Adult adiposity linked to relationship hostility for low-cortisol reactors

Katherine R. Thorson, Michael F. Lorber, Amy M.Smith Slep, Richard E. Heyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Past research on the relation between hostility in intimate relationships and adiposity has yielded mixed findings. The present study investigated whether the association between relationship hostility and adiposity is moderated by people's biological reactions to couple conflict. Cohabiting adult couples (N = 117 couples) engaged in two conflict interactions, before and after which salivary cortisol levels were measured. Results revealed an association between relationship hostility and adiposity, but this association was concentrated among people with relatively low levels of cortisol reactivity to couple conflict. Results are interpreted in light of research demonstrating that cortisol reactivity can become blunted over time in response to repeated stressors. These results provide precision to etiological models of obesity by identifying cortisol reactivity as a factor that moderates the association between relationship hostility and adiposity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Conflict
  • Dyadic/couple data
  • Marriage and close relationships
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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