Stable relationships, both heterosexual and homosexual, tend to spread bad habits, whether smoking, unhealthy diets and lack of exercise, according to a study released by the University of Cincinnati, United States
The study was led by sociology professor Corinne Reczek, who presented at the 106th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas (Nevada).
The findings contradict the popular belief that “for better or for worse, in sickness or health” stable married life helps reduce bad habits and thus promotes a better diet and regular medical checks.
For their study, Reczek and colleagues surveyed 122 people in life together for periods ranging from 8-52 years. Of these, 31 were heterosexual couples who were married or cohabiting, 15 gay male couples were, another 15 were lesbian couples.
83% of heterosexual participants in the survey were white, 9% black, was a person of Asian ancestry and two were Latino, while a person identified as “multiracial”.
For gay couples, 63% were white, 4% identified as Hispanic or Latino, a person identifying himself as black, one as Hispanic and Native American and South American.
The average age for heterosexual couples was 53, for gay male couples and 49 female couples gay 43. The household income participants ranged from 40 000 to 120 thousand dollars a year.
The average length of the relationship was 25 years for heterosexual couples, 21 years for men and 14 years for homosexual homosexual women.
Participants were asked, individually, on habits like smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, sleep patterns and rest, exercise habits and other health practices.
Reczek said that unhealthy habits are promoted within these intimate relationships and long term due to the direct bad influence of one of the people, by the synchronicity of health habits and through the notion of personal responsibility.
All couples, heterosexual and homosexual, were references to the “bad influence”, but heterosexual couples “bad influence” is usually attributed to men.
“The conclusion that one member of the couple is a ‘direct bad influence’ suggests that individuals converge in health habits throughout the course of their relationship because unhealthy habits directly promote an individual’s unhealthy habits other, “the study added.
An example is that both members of the couple have an unhealthy diet because they both eat what one buys or kitchen.
“The gay couples described almost exclusively as the habits of both partners simultaneously promoted due to unhealthy habit synchronicity” Reczek added.
In these cases, one of the members do not make for yourself an unhealthy habit but consider “when his penchant for such habit is coupled with their partner, they share the unhealthy habit.”
Respondents also resorted to the argument of personal responsibility to describe how, when they observe your partner incurs an unhealthy habit, do not try to change thereby become complicit in the unhealthy habit of your partner.
“This is an issue that occurs mostly in heterosexual couples,” said Reczek.