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Relationships and Connections

Journal Abstracts
May 09, 2023

Relationships and Connections

Close Relationships and Physical Well-Being

Journal Abstracts
Jun 18, 2024

We know that our relationships are an important contributor to physical health, but the precise nature of this link is not fully understood. A new study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science has found that a person’s close relationships may influence their physical well-being and bodily functions.

The study looked at how both positive and negative relationship experiences affect the body and how daily fluctuations in relationship experiences may influence changes in health outcomes including stress, coping, blood pressure (BP), BP reactivity, and heart rate reactivity.

The 4,005 participants were studied over the course of three weeks, during which they completed daily assessments of their blood pressure, heart rate, stress, and coping via an app on their smartphones or smartwatches. They also provided detailed information on the positive and negative attributes of their closest relationships every three days.

The researchers observed that higher levels of positive and lower negative relationship experiences predicted lower self-reported stress and better coping  as well as better physical functioning in daily life. Researcher also noted that greater variability (i.e., less stability) in negative relationship experiences, but not postive experiences, consistently predicted lower stress, better coping and lower BP reactivity. 

The quality of our relationships can determine who lives and dies; this research points to some ways through which relationships may contribute to or undermine physical health.

REFERENCES

Don, B., et al. (2023, March 27). The good, the bad, and the variable: examining stress and blood pressure responses to close relationships. Social Psychological and Personality Science. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/19485506231156018

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