Spouse, Social Network, Cardiovascular Risk


Objectives: Although the quality of one’s own social relationships has been related to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, whether a partner’s social network quality can similarly influence one’s cardiovascular risk is unknown. In this study we tested whether the quality of a partner’s social networks influenced one’s own ambulatory blood pressure (ABP). Methods: The quality of 94 couples’ social networks was determined using a comprehensive model of relationships that separates out social ties that are sources of positivity(supportive), negativity (aversive), and both positivity and negativity (ambivalent). We then utilized statistical models (actor-partner analyses) that allowed us to separate out the links between one’s own social network quality on ABP (actor influences), a partner’s social network quality on ABP (partner influences), and a couple’s network quality combined on ABP (actor X partner interactions). Results: Independent of one’s own relationship quality, results showed that an individual’s ABP was lower if their spouse had more supportive ties, and higher if a spouse had more aversive and ambivalent ties. In addition, couples’ networks in combination were associated with higher ABP but only if both had a low number of supportive ties, or a high number of aversive or ambivalent ties. Conclusions: These data suggest that the social ties of those we have close relationships with may influence our cardiovascular risk and opens new opportunities to capitalize on untapped social resources or to mitigate hidden sources of social strain.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Uchino et al.




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



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Psychology Commons