The presence of a spouse or partner may help reduce the physical effects of psychological stress, according to a recent study published in Psychophysiology. Subjects participated in a test designed to increase stress by irritating the cardiovascular system.
Participants were asked to complete an increasingly difficult test of adding pairs of sequential numbers. One group completed the test alone, while the other was accompanied by a spouse or romantic partner. Blood pressure and heart rate reactions were monitored before, during and after the subjects were tested.
The results indicated that female participants whose spouses or partners were present during the test had a noticeably reduced heart rate and blood pressure level compared to those who took the test alone. While the presence of a spouse or partner did not reduce the heart rate observed in men, a lower blood pressure level was observed.
?Our findings indicate that there may be significant biological correlations between stress-management and the presence of a loved one. The causes of these relationships will require further examination,? says Douglas Carroll, author of the study.