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Psychol Bull. 1992 Jul;112(1):39-63.

Analysis of the association between marital relationships and health problems: an interactional perspective.

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School of Social Welfare, University of California, Los Angeles 90024-1452.


This article reviews the evidence for a relationship between 3 types of marital variables (marital status, marital adjustment, and marital interaction) and health problems (etiology, course/outcome/treatment) as well as the effect that health problems have on marriage. The mechanisms responsible for these associations also are evaluated. The evidence suggest that marital variables affect health status but that the effect is indirect and nonspecific. The major explanatory model, the stress/social support hypothesis, has provided a broad conceptual framework rather than testable hypotheses. The results of the review suggest, however, that sufficient evidence exists for researchers to focus on exploring specific explanations. A hypothetical model is presented that includes interpersonal, intrapersonal, psychological, and physiological variables. This model is intended as a blueprint for exploration as well as a summary of available evidence.

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