Married With Children: The Influence of Parental Status and Gender on Ambulatory Blood Pressure
- Julianne Holt-LunstadAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Brigham Young University Email author
- , Wendy BirminghamAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Utah
- , Adam M. HowardAffiliated withSchool of Medicine, University of Utah
- , Dustin ThomanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, California State University
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Although there is substantial evidence that social relationships and marriage may influence both psychological and physical health, little is known about the influence of children.
This study examined the competing predictions regarding the directional influence of parental status and its interaction with gender—given that mothers are typically disproportionately more responsible for everyday care of children—on cardiovascular functioning.
We examined ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) over 24 hours among 198 married males and females.
Couples without children had significantly higher ambulatory SBP and DBP than those with children. Moreover, we found a significant interaction between parental status and gender that suggested women with children showed the lowest ABP, whereas women without children displayed the highest ABP.
These findings suggest that parenthood, and especially motherhood, may be cardioprotective.
KeywordsAmbulatory blood pressure Parental status Marriage Children Stress Cardiovascular
- Married With Children: The Influence of Parental Status and Gender on Ambulatory Blood Pressure
Annals of Behavioral Medicine
Volume 38, Issue 3 , pp 170-179
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- Ambulatory blood pressure
- Parental status
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- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, 1024 Spencer W. Kimball Tower, Provo, UT, 84020, USA
- 2. Department of Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
- 3. School of Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
- 4. Department of Psychology, California State University, Long Beach, CA, USA