Half of 110 participants were told to stop telling major or minor ("white") lies for 10 weeks, while the other half (the "control" group) was given no special instructions about lying. When those in the no-lie group told three fewer white lies than in other weeks, they complained less of headaches, sore throats, tenseness, anxiety and other problems than those in the control group.
"The link was that clear," said study author Anita Kelly, a professor of psychology, who is scheduled to present the research Saturday at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. "Not lying was clearly associated with better health for those individuals . . . I think it's a compelling way to look at it."