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Heart disease risk linked with spouses' social support
Date:2/6/2014

ivalent. When only one partner felt this way, the risk was significantly less. The effect was independent of gender, meaning that these associations were comparable for husbands and wives.

Given that the participants were married for an average of 36 years, one might predict that overall marital satisfaction would have a significant impact on this cardiovascular risk factor but the researchers didn't find that to be the case. It was the positive and negative aspects of lending support that were most significant in predicting cardiovascular health, suggesting that these factors exert their effects independently of overall marital quality.

It's not exactly clear why this is the case, but the researchers hypothesize that when both partners perceive each other as a source of ambivalence, it changes their behavior toward one another.

"The findings suggest that couples who have more ambivalent views of each other actively interact or process relationship information in ways that increase their stress or undermine the supportive potential in the relationship," says Uchino. "This, in turn, may influence their cardiovascular disease risk."

While Uchino and colleagues can't be certain that mutual ambivalence causes higher levels of CAC, since the study didn't follow participants over time, the results do provide the initial evidence necessary for longitudinal studies on relationship support and cardiovascular health.

Going forward, the researchers are interested in exploring the actual biological, social, and behavioral pathways linking relationship ambivalence and CAC levels, as well as ways to reduce ambivalence in important social ties.


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Contact: Anna Mikulak
amikulak@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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