater his survival advantage over his unmarried peers. But is marriage itself responsible for better health and longer life? Although it's hard to be sure, marriage seems to deserve at least part of the credit. Some have argued that self-selection would skew the results if healthy men are more likely to marry than men with health problems. But research shows the reverse is true: unhealthy men actually marry earlier, are less likely to divorce, and are more likely to remarry following divorce or bereavement than healthy men

Seems to make sense, doesn't it?  As a bit of generic social study impression reaching a reasonable conclusion it isn't all that hard to understand that since humans are animals who enjoy other animals' presence and since the genders are normally attracted to one another through the biological imperative to survive through the perpetuation of the species, it's a reasonable conclusion. Truth is, men and women enjoy each other's company.

And there are marriages which never seem to flag in each of the partner's devotion to one another. Of course the opposite is also true, when as happens so often, the initial glow of love fades and disinterest or enmity take its place, and the marriage fails. Sometimes people formerly married to one another are capable of extending their relationship into a friendship post-marriage, yet more often than not, estrangement is complete with bitterness and gall.


Results of marriage relationships' extended value are as varied in their outcomes as peoples' personalities and the combination of those personalities leading to either a stable relationship of mutual respect and appreciation or gradual deterioration of a relationship that might have begun well, but was not able to sustain itself often through circumstances that intrude on the comfort of a well-adjusted tandem of mutual care and devotion.

So that's settled, more or less. A deep, intimate relationship based on trust and mutual attraction is what most young men and women - mature men and women - older men and women - hope awaits their future. Sometimes their hopes are realized, and sometimes they are not. But there is this about human nature; people aspire and hope and long for the deeply satisfying comfort of a sound intimate relationship with another person.

Now, an interesting spanner has been thrown in the works by a new study that suggests the burden of a demanding partner who nags and complains, destroying comfort, self-esteem and peace of mind can have a morbid effect on the health of the male partner. Men, the research study concluded, who were exposed to never-ending complaints and demands were 2-1/2 times likelier to die within ten years than their counterparts enjoying less stress in their relationships.

The study was conducted using the experience of almost ten thousand people. The effect of nagging was flagged as so negative as to account, according to its authors, for thousands of deaths yearly. The Danish researchers contend that 315 additional deaths per one hundred thousand population per year could very well be caused by spousal demands and worries. Women appeared to be immune to deleterious nagging effects; their death rate was not affected.

Men tended to respond to stress through the creation of higher levels of the hormone cortisol, linked to poor health. Stress is known for its harmful effects on people's health conditions, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Despondency linked to stress can lead to seeking comfort in food and over-eating, and obesity becomes an end result. Lassitude can lead to disinterest in exercising, and a lethargic lifestyle coupled with overweight represents a potentially lethal combination.

Men can seek refuge in leaving the family home for work, and there find alleviation of the pressure they find themselves under at home. Men who are unemployed are more susceptible to being nagged by a partner who stresses her husband's 'uselessness' in earning a living. The study points out that the effect of frequent demands and concerns alligned with unemployment could account for an additional 462 deaths per 100,000 people annually.

Published in the Journal of Epidemiology &Community Health, this Danish study seems to beliy previous studies that conclude marriage is a positive enhancer of good health. It doesn't, necessarily, it does however, add another layer. Men and women aged between 36 and 52 were questioned about their social relationships, probed for who made excessive demands prompting worries or represented a source of conflict, and the frequency of those conflicts were evaluated.

Roughly one in ten participants stated that their partner or children represented a frequent or constant source of excess demands and worries. Six percent stated they frequently had arguments with their partner or their children. The researchers felt that seeking out conflict-management techniques from professionals in the field could help to reduce such premature deaths.

"This study shows the assumption that men are more resilient to stress is incorrect", stated Carmine Pariante, professor of biological psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London; while both sexes attempt to resolve conflict, women recognized the "low-level stress" caused by nagging, seeking help from family and friends, he pointed out.

Men, on the other hand, tend, because they are men and don't as much look for outside help, tend to grimace and bear it.

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