The beneficial effects of religion and spiritual factors on cardiovascular functioning have become an area of increasing research. Similarly, considerable research has also investigated the negative effects of marital distress on cardiovascular functioning. Little is known, however, about potential protective factors against the deleterious effects of marital distress on cardiovascular functioning. Social support has been identified as a potential buffer against the negative effects of marital distress on ambulatory blood pressure, and the current study hypothesized that spirituality, religiosity, and religious support would also buffer the negative effects of marital distress on ambulatory blood pressure. Fifty-eight married couples were recruited from both marital therapists and the community surrounding Brigham Young University. Participants wore ambulatory blood pressure monitors for 24 hours and completed questionnaires which measure marital distress, spirituality, religiosity, religious support and social support. It was found that for normotensive individuals (SBP < 120) spirituality, religious support, and social support have an additive effect of lowering blood pressure on individuals with high marital quality. No effect was found for spirituality, religiosity, or religious support buffering the negative effects of marital distress on ambulatory blood pressure. It was also found that men and women view the relationships between religiosity and social support, and religious support and social support differently. Specifically, social support is more highly related to religiosity and religious support in women compared to men. It appears that for happily-married individuals, spirituality, religious support and social support have an additive effect in lowering blood pressure.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Livingstone, John Dale, "Spirituality and Religious Support as Buffers against the Negative Effects of Marital Distress on Ambulatory Blood Pressure" (2008). Theses and Dissertations. 1634.
marital distress, blood pressure, spirituality, religious support, social support