Your Partner’s Bad Attitude Can Make You Sick

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1 -- Aired 10/02/2004 -- Pictured: Rachel Dratch as Debbie Downer during
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If you’ve ever told your partner their attitude makes you sick, you may have been all too right, according to recent research.

The study, published in the Journal of Psychomatic Research, showed that having an optimistic spouse — even if you yourself are a glass-half-empty type — correlates with less illness and better mobility. The authors, led by Eric Kim at the University of Michigan, used data from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationwide health survey including adults ages 50 and older. They looked at four years’ worth of answers from 3,940 individuals — or 1,970 (heterosexual) couples — on optimism and health. 

There are a couple caveats here: One is that the study was conducted on older adults, so maybe there’s a chance that younger pessimists are less lethal to their significant others. Another is that the health of these subjects was self-reported, so we have to trust that they were honest about their physical ailments.

But still, it’s a striking finding — if this study’s right and the Jessica Days of the world keep their significant others healthy, committing to a Debbie Downer, on the other hand, could actually kill you one day (sad trombone sound).