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Surprising Science

It Really Is Possible To Nag Someone To Death

Numerous studies have demonstrated the ways in which healthy social relationships can extend life. A new one suggests that domestic strife can shorten life…even when the only weapons are words.

What’s the Latest Development?

Researchers in Denmark compared survey data gathered from middle-aged participants in 2000 with death registry information from 2011. They discovered that those who reported experiencing frequent worries, conflicts, or demands from others — including partners and children — “were at markedly higher risk of premature death.” Notably, men who were subject to their partners’ demands and worries were even more likely to have died during the 11-year period. The findings recently appeared in Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

What’s the Big Idea?

Many studies have demonstrated the positive impact of healthy and strong social relationships on an individual’s overall survival. The Danish research suggests that people who are dealing with excessive nagging from family or others can suffer negative physiological and psychological effects that may ultimately be impossible for them to overcome. University of Copenhagen public health professor Rikke Lund says that the findings from the study should by no means be limited to her countrymen: “I think these potential stressors in life are common to humans all over the world.”

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Read it at Pacific Standard


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