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Int J Psychophysiol. 2009 Mar;71(3):211-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2008.09.008. Epub 2008 Oct 5.

The influence of close relationships on nocturnal blood pressure dipping.

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Brigham Young University, Department of Psychology, 1024 Spencer W. Kimball Tower, Provo, UT 84602-5543, USA.


This study examined the influence of relationship-specific dimensions of social support (i.e., support, depth, conflict) on nocturnal blood pressure (BP) dipping and mental health (i.e., satisfaction with life, stress, and depression) among 303 normotensive and un-medicated hypertensive males and females ages 20-68. Results revealed that support was associated with better, and conflict with poorer, mental health; however, neither was associated with BP dipping. In contrast, relationship depth was associated with greater life satisfaction and greater systolic and diastolic BP dipping, and the effect on dipping was independent of sleep quality, age, hypertensive status, marital status, and level of perceived network support. Relationship conflict was moderated by marital status and gender. Low conflict for females, or with one's spouse, is associated with greater nocturnal diastolic BP dipping. Overall, this study found an association between close relationships and BP dipping, thus identifying one virtually unexplored mechanism by which close relationships may have a protective influence on health.

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