Research findings revealed that those who had entered into a marriage or domestic partnership during the course of the decade-long follow-up period had lower blood sugar levels than those who had transitioned out of a relationship, as reported via WebMD. These findings held true regardless of how participants felt about the quality of their relationship.
Specifically, those who had formed a relationship experienced a 0.2% drop in blood sugar (as measured by HbA1c levels) over the course of three months. Conversely, those who were no longer in a relationship experienced an increase in blood sugar levels by 0.2% within a three-month period. The researchers highlight that this 0.2% decrease in HbA1c would equate to 25% fewer excess deaths. No connection was found between relationship status and type 2 diabetes risk in participants (via HealthDay).
Offering a possible explanation for these study outcomes, the researchers suggested that partnership may be a source of social support for couples amid periods of stress (per WebMD). Because stress can impact blood sugar levels, lower levels of stress may help keep blood glucose levels within normal range, via Diabetes UK. Alternatively, if one partner engages in healthy lifestyle habits, such as exercise or maintaining a healthy diet, these behaviors may be adopted by the other partner and may subsequently help keep blood sugar low.