Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 601–619 | Cite as

Hostility and erosion of marital quality during early marriage

  • Tamara L. Newton
  • Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser


We examined the association between hostility and longitudinal changes in marital quality in a sample of 53 newlywed couples who were in their first marriages and were without children. Spouses' reports of marital quality were assessed initially at an average of 5 months into marriage and, thereafter, at three follow-up points approximately 1, 2, and 3 years subsequent to the date of marriage. Individual growth models were computed to assess the rate of change of marital quality. Hostility among husbands was significantly associated with linear decreases in their own, and their wives', reports of marital quality, even after controlling for the passage of time and the correlated variable of neuroticism. Results are consistent with the psychosocial vulnerability model of hostility and illness (Smith,Health Psychol. 11: 139–150, 1992), which posits that associations between hostility and heightened risk for morbidity and mortality are partially mediated by poor-quality relationships that develop as a consequence of the abrasive interpersonal properties of hostility.

Key Words

interpersonal hostility longitudinal design marital quality psychosocial vulnerability 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamara L. Newton
    • 1
  • Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryOhio State University College of MedicineUSA
  2. 2.Women's Health Sciences Division, National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderBoston VA Medical Center 116B-3Boston

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