AuthorReed, Rebecca Ginny
AdvisorButler, Emily A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractSocial relationships affect a range of health outcomes, including even mortality risk. However, important questions remain concerning the precise mechanisms through which close relationships exert their influence. The present research focuses specifically on immunological and interpersonal emotion processes that may link social relationships and health. The specific aims of this study were to: (1) determine: a) how long it takes for adults' inflammatory levels to recover after an interpersonal laboratory stressor, and b) whether there are associations between allostatic load indicators of cardiovascular functioning and lipid/fat metabolism and immune recovery; (2) determine whether partners' immune patterns are linked, above and beyond the expected diurnal rhythm; and (3) examine the moderating effects of interpersonal emotion regulation patterns on partners' immune functioning. A final goal of the present study was to test the feasibility of conducting such a study in a naturalistic setting with multiple ambulatory immune measures per day, across multiple days. Twenty-four committed heterosexual couples collected their own salivary immune samples 4 times each day (upon waking, mid-morning, later afternoon, and before bed) for 5 consecutive days, including 2 days before a laboratory dyadic stressor (discussing an area of disagreement in the relationship), the day of, and 2 days after, to capture normative baseline diurnal variability and immune recovery post-stressor. Four additional saliva samples were collected on the lab stressor day at baseline, immediately after the disagreement conversation, 30-min. post-conversation, and 90-min. post conversation, for a total of 8 samples collected on the lab stressor day. Salivary samples were assayed for interleukin(IL)-6 using ELISAs (Salimetrics, LLC). As predicted, after the interpersonal laboratory stressor, immune recovery occurred within 48 hours of the stressor, and in fact recovered as early as the evening of the stressor. However, on the day of the lab stressor, IL-6 levels appeared to still be elevated at the later afternoon time point, approximately 3 hours after the stressor had ended. Contrary to my hypothesis, allostatic load indicators of cardiovascular functioning and lipid/fat metabolism did not moderate immune recovery. Secondly, as expected, partners displayed physiological (immune) linkage; specifically, couples showed "anti-phase" physiological linkage on the day of the lab stressor, and "in-phase" linkage on all other days, pooled together, suggesting that couples may have engaged in more of a regulatory effort on the day of the lab stressor, whereas on all other days, there was a relaxation of regulation and enhanced emotional connection. Third, couples' interpersonal emotion dynamics moderated the diurnal pattern of IL-6 such that couples who exhibited disconnected negative emotions, disconnected positive emotions, and displayed indeterminate patterns in their positive emotions, showed dysregulated diurnal IL-6 slopes. Lastly, the methodology of the present study proved to be feasible, and the study was accomplished without unforeseen problems. Ultimately, studying these immune and emotion processes as they occur in every-day life may help to uncover patterns in couples' biology and emotions that may accumulate over time to set people on different health trajectories.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Family & Consumer Sciences