Marital quality is linked to health benefits for men and women. Although women have less risk factors than men for cardiovascular disease prior to menopause, their risk increases substantially after menopause. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of marital quality and vasomotor symptoms on cardiovascular risk factors including C-reactive protein (CRP) and carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in women before, during, and after the menopausal transition. The final sample consisted of 92 married women between the ages of 40 and 60 years. Hypotheses were tested using hierarchical regression and general linear modeling. Results suggest that greater marital quality reduces the negative effect of a lower level of vasomotor symptoms on cIMT but not CRP. Contrary to hypotheses, marital quality did not predict CRP or cIMT and vasomotor symptoms were not correlated with CRP or cIMT. While analyses did not support an interaction between menopausal status and lower marital quality on vasomotor symptoms or CRP, there was limited support for an interaction between menopausal status and lower marital quality on cIMT (p = .057) suggesting that for postmenopausal women higher marital quality is related to lower levels of cIMT. Overall, findings suggest that it is important to consider the impact of psychosocial aspects of a middle aged woman's life (i.e., marital quality) in conjunction with biological stressors when assessing cardiovascular risks in women during the menopausal transition.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology



Date Submitted


Document Type





marital quality, menopause, vasomotor, cardiovascular disease, C-reactive protein, carotid intima-media thickness

Included in

Psychology Commons