April 19, 2006
|Peace Is Healthy||Science/Technology|
Ohio State researchers inflicted small blister wounds on couples and measured how quickly they healed. They found that couples who were chronic quarrelers healed at only 60% the rate of couples with low levels of hostility. The stress of fighting causes unhealthy hormone levels in the blood, interfering with healing.
Even a single 30-minute argument was enough to delay healing by a full day.
Peace is good for you.
The researchers have got it backwards: chronic quarrelers quarrel BECAUSE they don't feel well, like a bear with a tooth ache. That's the same idea behind why older people become grumpy - they don't feel as good as they used to. Correlation is one thing, causation is another.
Posted by: Dilbert at April 19, 2006 09:34 PM
I think if you'll read what the researchers did, you'll see that they did demonstrate causation. Each couple did one visit where they had a positive, supportive discussion, and one visit where they were made to argue. For a given couple, the healing was slower after the argument. I.e., the comparison wasn't just quarrelsome couples v. non-quarrelsome couples, but also a given couple after a quarrel and not after a quarrel. It is true that there was a stronger effect for couples that were chronically quarrelsome, and it is possible that such couples were crabbier because they felt crappy, but on the other hand the researchers pinpointed the particular hormone that was elevated in the blood when the couples fought and the mechanism by which it would interfere with healing, and the chronic quarrelers had even higher levels of the hormone.
My apologies for not making all that clearer in the orginal post.
Posted by: Jonathan at April 20, 2006 11:17 AM