Satisfying Relationships May Reduce Risk of Chronic Health Conditions in Middle-Aged Women

Middle-aged women who have “satisfying” relationships with partners, friends and colleagues are less likely to develop multiple chronic health conditions in later life, according to a new study published in the open access journal General Psychiatry.[0]

The study tracked 7,694 women aged 45-50 in 1996 via questionnaires roughly every three years up to 2016.[1] The researchers found that women who reported the lowest level of satisfaction with their social relationships had double the risk of developing multiple conditions compared with those who reported the highest levels.[0]

Lead author of the study, Professor Xiaolin Xu said: “At the individual level, these implications may help counsel women regarding the benefits of starting or maintaining high quality and diverse social relationships throughout middle to early old age.”[2]

Together, well-known risk factors like socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and whether or not a woman is menopausal only explained less than one-fifth of the observed association.[3]

When all five aspects of relationships (partners, family, friends, work colleagues, and other social connections) were taken into account, the findings still retained significance for all except friendships, although the connection was weaker.[3]

Having meaningful connections with companions, relatives, pals, and work associates and exercising at least once a month could enhance both your physical and psychological wellbeing in old age, according to two separate studies.[4] While the study included only Australian women, meaning the findings might not be applicable to men or other cultures, the findings had “significant implications” for health, the researchers said.[5]

According to Professor Gita Mishra, the Director of the Centre of Research Excellence in Women and Non-Communicable Diseases at the University of Queensland, the findings of the study suggest that the quality of social relationships should be taken into account when devising preventive health strategies.[6] In addition, fifty-eight per cent of the women who had no chronic conditions when the study started developed multiple chronic diseases over the 20-year study.[1]

0. “Satisfying relationships and good exercise can boost mental and physical health in old age, say studies” WION, 22 Feb. 2023,

1. “Satisfying relationships are good for women's health” The Queenslander, 22 Feb. 2023,

2. “Having a work spouse is proven to be good for your health” Metro UK, 22 Feb. 2023,

3. “Happy wife, healthy life: Middle-aged women with satisfying relationships have lower risk of chronic disease” Study Finds, 21 Feb. 2023,

4. “Exercise and satisfying relationships are the secrets to good health in later life” The Guardian, 22 Feb. 2023,

5. “The social factor that could be as bad for your health as smoking – new study” Express, 23 Feb. 2023,

6. “Women with satisfying relationships tend to have fewer chronic illnesses” University of Queensland, 21 Feb. 2023,

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