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Arguing May Raise Risk of Death for Middle-age Adults

May 09, 2014 04:15 PM EDT

Arguments may ruin more than just friendships. New research suggests that people who frequently argue with those close to them nearly triple their overall chances of a middle-aged death.

A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, details how researchers were able to find a direct association between the stressful nature of arguing and the dangerous long-term impacts it can have on a person's health.

For the the study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark analyzed data on nearly 10,000 men and women between the ages of 36 and 52. The data was collected from the Danish Longitudinal Study on Work, Unemployment and Health - an ongoing long-term population-based study.

The participants were asked to answer a survey which contained questions that concerned their everyday social interaction with friends and loved-ones. According to the study, these questions were designed to provide insight for the researcher, primarily revealing who frequently was involved in disagreements with those close to them or was a source of conflict.

Comparing an analysis of these responses to data from the Danish Cause of Death Registry, the researchers were able to which of the participants experienced a middle-aged death and why.

Interestingly, the researcher found that among the 196 women and 226 men who had passed away, 10 percent reported that their immediate family was a source of worry or excess demand. Family also proved a source of conflict for 6 percent of the individuals who passed away.

With this data alone, the researchers calculated that worries and demands associated with immediate family could be leading to a 50 to 100 percent increase in risk of death.

When frequent conflict with anyone the participants were familiar with was considered, the researchers found that frequent arguers faced a whopping 300 percent increase in risk of death, compared to those who reported little arguing.

However, the researchers are quick to point out that this study only found an association between arguing and middle-aged death. A cause-and-effect relationship was not established, and it could be just as likely that an increased chance of death through poor health and other factors could encourage an increased rate of argument.

The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, a British Medical Journal publication, on May 8.

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