Aging Adults and Weight Gain: Study Links to Stress Level of Spouse

Aging Adults and Weight Gain

It is no secret that, for aging adults, stress can have a rather detrimental effect on their waist lines, causing potentially extreme weight gain over time. Oftentimes, your spouse’s stress level can inadvertently affect your own personal stress level as well.

A University of Michigan study concluded that high spousal stress levels combined with overall negative marriage quality can have a much greater impact on the individual’s waist circumference than even their own stress level ever could.

This was found to be especially true for aging adults because they had more experience with marital stress than their younger counterparts. The study in question included 1,098 older married couples and was conducted over the course of a five year period (2006-2010) and the average length of the marriages was approximately 34 years.

While this particular study focused mainly on older married couples, there have been other studies that researched the stress levels among younger married couples as well, with varying factors and results.

The general consensus is that, over time, negative marriage quality combined with long-term caregiving can have such a harmful impact on an individual’s psyche that their emotional disposition could affect their partner’s emotional disposition as well, sometimes leading to depression.

As a result, when a married person not only notices, but also has to continuously live under such duress, this can cause their own stress levels to spike, which will inevitably result in severe weight gain. Interestingly, the researchers reported that wives were ultimately more likely than husbands to experience negative marriage quality.

Kira Birditt, who spearheaded the study, asserted that this is most likely because over the years, wives had developed a more lackluster view of their marriages than their husbands. In summation, the study has proven that older married couples need to work harder at not only keeping the romance alive in their marriages, but that they need to work together to overcome the many stresses that come with being married for a long time.


Sources:

http://www.ns.umich.edu/new/releases/24280-older-adults-gain-weight-when-spouse-is-stressed-out
http://psychsocgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/09/24/geronb.gbw112


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