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Positive couple interactions and daily cortisol: On the stress-protecting role of intimacy


Ditzen, B; Hoppmann, C; Klumb, P (2008). Positive couple interactions and daily cortisol: On the stress-protecting role of intimacy. Psychosomatic Medicine, 70(8):883-889.

Abstract

Objective: The aim of the study was to determine whether intimacy might be associated with reduced daily salivary cortisol levels in couples, thereby adding to the epidemiologic literature on reduced health burden in happy couples.
Methods: A total of 51 dual-earner couples reported time spent on intimacy, stated their current affect quality, and provided saliva samples for cortisol estimation approximately every three hours in a one-week time-sampling assessment. In addition, participants provided data on chronic problems of work organization.
Results Multilevel analyses revealed that intimacy was significantly associated with reduced daily salivary cortisol levels. There was an interaction effect of intimacy with chronic problems of work organization in terms of their relation with cortisol levels, suggesting a buffering effect of intimacy on work-related elevated cortisol levels. Above this, the association between intimacy and cortisol was mediated by positive affect. Intimacy and affect together explained 7% of daily salivary cortisol variance.
Conclusions: Our results are in line with previous studies on the effect of intimacy on cortisol stress responses in the laboratory as well as with epidemiologic data on health beneficial effects of happy marital relationships.

Abstract

Objective: The aim of the study was to determine whether intimacy might be associated with reduced daily salivary cortisol levels in couples, thereby adding to the epidemiologic literature on reduced health burden in happy couples.
Methods: A total of 51 dual-earner couples reported time spent on intimacy, stated their current affect quality, and provided saliva samples for cortisol estimation approximately every three hours in a one-week time-sampling assessment. In addition, participants provided data on chronic problems of work organization.
Results Multilevel analyses revealed that intimacy was significantly associated with reduced daily salivary cortisol levels. There was an interaction effect of intimacy with chronic problems of work organization in terms of their relation with cortisol levels, suggesting a buffering effect of intimacy on work-related elevated cortisol levels. Above this, the association between intimacy and cortisol was mediated by positive affect. Intimacy and affect together explained 7% of daily salivary cortisol variance.
Conclusions: Our results are in line with previous studies on the effect of intimacy on cortisol stress responses in the laboratory as well as with epidemiologic data on health beneficial effects of happy marital relationships.

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Additional indexing

Other titles:Intimacy and daily cortisol
Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:October 2008
Deposited On:12 Nov 2008 15:38
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:34
Publisher:Lippincott Wiliams & Wilkins
ISSN:0033-3174
Funders:Volkswagen Foundation grant (P.K.), Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) (PBZH1-108392 and PIOI1—119417/1) (B.D.), German Research Foundation (DFG)
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0b013e318185c4fc
Official URL:http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/
PubMed ID:18842747

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