Happy people often are healthy people. However, it is unclear how romantic partners’ happiness can influence one’s physical health.
In a recent study, psychologists answer the question. They found that spousal happiness also uniquely predicted better self-health. The finding is published in Health Psychology.
Researchers from Michigan State University conducted the study. They focused on how a person’s own emotional and physical wellbeing are affected by the happiness and health of their partner.
Researchers analyzed the data from a large nationally representative sample involving 1,981 couples. They explored whether spousal life satisfaction contributes to self-health over and above the contribution of one’s own life satisfaction.
The result showed that first, own happiness predicted better self-health and exercise, consistent with previous studies.
Moreover, spousal happiness also uniquely predicted better self-health, above and beyond the effect of own happiness.
Researchers suggest that this finding significantly broadens extant assumptions about the link between happiness and health. It shows that simply having a happy partner may enhance health as much as striving to be happy oneself.
It is possible that happy partners likely provide stronger social support, such as caretaking.
In addition, happy partner may get unhappy people involved with activities and environments that promote good health, such as maintaining regular sleep cycles, eating nutritious food and exercising.
Finally, being with a happy partner should make a person’s life easier even if not explicitly happier.
Citation: Chopik Wj, O’Brien, E. (2016). Happy You, Healthy Me? Having a Happy Partner Is Independently Associated With Better Health in Oneself. Health Psychology, published online. DOI: 10.1037/hea0000432.
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