Perceived Partner Responsiveness Predicts Diurnal Cortisol Profiles 10 Years Later

Slatcher, Richard B.
Selçuk, Emre
Ong, Anthony D.
Several decades of research have demonstrated that marital relationships have a powerful influence on physical health. However, surprisingly little is known about how marriage affects healthboth in terms of psychological processes and biological ones. Over a 10-year period, we investigated the associations between perceived partner responsivenessthe extent to which people feel understood, cared for, and appreciated by their romantic partnersand diurnal cortisol in a large sample of married and cohabitating couples in the United States. Partner responsiveness predicted higher cortisol values at awakening and steeper (i.e., healthier) cortisol slopes at the 10-year follow-up. These associations remained strong after we controlled for demographic factors, depressive symptoms, agreeableness, and other positive and negative relationship factors. Furthermore, declines in negative affect over the 10-year period mediated the prospective association between responsiveness and cortisol slope. These findings suggest that diurnal cortisol may be a key biological pathway through which social relationships affect long-term health.


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The association between the quality of people's close relationships and their physical health is well established. But from a psychological perspective, how do close relationships impact physical health? This article summarizes recent work seeking to identify the relationship processes and psychological mediators and moderators of the links between close relationships and health, with an emphasis on studies of married and cohabitating couples. We begin with a brief review of a recent meta-analysis of the li...
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This study investigated the degree to which positive illusions about one's spouse and marriage are a universal feature of human cognitions about marriage or are culturally moderated. Positive marital illusions were compared across three samples (49 American spouses, 58 Turkish spouses in nonconsanguineous marriages, and 56 Turkish spouses in consanguineous marriages). Positive illusions were assessed by comparing positive and negative trait ratings of the spouse and the generalized other. The positive trait...
Patterns of Perceived Partner Responsiveness and Well-Being in Japan and the United States
Tasfiliz, Duygu; Selçuk, Emre; GÜNAYDIN, GÜL; Slatcher, Richard B.; Corriero, Elena F.; Ong, Anthony D. (American Psychological Association (APA), 2018-04-01)
Quality of marital relationships is consistently linked to personal well-being. However, almost all of the studies linking marital processes to well-being have been conducted in Western (particularly North American) countries. Growing evidence shows that perceived partner responsiveness is a central relationship process predicting well-being in Western contexts but little is known about whether this association generalizes to other countries. The present work investigated whether the predictive role of perc...
Predictive role of perfectionism on marital adjustment
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This study aimed to assess the relationship between marital adjustment and the interpersonal nature of perfectionism. After controlling for depression and trait-anxiety, which were predicted to be linked with both marital adjustment and perfectionism, the relationship between marital adjustment; the dimensions of perfectionism (i.e. self-oriented perfectionism, other-oriented perfectionism, and socially prescribed perfectionism); a specific aspect of perfectionism, perceived criticism (i.e. criticalness tow...
Does Partner Responsiveness Predict Hedonic and Eudaimonic Well-being? A 10-Year Longitudinal Study
Selçuk, Emre; GÜNAYDIN, GÜL; Ong, Anthony D.; Almeida, David M. (2016-04-01)
Motivated by attachment theory and recent conceptualizations of perceived partner responsiveness as a core feature of close relationships, the authors examined change in hedonic and eudaimonic well-being over a decade in a sample of more than 2,000 married adults across the United States. Longitudinal analyses revealed that perceived partner responsivenessthe extent to which individuals believe that their partner cares for, appreciates, and understands thempredicted increases in eudaimonic well-being a deca...
Citation Formats
R. B. Slatcher, E. Selçuk, and A. D. Ong, “Perceived Partner Responsiveness Predicts Diurnal Cortisol Profiles 10 Years Later,” PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE, pp. 972–982, 2015, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: