Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 170–179

Married With Children: The Influence of Parental Status and Gender on Ambulatory Blood Pressure

Authors

    • Department of PsychologyBrigham Young University
  • Wendy Birmingham
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Utah
  • Adam M. Howard
    • School of MedicineUniversity of Utah
  • Dustin Thoman
    • Department of PsychologyCalifornia State University
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12160-009-9152-1

Cite this article as:
Holt-Lunstad, J., Birmingham, W., Howard, A.M. et al. ann. behav. med. (2009) 38: 170. doi:10.1007/s12160-009-9152-1

Abstract

Background

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.

Purpose

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.

Method

We examined ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) over 24 hours among 198 married males and females.

Results

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.

Conclusion

These findings suggest that parenthood, and especially motherhood, may be cardioprotective.

Keywords

Ambulatory blood pressureParental statusMarriageChildrenStressCardiovascular

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2010