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Journal Cover American Psychologist
  [SJR: 1.79]   [H-I: 176]   [235 followers]  Follow
    
   Full-text available via subscription Subscription journal
   ISSN (Print) 0003-066X - ISSN (Online) 1935-990X
   Published by APA Homepage  [73 journals]
  • Moving research on health and close relationships forward—a challenge
           and an obligation: Introduction to the special issue.
    • Abstract: Close relationships are integral to the health and adaptation of our species. The evidence is incontestable, and it is the building block upon which future theory, research, and practice rests. This foreword notes the distinct domains and independent histories of relationship science and health psychology and calls for further thorough integration within the broader context of team science. The articles in this special issue focus on interpersonal mechanisms, cultural specificity, personality and emotion regulation, couples dynamics in chronic disease, and the increasingly complex biological mechanisms involved in linking relationships to health outcomes. They point to the importance of life stage, especially childhood and late adulthood, for understanding unique relationship and health issues. The challenge remains to translate existing and future knowledge into interventions to improve social relationships for the benefit of physical and mental health. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 07 Sep 2017 04:00:00 GMT
       
  • Advancing social connection as a public health priority in the United
           States.
    • Abstract: A robust body of scientific evidence has indicated that being embedded in high-quality close relationships and feeling socially connected to the people in one’s life is associated with decreased risk for all-cause mortality as well as a range of disease morbidities. Despite mounting evidence that the magnitude of these associations is comparable to that of many leading health determinants (that receive significant public health resources), government agencies, health care providers and associations, and public or private health care funders have been slow to recognize human social relationships as either a health determinant or health risk marker in a manner that is comparable to that of other public health priorities. This article evaluates current evidence (on social relationships and health) according to criteria commonly used in determining public health priorities. The article discusses challenges for reducing risk in this area and outlines an agenda for integrating social relationships into current public health priorities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 07 Sep 2017 04:00:00 GMT
       
  • Interpersonal mechanisms linking close relationships to health.
    • Abstract: Close relationships play a vital role in human health, but much remains to be learned about specific mechanisms of action and potential avenues for intervention. This article provides an evaluation of research on close relationships processes relevant to health, drawing on themes from major relationship science theories to present a broad conceptual framework for understanding the interpersonal processes and intrapersonal pathways linking relationships to health and disease outcomes. The analysis reveals that both social connection and social disconnection broadly shape biological responses and behaviors that are consequential for health. Furthermore, emerging work offers insights into the types of social dynamics that are most consequential for health, and the potential pathways through which they operate. Following from this analysis, the authors suggest several research priorities to facilitate the translation of discoveries from relationship science into relationship-based interventions and public health initiatives. These priorities include developing finer grained theoretical models to guide research, the systematic investigation of potential mediating pathways such as dyadic influences on health behavior and physiological coregulation, and taking into account individual differences and contextual factors such as attachment style, gender, socioeconomic status, and culture. In addition, a pressing need exists for laboratory and field research to determine which types of interventions are both practical and effective. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 07 Sep 2017 04:00:00 GMT
       
  • Incorporating the cultural diversity of family and close relationships
           into the study of health.
    • Abstract: Relationships are at the center of the human social environment, and their quality and longevity are now recognized to have particular relevance for health. The goal of this article is to bring attention to the role of culture in how relationships, particularly close relationships and family relationships, influence health. To this end, 2 contexts that are characterized by 2 distinct forms of cultural collectivism (East Asian and Latino) are spotlighted to highlight the unique patterns that underlie broader cultural categories (e.g., collectivism). In addition, related research on other understudied cultures and nonethnic or nonnational forms of culture (e.g., social class, religion) is also discussed. The review centers on social support, a key pathway through which relationships shape psychological and physical health, as the psychological process that has received the most empirical attention in this area. Overall, it is clear that new and more systematic approaches are needed to generate a more comprehensive, novel, and inclusive understanding of the role of culture in relationship processes that shape health. Three recommendations are offered for researchers and professionals to generate and incorporate knowledge of culture-specific relationship processes into their understanding of health. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 07 Sep 2017 04:00:00 GMT
       
  • Childhood close family relationships and health.
    • Abstract: Emerging data suggest that during childhood, close family relationships can ameliorate the impact that adversity has on life span physical health. To explain this phenomenon, a developmental stress buffering model is proposed in which characteristics of family relationships including support, conflict, obligation, and parenting behaviors evolve and change from childhood to adolescence. Together, these characteristics govern whether childhood family relationships are on balance positive enough to fill a moderating role in which they mitigate the effects that childhood adversities have on physical health. The benefits of some family relationship characteristics are hypothesized to stay the same across childhood and adolescence (e.g., the importance of comfort and warmth from family relationships) whereas the benefits of other characteristics are hypothesized to change from childhood to adolescence (e.g., from a need for physical proximity to parents in early childhood to a need for parental availability in adolescence). In turn, close, positive family relationships in childhood operate via a variety of pathways, such as by reducing the impact that childhood stressors have on biological processes (e.g., inflammation) and on health behaviors that in turn can shape physical health over a lifetime. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 07 Sep 2017 04:00:00 GMT
       
