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May 26, 2014 09:45 PM EDT

Worries, Conflict In Relationships May Contribute To An Earlier Death

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Stressful relationships may contribute to an earlier death, according to a recent study Reuters reported.

Researchers found that worries, conflict, and demands in friends, family and significant others may raise the risk of death by 50 percent, Reuters reported.

"Conflicts, especially, were associated with higher mortality risk regardless of whom was the source of the conflict," the authors wrote in the study. "Worries and demands were only associated with mortality risk if they were related to partner or children."

Rikke Lund, a public health researcher at the University of Copenhagen, told Reuters that men and people without jobs seemed to be the most vulnerable.

For the study, researchers looked at data from a long-term study in Denmark that included 9,870 adults in their 30s, 40s and 50s to examine the influence of relationship stress on all causes of death. The study began and tracked their health from 2000 to the end of 2011.

The researchers measured stressful social relations by comparing answers to questions about who -- including partners, children, relatives, friends and neighbors -- caused worry and conflicts in the participants' lives. Participants' answers to questions about emotional support and symptoms of depression were also looked at.

Based on their findings, people who often experienced conflicts with their partners or friends had more than double the risk of dying, and if they argued with neighbors, the risk more than tripled.

Researchers also found that having conflicts or worries and demands and not being part of the labor force was linked to a risk of death about 4.5 times that of a person without those problems.

"I think it really adds to our broader understanding of the influence of relationships, not only on our overall health, but on our longevity - how long we actually live," Julianne Holt-Lunstad told Reuters.

Reuters reported that during the study period 4 percent of the women and 6 percent of the men died. Almost half the deaths were from cancer; other causes included cardiovascular disease, liver disease, accidents and suicide.

The findings were recently published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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