TitleSpouses' cardiovascular reactivity to their partners' suffering.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsMonin, JK, Schulz, R, Martire, LM, J Jennings, R, Lingler, JHagerty, Greenberg, MS
JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Volume65B
Issue2
Pagination195-201
Date Published2010 Mar
ISSN1758-5368
KeywordsAged, Caregivers, Cost of Illness, Female, Habituation, Psychophysiologic, Health Status, Heart Rate, Helping Behavior, Humans, Hypertension, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Osteoarthritis, Pain, Spouses, Surveys and Questionnaires, Videotape Recording
Abstract

<p>A laboratory study of older adults with osteoarthritis and their spouses was conducted to examine the unique influence of exposure to suffering on caregivers' risk for impaired psychological and physical health. Spouses' blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were monitored during 2 tasks designed to capture their partners' suffering. First, spouses watched their partners (and a stranger) carry heavy logs across an 8-ft space for 3 min, a task that elicited pain expression. Second, spouses spoke about their partners' suffering (and also about a typical meal with their partners). Results showed that spouses' BP and HR increased when watching and talking about their partners' suffering, and exposure to a partner's suffering was more physiologically stressful than to a stranger's suffering. These findings suggest that heightened physiological stress caused by exposure to a loved one's suffering may be one pathway to caregivers' increased risk for cardiovascular disease.</p>

DOI10.1093/geronb/gbp133
Alternate JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
PubMed ID20067977
PubMed Central IDPMC2821945
Grant ListHL076858 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
F32 AG031635 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
F32 AG031635-01A2 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R24 HL076852 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
HL076852 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
F32 AG031635-02 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R24 HL076852-05 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States