While negative interactions predicted hypertension risk among women, the same was not true for men.

"Women are particularly sensitive to negative interactions," said Rodlescia Sneed of the Carnegie Mellon University.

"This demonstrates how important social networks are as we age. Constructing strong, positive relationships are beneficial to prolonged health," said co-author Sheldon Cohen from Carnegie Mellon University.

The study showed that each increase in the total average negative social interaction score was associated with a 38 percent increased chance of developing hypertension over a four-year period.

The researchers observed sex differences in their findings and also found that the type of relationship matters. Negative interactions between friends and family led to an increase in hypertension risk, while poor encounters with partners and children did not make a difference.

"Interpersonal conflicts are the most commonly reported stressor, so understanding their impact on health and well-being is particularly important," said Sneed. The findings were published in the journal Health Psychology.

(Agencies)

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