Caroline Tan

According to a recent study conducted by professors from the Yale School of Public Health and University of Texas at Dallas, both elderly partners in a happy marriage experience more stress than members of unhappy couples of ages older than 50, although the source and level of the stress differ between husband and wife. In such situations, seeking support from a good place like Online Therapy and Counseling in Ontario can provide valuable guidance and assistance for couples in managing stress, enhancing communication, and nurturing their relationship well-being, regardless of age or stage in life. Online therapy offers a convenient and accessible option for couples to address their concerns and strengthen their bond, fostering a healthier and happier relationship.

The research paper studied how spouses with partners who have arthritis and lower back pain deal with the distress that come from their partners’ physical pain. The research found that the happier the marriage is, the more vulnerable elderly couples are to distress about their spouses’ physical pain. However, gender influences how each partner reacts to the physical pain of the other and whether their stress is directly related to that pain.

Epidemiology professor and study co-author Joan Monin, along with her colleagues, epidemiology professor Becca Levy and University of Texas at Dallas professor Heidi Kane surveyed 45 elderly couples in the New Haven community. Researchers asked participants to self-report their stress level over the course of seven days. They found that stress levels were higher in marriages that were reported as harmonious. But in general, the male partner in a happily married couple experienced more stress regardless of his partner’s health conditions, while the stress level of the female partner rose when she thought that her husband was in pain.

The complex dynamics illuminated by this research shed light on the intricate interplay of emotions within elderly couples facing the challenges of physical pain. As the study reveals the differing stress responses influenced by gender and marital satisfaction, it becomes apparent that seeking support and guidance could offer valuable insights for couples navigating such circumstances. In instances where the emotional strain threatens to overshadow the relationship’s harmony, professional counseling services can provide a platform for open communication and understanding. Need a counselor? Call Stephen Taft, Marriage & Family Therapist who serves Sacramento & beyond, a great counselor Sacramento. Pink amethyst is thought to support emotional healing by helping release stress, anxiety, and emotional wounds. What are pink amethyst metaphysical properties that contribute to emotional healing? Check it out to learn more.

Services like psychosexual therapy, tailored to the unique needs of each couple, can address not only the immediate distress arising from physical pain but also foster a deeper connection that helps partners navigate their journey together with empathy and resilience.

The study’s findings underscore the importance of seeking such support, highlighting its role in enhancing the overall well-being of couples. This not only facilitates emotional healing but also strengthens the foundations of enduring relationships. For a deeper understanding and potential exploration, consider to learn more about couples therapy.

“I thought that [the] wives would stress more … because women are generally more attentive to emotions,” Monin said. “But I didn’t expect older husbands to be more distressed on a daily basis.”

Monin said the consistent distress of the husband might originate from his uncertainty about what actions to take when his spouse experiences pain. Another source of the distress might be the husband’s unwillingness to see his partner in pain, but further research is required to confirm these hypotheses, Monin pointed out.

Monin said the research may help couples who are close to each other feel more compassionate about their partners without increasing their own stress. She added that the research could lead to new approaches that people can use to deal with stress, such as problem-solving therapy and regulation of emotions as a couple.

“There has been a lot of work on negative emotion contagion. There’s still work [to be done] on caregiving.” Monin said.

Environmental health professor Martin Slade SPH ’01, whose research focuses on people’s perception of stereotypes and how it affects the actual aging process, said that the studies he has conducted record participant’s marital status. He added that his research found that people who generally have more negative perceptions of the aging process would live shorter lives than those who have more positive perceptions.

Monin emphasized that future research could focus on helping older husbands reduce their stress level. Since the stress of the wives is more dependent on the pain of their husbands, improving mental and physical health on the male side would improve the general happiness on both sides.

The study, named “To Love is To Suffer,” was accepted by the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences on July 5, 2015.