Journal of Undergraduate Research


relationship quality, daily ambulatory blood pressure


Family, Home, and Social Sciences




Positive spousal support and relationships that are high in positivity are beneficial in terms of health-outcomes, including lower clinical and ambulatory blood pressure, an indicator of cardiovascular disease risk. Such positive relationships have been associated with lower mortality and morbidity. Conversely, relationships with more negative social interactions have been shown to cause high stress. This stress can cause both psychological and physiological problems, including higher resting and ambulatory blood pressure. In fact, some studies suggest that remaining single is more beneficial than a negative marriage or relationship. However, most marriages are not strictly positive or strictly negative, but rather, a mixture of both. So what does this mean for individuals whose marriage is high in both positivity and negativity (e.g., ambivalence) in terms of health outcomes? Can the positivity in the relationship offset the negativity in the relationship? That was the question we examined in this study. Our study examined the health consequences of ambivalent marriages (high in both positivity and negativity) versus more supportive marriages (high in positivity, low in negativity).

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