People who spend more time with their partner are likely to have better physical and mental health, says a new study.
Researcher Ashley Barr from the University of Buffalo said that health benefits begin to accrue relatively quickly with high-quality relationships and supportive contexts.
‘Low-quality relationships that last for a long time can have a detrimental effect on health.
"And then we see detrimental effects of low-quality relationships — particularly, those low-quality relationships that last a long time."
The transition into adulthood has been extended over the last few decades. Young people are waiting longer to get married than those in previous generations.
During this phase, they are moving in and out of relationships.
The researchers used the Iowa Youth and Families Project for the study. A sample of all-white youth coming from two-parent, married families in rural Iowa, Barr said that about one-third of the sample experienced relatively large changes in their relationships over a two-year period.
"We took into account satisfaction, partner hostility, questions about criticism, support, kindness, affection, and commitment," said Barr. "We also asked about how partners behave outside of the relationship. Do they engage in deviant behaviors? Is there general anti-sociality?"
The longer people are in high-quality relationships, or the faster they get out of low-quality relationships, the better their health, said Barr.
The study appears in Journal of Family Psychology.