February 22, 2013
Could a short writing exercise improve your relationship?
BOB HIRSHON (host):
A relationship-saving writing exercise. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Over time, marital satisfaction can decline in even the best marriages. But researchers at Northwestern University report that a short writing exercise can reverse that decline. They had 120 couples filled out questionnaires about their marital satisfaction every four months, and a report of their biggest argument. Half the couples also wrote about the disagreement from the perspective of a neutral third party, who wanted the best for everyone. At the end of the study, those couples were far happier and more passionate in their marriage than couples who hadn’t done the writing.
Another study, this from Ohio State, highlights the importance of marital bliss: saliva tests showed that people who were most anxious about their marriage had elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and lower levels of immune cells, putting them at risk for infections. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.