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A recent study conducted by David A. Sbarra from the University of Arizona shows that love really does hurt, not only mentally, but physically as well.
Sbarra and his colleagues have been working on a study known as the “Marital Transitions Project” which is funded by a combination of grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Aging.
Study Analyzes Break-Ups
The study has analyzed 100 people thus far and is continuing to recruit participants in this ongoing research project.
“The emphasis of the work is to try to understand the ways in which psychological response patterns –our thoughts and our feelings- are associated with biological response patterns, in particular our physical stress response,” explains Sbarra.
In one part of the study participants who are depressed are compared to those who are grieving, but are not depressed.
These participants are followed over the course of nine months to see how they react to questions concerning their previous relationship.
“We’re trying to map the psychological stress of divorce onto the psychological function,” says Sbarra.
Initial Results from Study
So far, the study shows that people who think about their ex more than 60 percent of the time display an increase in respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA).
For those who are more well adjusted in terms of their divorce, their heart rate goes up when asked about their ex.
According to Sbarra, “they look at it, attend to it and they let the emotion pass. Those who do poorly and have more health problems are the ones who have a more difficult time letting the emotions go.”
(Source: Tucson Citizen)
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