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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2003 Feb;71(1):176-88.

Love, marriage, and divorce: newlyweds' stress hormones foreshadow relationship changes.

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Department of Psychiatry, Ohio State University College of Medicine and Ohio State Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, Columbus 43210, USA.


Neuroendocrine function, assessed in 90 couples during their first year of marriage (Time 1), was related to marital dissolution and satisfaction 10 years later. Compared to those who remained married, epinephrine levels of divorced couples were 34% higher during a Time 1 conflict discussion, 22% higher throughout the day, and both epinephrine and norepinephrine were 16% higher at night. Among couples who were still married, Time 1 conflict ACTH levels were twice as high among women whose marriages were troubled 10 years later than among women whose marriages were untroubled. Couples whose marriages were troubled at follow-up produced 34% more norepinephrine during conflict, 24% more norepinephrine during the daytime, and 17% more during nighttime hours at Time 1 than the untroubled.

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