September 15 (WNN)—— A study published by PLOS ONE on Wednesday found that couples who support each other during stressful times have improved physical and mental health compared to couples who are not in harmony.
The researchers said that this analysis used married couples watching horror movies as a model of the challenging situations they experienced together, and found that those who held hands and kept physically close in the movie showed fewer signs of stress than those who did not. .
Although the researchers are reluctant to apply their findings to other scenarios—including stressful situations in daily life—they acknowledge that emotional and social support are key to healthy relationships.
“Our results show that being in a supportive marriage will automatically and unconsciously help our body’s physiological stress response,” study co-author Taylor C. Graff told WNN in an email.
Graf, assistant professor of psychology at Waterburg College in Waverley, Iowa, said: “This study is part of a larger relationship study that shows that supportive relationships are a protective factor for our health and well-being.”
Over the years, mental health research has shown that being in a supportive relationship can help people deal with stress better, be more resilient in adverse situations, and maintain physical and mental health.
However, researchers say that measuring the effectiveness of support in times of stress has proven to be challenging.
In this study, Graf and his colleagues asked 83 couples to watch two 10-minute horror movie video clips, most of which were in their 30s and had been married for 10 years or more.
The researchers said that in a series of experiments, one member of the couple would watch audio clips, while the other would sit next to them and listen to music through noise-canceling headphones.
The researchers said that the couple would then switch positions and repeat the experiment.
68 of 83 couples were asked to hold hands to watch the clip together, while the rest were asked not to have any physical contact.
Use a blood pressure cuff and an assessment of the participant’s pupil dilation to measure the stress response during and after the video clip, as students often dilate during periods of stress.
The data shows that more than two-thirds of the couples who held hands in the video described it as supportive.
In addition, compared with couples who did not hold hands, these couples had a lower stress response to the video, based on pupil dilation.
“Marriage quality is often seen as a single dimension of support or deterioration-but marriage can contain both high-support elements and high-stress elements,” Graf said.
“Based on our findings, I suggest that people prioritize their relationship with their spouse [and] Make sure you are a source of support and not pressure your loved ones,” he said.