Negative emotions suffered when one was young can have a lasting grip on love relationships well into middle-age, new research says.
“The fact that depression and anger experienced during the teenage years clung on to people, even through major life events such as child-rearing, marriages and careers, was surprising,” said Matthew Johnson, a researcher at University of Alberta in Canada.
The researchers took on to crack the code to happiness by exploring the long reach of depression and anger over more than two decades.
“We assume that high school experiences fade away. Symptoms of depression and expressions of anger can endure over many large events in life. How you grow and change over those early years becomes crucial to future happiness," said Johnson, an assistant professor of human ecology.
The researchers surveyed 178 women and 163 men through their transition to adulthood from age 18 to 25, at age 32 and on the quality of their intimate relationships at age 43.
As individuals, people can help themselves by "recognising the fact that where they are in their couple relationship now is likely shaped by earlier chapters in their lives”, Johnson said in a paper published in the Journal of Family Psychology.