Over 2000 Posts Shauna Posted September 6, 2001 Over 2000 Posts Report Share Posted September 6, 2001 Didn't know where else to post this, but I thought it was interesting. Mentions both cortisol and ACTH and stress responses. What makes me mad is that they don't mention Cushings (yet again). And now I'm wondering why the heck I'm still married. My hubby must have VERY low cortisol and ACTH levels to compensate for mine http://health.excite.com/news_content/arti...87531Hormone Levels Could Spell D-I-V-O-R-C-E in Future Body Responses Reveal Conflict Hidden Under Wedded Bliss By Neil Osterweil Aug. 24, 2001 -- Few events in life are as stressful (or as expensive) as getting married, but divorce certainly gives marriage a run for its money. And now a study looking at newlyweds, 10 years after, suggests that levels of stress hormones in those who have just tied the knot can predict whether they're likely to still be hitched a decade later. Among 90 "gloriously happy" couples who had undergone an intensive 24-hour assessment of their relationship in the early days of marriage, those who had the highest levels of three out of four key stress hormones during initial interviews were the most likely to be divorced 10 years later. Although it's unlikely that couples who are engaged will ever have to submit to hormone tests to obtain a marriage license, the study suggests that "for the average person, we are not aware of how daily life events are affecting us," researcher William B. Malarkey, MD, professor of medicine at Ohio State University in Columbus, tells WebMD. At study outset the couples, who had been screened to eliminate those with existing warning signs for marital strife, were asked to discuss a hot-button issue -- a topic that normally caused conflict in the relationship. The participants agreed to have blood drawn hourly for a 24-hour period during the initial assessment so that the researchers could record levels of certain hormones known to be elevated during times of stress. The hormones included epinephrine (better known as adrenalin, or the "fight-or-flight" hormone), norepinephrine, ACTH, and cortisol. Malarkey and colleagues found that participants who scored high on hostility had higher blood pressures and pulse rates, as well as higher levels of stress hormones, and lower immune system functioning, indicating that stress can make people sick. "Ten years later, we asked the question could we find, in that original response ten years previously, some things, particularly the stress hormones, that might have indicated that even though [divorced couples] could not consciously verbalize problems, they were somehow acting differently than the group that stayed happily married," Malarkey says. The researchers found that hormone levels were a good predictor of satisfaction with a relationship and marital stability. Women who later divorced had much higher levels of the hormone ACTH during the initial conflict-discussion session than did women who were still married at followup. "We found that the stress hormones that we looked at -- ACTH, epinephrine, and norepinephrine -- throughout the argument and as well as throughout the day and night were higher in that group that eventually ended up being divorced," Malarkey says. The study suggests that when it comes to stressful life events, the body may be doing things the mind is completely unaware of, Malarkey tells WebMD. "We are compartmentalizing all the bad vibes that we don't want to consciously think about." The study's findings are being presented at the 16th World Congress on Psychosomatic Medicine underway in Goteberg, Sweden. A researcher who studies family and marriage and is familiar with the work by Malarkey and colleagues tells WebMD that the findings are consistent with what one could expect to see in a decaying relationship. "It would make sense that the most toxic, most stressful kinds of conflict interactions are going to be another indicator of problems in the marriage," says Sybil Carrere, PhD, a research psychologist and assistant professor of family and child nursing at the University of Washington School of Nursing in Seattle. Carrere tells WebMD that there is evidence to show that men are more likely than women to be conscious of changes in heart rhythm brought on by stress, and that "under those conditions where men get very [overstimulated], they tend to withdraw from the conflict and do what has been termed 'stonewalling.' Presumably, it's an effort to try and calm themselves down, but what happens, unfortunately, ... is that when the wife sees the husband withdrawing from the conflict -- which he's doing for self-preservation -- it's sends her through the roof." Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.