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Health Psychol. 2008 Jan;27(1):15-25. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.27.1.15.

Marital satisfaction, recovery from work, and diurnal cortisol among men and women.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles 90095, USA.



Multilevel modeling was used to model relationships between salivary cortisol, daily diary ratings of work experiences, and Marital Adjustment Test scores (Locke & Wallace, 1959), in a sample of 60 adults who sampled saliva 4 times per day over 3 days.


Among women but not men, marital satisfaction was significantly associated with a stronger basal cortisol cycle, with higher morning values and a steeper decline across the day. For women but not men, marital satisfaction moderated the within-subjects association between afternoon and evening cortisol level, such that marital quality appeared to bolster women's physiological recovery from work. For both men and women, evening cortisol was lower than usual on higher-workload days, and marital satisfaction augmented this association among women. Men showed higher evening cortisol after more distressing social experiences at work, an association that was strongest among men with higher marital satisfaction.


This work has implications for the study of physiological recovery from work, and also suggests a pathway by which marital satisfaction influences allostatic load and physical health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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