This review highlights recent advances in research addressing intimate partner relationships and health. Consideration of the strong mutual influences that the members of a couple have on each other's mental and physical health trajectories provides a new way to view the health implications of couples’ convergence or interdependence; marital closeness can have a clear downside when one partner has mental or physical health problems. Couples’ interconnectedness can also be leveraged to promote better treatment outcomes. Major themes include the pivotal role of depression and the importance of gender differences in the pathways from the marital relationship to physiological functioning and health. The health risks and benefits of support are weighed. Additionally, two prominent emerging paths from marital distress to poor health are emphasized: sleep problems and metabolic alterations that promote obesity and its comorbidities.
Annual Review of Clinical Psychology – Annual Reviews
Published: May 8, 2017