Feeling insecure in close relationships may affect your immune system, preliminary Italian research suggests.
A team led by Angelo Picardi from the Italian National Institute of Health in Rome reports its findings in Psychosomatic Medicine. In a study of 61 healthy women the researchers found that those who had difficulty establishing close, trusting relationships showed signs of weaker immune function. Specifically, lab experiments showed that the women’s immune system cells were less lethal compared with those from other study participants.
Whether this means they’re more susceptible to disease is unknown, and for now the answer to that question is a “very prudent maybe”, says Picardi.
Picardi noted that in other research, his team found associations between insecurity and certain skin diseases related to immune dysfunction. These include plaque psoriasis, a condition where scaly patches form on the skin, and alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss.