Bioscience

Close relationships can perpetuate individual health problems

March 12, 2009

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: ScienceDaily] – Human problems rarely occur in a vacuum, but persist as part of ongoing social interaction in which causes and effects are interwoven. One person’s behavior can set the stage for what another does.

A new study reveals that smoking can promote emotional connection for couples when both partners smoke. Health-compromising behaviors, such as smoking or weight gain, may sometimes persist because they preserve stability in a vital close relationship.

Researchers led by Michael J. Rohrbaugh and Varda Shoham of the University of Arizona had 25 couples discuss a health-related disagreement before and during a period of actual smoking, then use joysticks to rate how they had felt from moment to moment (from very positive to very negative) while watching themselves on video. One partner in each couple smoked despite having a heart or lung problem, and in some couples the opther partner was a smoker as well.

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