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'People insecure in relationships prone to heart attacks'

People who don't feel secure about their relationships may be at a greater risk of suffering from heart attacks and a host of other health problems, a new study has claimed.

Researchers at the Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada, found that relationship uncertainties, known as "insecure attachment", are associated with higher risk for a number of health conditions, including stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure.

"The study suggests that attachment is associated with these fairly concrete and negative health outcomes," said lead researcher Lachlan McWilliams.

And since these insecurities are thought to develop at a young age, the work adds to "a growing body of research that suggests that negative experiences in childhood have a wide range of negative outcomes in terms of mental health and physical health later in life," McWilliams told LiveScience.

For their study, the researchers analysed relationship attachments and health problems in more than 5,600 people aged between 18 and 60.

They looked at three types of relationship attachment: secure, avoidant and anxious.

According to them people who are willing to depend on others and don't mind getting close are said to have "secure attachment", while those who don't trust and dislike getting closer to others are said to have "avoidant attachment". Those who want to get close to others but have apprehensions about rejection are said to have "anxious attachment".

McWilliams said genetics and life experiences are thought to influence these different attachment styles.

"If parents are fairly unresponsive, don't pay much attention to their kids, their child may develop avoidant attachment — learn to depend on themselves rather than others," he said.

"Parents who are inconsistent, sometimes supportive and sometimes not as helpful, that tends to lead to the more anxious style of attachment."

During their study, the researchers tried to know about the participants' lifetime histories of chronic health problems, including arthritis, severe headaches, chronic pain, stroke and heart attack. Then they were assessed for psychiatric disorders, such as depression.


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