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Kendra Cherry

"Self-Silencing" and Health

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de GuideOctober 5, 2007

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A recent story in the New York Times discusses a study published in the July issue of Psychosomatic Medicine that looks at the differing impact that "self-silencing" has on men and women. The study, which included more than 3,500 participants, found that women who kept their feelings quiet during arguments with their spouses were four times as likely to die during the 10-year study period. Interestingly, the level of reported marital satisfaction had no impact on the level of risk.
The tendency to bottle up feelings during a fight is known as self-silencing. For men, it may simply be a calculated but harmless decision to keep the peace. But when women stay quiet, it takes a surprising physical toll.

“When you’re suppressing communication and feelings during conflict with your husband, it’s doing something very negative to your physiology, and in the long term it will affect your health,” said Elaine Eaker, an epidemiologist in Gaithersburg, Md., who was the study’s lead author. “This doesn’t mean women should start throwing plates at their husbands, but there needs to be a safe environment where both spouses can equally communicate.”
This study is another example of the powerful impact that mental health has on physical health. Read more about the study: Marital Spats, Taken to Heart

Poll: Do you bottle up emotions during arguments, or do you allow yourself to vent your feelings?
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