Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2016 Sep;71(5):775-85. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbv023. Epub 2015 Apr 7.

Stress and Negative Relationship Quality among Older Couples: Implications for Blood Pressure.

Author information

1
Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. kirasb@umich.edu.
2
Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
3
Addiction Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The cardiovascular system may represent a significant pathway by which marriage and stress influence health, but research has focused on married individuals cross-sectionally. This study examined associations among chronic stress, negative spousal relationship quality, and systolic blood pressure over time among middle-aged and older husbands and wives.

METHOD:

Participants were from the nationally representative longitudinal Health and Retirement Study. A total of 1,356 (N = 2,712) married and cohabitating couples completed psychosocial and biomeasure assessments in waves 2006 and 2010. Analyses examined whether Wave 1 (2006) relationship quality and stress were associated with changes in blood pressure over time.

RESULTS:

The effects of stress and negative relationship quality were dyadic and varied by gender. Husbands had increased blood pressure when wives reported greater stress, and this link was exacerbated by negative spousal relationship quality. Negative relationship quality predicted increased blood pressure when both members of the couple reported negative quality relations.

DISCUSSION:

Findings support the dyadic biopsychosocial model of marriage and health indicating: (a) stress and relationship quality directly effect the cardiovascular system, (b) relationship quality moderates the effect of stress, and (c) the dyad rather than only the individual should be considered when examining marriage and health.

KEYWORDS:

Blood pressure; Couples; Marriage; Middle age; Older adults; Stress

PMID:
25852106
PMCID:
PMC4982382
DOI:
10.1093/geronb/gbv023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center