Money, jobs, children—all common topics of arguments in relationships. Previous research has shown that how couples work through disagreements on serious topics can often predict the success of their relationships. But a recent study from the University of Georgia found that the way couples approach conflict is associated with a key biomarker of physical health.
“The links between relationships and health are quite strong,” said Richard Slatcher, the Gail M. Williamson Distinguished Professor of Psychology and director of the Close Relationships Laboratory at the University of Georgia.
Slatcher co-authored the paper with Sabrina Bierstetel, a graduate student at Wayne State University. The pair examined video footage of 41 couples who were asked to talk through disagreements in their relationships. Before the couples were recorded, their cortisol levels were measured.