Keywords

Ambulatory blood pressure, Parental status, Marriage, Children, Stress, Cardiovascular

Abstract

Background Although there is substantial evidence that social relationships and marriage may influence both psychological and physical health, little is known about the influence of children. Purpose This study examined the competing predictions regarding the directional influence of parental status and its interaction with gender—given that mothers are typically disproportionately more responsible for everyday care of children—on cardiovascular functioning. Method We examined ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) over 24 hours among 198 married males and females. Results Couples without children had significantly higher ambulatory SBP and DBP than those with children. Moreover, we found a significant interaction between parental status and gender that suggested women with children showed the lowest ABP, whereas women without children displayed the highest ABP. Conclusion These findings suggest that parenthood, and especially motherhood, may be cardioprotective.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2010

Publisher

The Society of Behavioral Medicine

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Psychology

Included in

Psychology Commons

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