Previous literature has examined the link between overt marital conflict and physical health and found that negative interactions in marriage may lead to poorer health. Moreover, recent studies have identified relational aggression as a type of covert marital conflict. However, none have tested for effects of relational aggression on physical health in marriage. The purpose of this research is to further study this type of conflict by examining longitudinal dyadic data to determine how subtle, indirect marital conflict like relational aggression affects the health of spouses. Data from 316 couples, from the first two waves of the BYU Flourishing Families Project, were examined using structural equation modeling. The main finding of this study was that wives who withdraw support and affection from their husbands may experience poorer health a year later. This partner affect was not found to be true for husbands. Clinical implications are discussed, as well as recommendations for future research.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life; Marriage and Family Therapy
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Martin, Matthew P., "The Hurtful Relationship: A Longitudinal Study of Relational Aggression and Physical Health in Marriage" (2009). Theses and Dissertations. 2198.
relational aggression, covert marital conflict, health