Why quality matters in a relationship

2 February 2017

Good quality, stable relationships are good for us.

Enjoy a good relationship and we’ll have lower blood pressure, lower risk of heart attacks and better mental health, according to research. Fundamentally, we’re healthier and happier.

Suffer a poor quality relationship and the ceiling falls in – increased risky behaviours, alcohol misuse, smoking and substance abuse, depression and anxiety.

Researchers back up their claim with evidence from people who are depressed: more than 60% attribute relationship problems as the main cause. Treatment of relationship distress alleviates conditions in up to 30% of those suffering major depression.

Furthermore, distress from a poor quality relationship can have negative repercussions beyond the partners involved.

Children growing up with parents who have low parental conflict enjoy better physical and mental health, better emotional wellbeing, higher academic attainment and lower likelihood of risky behaviours.

Those whose parents have a poor quality relationship have more behavioural problems such as hyperactivity and aggression leading to withdrawal and depression, antisocial activity and criminality.

In the face of such evidence, policy-makers have increasingly focused on supporting parents’ relationships and recognised family stability and relationship quality as a core pillar of improving children’s life chances.

Until recently, we’ve lacked detailed national data on levels of relationship distress. But it’s now available and Relate’s research report Relationship Distress Monitor analyses the data to estimate how many people nationally are in relationships that would be characterised within clinical practice as ‘distressed’. It finds that nearly one in five of us (18%) are in relationships that would be characterised as ‘distressed’.

If you’d like to read more about this, the report is here:


If you’d like to talk with one of our counsellors about relationship issues, give our friendly appointments team a call on 01234 356350.

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