Keywords

Social Ties, Cardiovascular Function, Relationship Positivity, Negativity, Stress

Abstract

The quality and quantity of one’s relationships have been reliably linked to morbidity and mortality. More recently, studies have focused on links between relationships and cardiovascular reactivity as a physiological mechanism via the stress-buffering hypothesis. However, not all social relationships are consistently positive which points to the importance of a more comprehensive examination of relationship that includes negative qualities. In this study, we manipulated relationship positivity and negativity with an experimenter and examined its influence on cardiovascular reactivity. Results revealed that relationship positivity was associated with lower systolic blood pressure (SBP) reactivity for men and women. Relationship negativity, on the other hand, was related to less of an increase in diastolic blood pressure (DBP) reactivity in men. Internal analyses showed that perceptions of positivity and negativity interacted such that high positivity / high negativity perceptions (ambivalence) were related to the highest SBP reactivity. Results of this study suggest that the quality of one’s relationships is an important moderator of cardiovascular reactivity during stress.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2009

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Psychology

Included in

Psychology Commons

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