It’s Complicated: Marital Ambivalence on Ambulatory Blood Pressure and Daily Interpersonal Functioning
- 589 Downloads
Marriage decreases cardiovascular morbidity although relationship quality matters. While some marriages contain highly positive aspects (supportive), marriages may also simultaneously contain both positive and negative aspects (ambivalent). Individuals whose spouses or own behavior is ambivalent may not experience the same cardiovascular-protective benefits of marriage.
The purpose of this study is to elucidate the physiological pathways by which marital quality may influence long-term health and examine ambivalent behavior on interpersonal-functioning and ambulatory blood pressure (ABP).
Interpersonal functioning and ABP were examined in 94 couples.
Spousal and own ambivalent behavior was associated with lower intimacy (ps < .01) and higher systolic ABP (ps < .01). Spousal ambivalent behavior was associated with lower ratings of partner responsiveness (p < .01) and less self- and spousal-disclosure (ps < .05). Mediational analyses indicated that own behavior mediated links between spousal ambivalent behavior and ABP.
Despite the positivity in relationships, individuals whose spouses’ or own behavior is ambivalent may not receive cardiovascular protection from this positivity.
KeywordsAmbulatory blood pressure Marriage Cardiovascular Social support Ambivalence
This research was generously supported by grant number R01 HL085106 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Authors Statement of Conflict of Interest and Adherence to Ethical Standards
Authors Wendy C. Birmingham, Bert N. Uchino, Timothy W. Smith, Kathleen C. Light, and Jonathan Butner declare that they have no conflict of interest. All procedures including the informed consent process were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000.
- 12.Robins L, Regier D. Psychiatric disorders in America. New York, NY: Free Press; 1991.Google Scholar
- 13.Robles TF, Slatcher RB, Trombello JM, McGinn MM. Marital quality and health: a meta-analytic review. Psychol Bull. Mar 25 2013.Google Scholar
- 15.Koerner K, & Jacobson, N. Emotion and behavioral couple therapy. The heart of the matter: Perspectives on emotion in marital therapy. Philadelphia, PA: Brunner/Mazel; 1994:207–226.Google Scholar
- 36.Reis HT, Clark MS, Holmes JG. Perceived partner responsiveness as an organizing construct in the study of intimacy and closeness. In: Mashek DJ, Aron AP, eds. Handbook of closeness and intimacy. Mahwah, NJ US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers; 2004: 201-225.Google Scholar
- 41.Reis HT, Wheeler L. Intimacy as an interpersonal process. In: Duck S, Hay DF, Hobfoll SE, Ickes W, Mongomery BM, eds. Handbook of personal relationships: Theory, research and interventions. Oxford, England: John Wiley & Sons; 1991: 367-389.Google Scholar
- 43.Uchino BN, Cawthon RM, Smith TW, et al. Social relationships and health: Is feeling positive, negative, or both (ambivalent) about your social ties related to telomeres? Health Psychol. Jan 9 2012.Google Scholar
- 55.Selig JPP, K. J. Monte Carlo method for assessing mediation: An interactive tool for creating confidence intervals for indirect effects [Computer software]. 2008.Google Scholar
- 56.Smith JJ, Kampine JP. Circulatory Physiology-the essentials. Baltimore, Maryland: Williams & Wilkins Press; 1990.Google Scholar
- 67.Gottman JM. What predicts divorce? The relationship between marital processes and marital outcomes. Hillsdale, England: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.; 1994.Google Scholar
- 68.Reis HT, Shaver P. Intimacy as an interpersonal process. In: Duck S, Hay DF, Hobfoll SE, Ickes W, Montgomery BM, eds. Handbook of personal relationships: Theory, research and interventions. Oxford England: John Wiley & Sons; 1988: 367-389.Google Scholar
- 71.Leary T. Interpersonal diagnosis of personality; a functional theory and methodology for personality evaluation. Oxford England: Ronald Press; 1957.Google Scholar