The study found that single people found it easier to cope during coronavirus lockdown than in an unhappy relationship – but this was the best among those with a happy relationship.
Experts at the University of the Danube surveyed more than 1,000 Austrians a month in lockdown to get a picture of the link between relationship status and the state of emotion.
People from an unhappy relationship were three times more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than singles or happy couples, the team discovered.
Those who were happy in their relationships were the best of all groups, reflecting higher levels of mental health than singles or unhappy couples.
The survey’s findings ‘underline the fact that not only but especially at such times, the choice of partner should be carefully considered,’ the team wrote.
The study found that single people found it easier to cope during coronavirus lockdown than in an unhappy relationship – but this was the best among those with a happy relationship. Stock image
As part of the study, Austrian researchers wanted to better understand the impact a disaster – such as an epidemic – can have on mental health.
They evaluated differences in several general mental health and well-being measures during the Kovid-19 epidemic and related lockdown measures.
As Kovid-19 spread rapidly throughout the world, most governments implemented restrictions to prevent the uncontrolled spread of the virus.
Although social security and other measures such as the use of personal protective equipment helped prevent the spread, they also negatively affected mental health, according to Austrian researchers.
However, there seems to be a connection between how serious the virus and their relationship status had on one’s mental health.
Those who were happy in their relationships were the best of all groups, reflecting higher levels of mental health than single or unhappy couples. Stock image
An unrelated survey from India showed that married participants were 40 percent less likely to develop anxiety during lockdown than single people.
However, a US study found that discord in a relationship may be associated with a higher risk for mood and anxiety disorders.
To get a picture of the true impact of lockdown on a relationship, researchers created a survey that used several common psychological tools.
They used the quality of marriage evaluation to assess relationships, and then used key stress, depression, anxiety, well-being, quality of sleep, and quality of life tests to understand the mental health of those who responded to the survey .
Across all mental health scales, individuals with good relationship quality are better than individuals with poor relationship quality or such people are not in the relationship.
It was also better not to be in a relationship during an epidemic than a poor quality, the authors found, finding singles performed better on mental health scores than those in the unhappy pair.
The prevalence of depressive symptoms increased as relationship quality declined – from 13 percent to depression to 35 percent.
The study authors wrote, “Per relationship was not associated with better mental health, but relationship quality was essential.”
‘Compared to a relationship, a good relationship quality was a protective factor while a poor relationship quality was a risk factor.’
The survey asked questions in six categories: relationship satisfaction, quality of life, well-being, perceived stress, depressive symptoms, and anxiety symptoms.
All mental health indicators – depression, anxiety, stress, well-being, quality of sleep, quality of life – differed significantly between the three relationship groups.
The team reported, “We found a clinically relevant difference in relationship quality as well as relationship status across all test scales.”
People from an unhappy relationship were three times more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than singles or happy couples, the team discovered. Stock image
‘Individuals with good relationship quality were found to have better mental health than individuals with poor relationship quality or no relationship.
‘In addition, individuals with poor relationship quality performed significantly worse across all mental health scales.’
There were limitations to this study, according to the team, who said it would be better to have similar people surveyed before coronovirus to get something to overcome the potential changes caused by coronavirus.
‘Therefore, we cannot say whether relationship quality had an effect on mental health or whether mental health affected relationship quality or both,’ he wrote.
Furthermore, although the sample is representative for age, gender, education, and region, it is not representative for the combination of these variables.
Only self-rating scales were used to assess mental health without an additional clinical interview or assessment that would normally be done.
This explains the results, which also came from a relatively small sample size, ‘unclear,’ the team explained.
The findings are published in PLOS One Journal.
The result is that it is due to dying of loneliness
Research suggests that it is possible to ‘die of loneliness’.
A major study published in March 2018 suggested that social isolation may increase the likelihood of stroke by 39 percent and premature death by 50 percent.
Researchers found that loneliness can increase the risk of heart attack by more than 40 percent.
The analysis was based on a health record of 480,000 Britons – the largest study of its kind.
People who already had heart problems die quickly if they are isolated, suggesting the importance of family and friends in getting help.
The research team, which included British academics, stated that lonely people had higher rates of chronic illnesses and smoking and had higher symptoms of depression.