Living with a partner prone to worrying can be the death of you - even if you always manage to look on the bright side of life. A study of zebra finches found mortality rates soared among those given mates programmed to suffer from anxiety, showing worry is 'contagious' between couples. Scientists believe the phenomenon applies to humans and say part of the reason for the 'partner effect' may be these jittery individuals are not very comforting to be with.
Professor Pat Monaghan, of the University of Glasgow, said: 'Unstressed birds had mortality rates that were four times higher than normal if they were simply given partners that had experienced stress earlier in their lives. 'The take-home message is that the wrong kind of partner can be very bad for your health.'
The research, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, also found the effect of stress on life expectancy is not just dependent on the way we live now but what happened in early childhood.