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Interpersonal Relationships and HealthSocial and Clinical Psychological Mechanisms$
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Christopher R. Agnew and Susan C. South

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199936632

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199936632.001.0001

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On Marriage and the Heart

On Marriage and the Heart

Models, Methods, and Mechanisms in the Study of Close Relationships and Cardiovascular Disease

(p.34) Chapter 2 On Marriage and the Heart
Interpersonal Relationships and Health

Timothy W. Smith

Carolynne E. Baron

Catherine M. Caska

Oxford University Press

Married individuals are at reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, but marital conflict, strain, and disruption are associated with increased risk. This chapter reviews the evidence regarding marital status and marital quality as influences on the development and course of cardiovascular disease, as well as the underlying psychophysiological and behavioral mechanisms. The interpersonal perspective in personality, social, and clinical psychology provides an integrative conceptual and methodological framework that facilitates research on marital quality and other psychosocial risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In this view, recurring interpersonal experiences in marriage and other relationships involving high levels of hostility, low levels of warmth, effortful attempts to influence others, and exposure to unwelcome control from others promote disease. Implications for future research and risk-reducing interventions are discussed.

Keywords:   marriage, marital quality, marital conflict, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, psychosocial risk, interpersonal theory, interpersonal circumplex, cardiovascular reactivity

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