Men who complain that their wife's nagging will be the death of them may have a point.
Research has found that the burden of a demanding partner is linked to hundreds of extra male deaths each year.
Men who had constant demands and worries placed on them by their partners were two-and-a-half times more likely to die within 10 years than those with less stressful relationships, the study of almost 10,000 people found.
The effect was so strong that it could account for thousands of deaths a year, the Danish researchers suggested.
Around 315 extra deaths per 100,000 people per year could be caused by spousal demands and worries, they said.
However, women appeared immune to nagging as there was little effect on their death rates.
Stress is known to harm health, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke and encouraging poor habits such as eating junk food and lack of exercise.
The researchers said men tended to respond to stress by creating higher levels of the hormone cortisol which is linked to poor health.
Dr Rikke Lund, the author of the study at University of Copenhagen, said: "Men also have fewer people in their social network than women who tend to share their problems and worries with more people.
"Their partner is more important to them in a relatively small social network.
"It is interesting that we have identified that males who are exposed to worries and demands by their partners have higher mortality and are the ones we should focus on." The study suggested that going to work could provide relief from a stressful relationship because men who were unemployed and frequently nagged were even more likely to die.
The combined effect of frequent demands and worries from a partner and being out of work could account for an extra 462 deaths per 100,000 people per year, it was calculated.
The findings were published in the 'Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health'. (© Daily Telegraph, London)