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The Interplay Between Relationships, Stress, and Sleep

A new Personal Relationships study documents how the quality of a person’s romantic relationship and the life stress he or she experiences at two key points in early adulthood (at age 23 and 32) are related to sleep quality and quantity in middle adulthood (at age 37).

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 12:01 am EST
"The findings of our study suggest that one way that relationships affect health behavior is through their effects on individuals' stress."

A new Personal Relationships study documents how the quality of a person’s romantic relationship and the life stress he or she experiences at two key points in early adulthood (at age 23 and 32) are related to sleep quality and quantity in middle adulthood (at age 37).

Investigators found that people who have positive relationship experiences in early adulthood experience fewer, less disruptive stressful life events at age 32, which in turn predicts better sleep quality at age 37. Sleep is a shared behavior in many romantic relationships, and it is a strong contender for how relationships “get under the skin” to affect long-term health. The study’s findings add to a growing body of literature showing that one of the important ways in which relationships impact individuals is by reducing the occurrence and severity of life stress.

“Although a large body of evidence shows that relationships are important for health, we are just beginning to understand how the characteristics of people's close relationships affect health behaviors, such as sleep,” said lead author Chloe Huelsnitz, a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota. “The findings of our study suggest that one way that relationships affect health behavior is through their effects on individuals' stress.”

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/pere.12266  

About Journal 

Personal Relationships, first published in 1994, is an international, interdisciplinary journal that promotes scholarship in the field of personal relationships using a wide variety of methodologies and throughout a broad range of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, communication studies, anthropology, family studies, child development, social work, and gerontology. The subject matter and approach of Personal Relationships will be of interest to researchers, teachers, and practitioners. Manuscripts examining a wide range of personal relationships, including those between romantic or intimate partners, spouses, parents and children, siblings, classmates, coworkers, neighbors, and friends are welcome.  Typically published work focuses on attributes of individual partners in personal relationships (e.g., personality factors or social positions as influences on relationship outcomes) at all stages of the life course, interactive relationship processes (i.e., behavioral, affective, or cognitive), the internal structure of dyads and networks, and relationships in social contexts (e.g., families, workplaces, historical periods, cultures).  In addition to original qualitative or quantitative research, theoretical or methodological contributions, integrative reviews, meta-analyses, comparative or historical studies, and critical assessments of the status of the field are welcome as submissions. 

About Wiley

Wiley is a global leader in research and education. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, and our digital learning, assessment, certification and student-lifecycle services and solutions help universities, academic societies, businesses, governments and individuals to achieve their academic and professional goals. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The Company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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