  • Close social ties and health in later life: Strengths and vulnerabilities.
    • Abstract: The world is aging at an unprecedented rate, with older adults representing the fastest-growing segment of the population in most economically developed and developing countries. This demographic shift leaves much uncharted territory for researchers who study social relationships and health. Social relationships exert powerful influences on physical health in later adulthood, a critical consideration given age-related increases in the prevalence of chronic health conditions and physical disability. A large body of research indicates that older adults report greater satisfaction with their social networks than do younger adults, and that they often take measures to minimize their exposure to negative social encounters. These emotionally satisfying and generally positive social ties afford some health protection against a backdrop of mounting physical limitations and play an important role when juxtaposed with the potentially health-damaging frictions that sometimes emerge in older adults’ social relationships. Although most older adults report that they are satisfied with their social ties, some older adults experience frequent conflicts or ambivalent exchanges with members of their social networks, and these experiences detract from their health. In addition, many older adults will experience the loss of one or more close relationships during the course of their lives, with ramifications for their health and, often, for the reorganization of their social lives over time. Understanding how both the strengths and vulnerabilities of close social relationships affect health and well-being in later life is an important goal, particularly in view of the accelerating rate of population aging worldwide. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 07 Sep 2017 04:00:00 GMT
       
  • Intimate relationships, individual adjustment, and coronary heart disease:
           Implications of overlapping associations in psychosocial risk.
    • Abstract: Being married or involved in a similar intimate relationship is associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). However, the quality of these relationships matters, as strain and disruption are associated with increased risk. These effects are typically studied separately from well-established psychosocial factors for CHD that are aspects of personality and emotional adjustment, even though discord and disruption in intimate relationships are related to these same individual characteristics. Thus, research to date tends to parse correlated risks, often taking a piecemeal approach by focusing on intimate relationships without considering aspects of personality and emotional adjustment that contribute to risk and protection, or focusing on individual-level risks while largely ignoring closely related health-relevant relationships. As an alternative, this article describes an integrative approach, first reviewing associations of the quality of intimate relationships with personality characteristics and aspects of emotional adjustment that confer CHD risk, and then discussing conceptual models of these associations and the biobehavioral mechanisms linking them with CHD. Current approaches to couple interventions are then discussed, including those that have a combined focus on intimate relationship difficulties and emotional adjustment. An integrative agenda for future research emphasizes aggregated risks, combining concepts and methods in current relationship science with those in biobehavioral research on CHD, and including parallel disparities in relationship functioning, emotional adjustment, and CHD risk. Such efforts could ultimately inform empirically based assessments and interventions for interrelated aspects of individuals and their intimate relationships that influence the development and course of CHD. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 07 Sep 2017 04:00:00 GMT
       
  • Integrative pathways linking close family ties to health: A neurochemical
           perspective.
    • Abstract: The quality of one’s familial life, for better or worse, has been linked to physical health. Such associations are evident across a number of acute and chronic conditions and highlight the widespread impact that close relationships have on physical health. However, the field currently lacks a complete understanding of the integrative biological pathways underlying the association between close relationships and disease risk. This article reviews the main peripheral biological and central nervous system pathways linking positive and negative familial relationship processes to physical health outcomes. It emphasizes the role of neurochemical pathways in mediating the influence of social relationships on health-relevant peripheral physiological systems using the oxytocin system as a model. Such neurochemical approaches are an important step toward a more integrative understanding of complex biological pathways and has novel theoretical and intervention implications. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 07 Sep 2017 04:00:00 GMT
       
  • Close relationships and the management of chronic illness: Associations
           and interventions.
    • Abstract: Self-management of a chronic illness involves not only monitoring symptoms, adhering to medication regimens, and keeping medical appointments but also making and maintaining difficult lifestyle changes. This article highlights correlational and intervention research suggesting family members are influential in children’s and adults’ illness management. The argument is made that a dyadic approach to chronic illness management that targets the influence of close relationships may yield more sustainable effects on patient behavior than has been achieved in the past. In particular, dyadic approaches aimed at helping patients and family members to find ways to collaborate in goal setting for these behaviors is recommended. Such dyadic interventions may also benefit family members who are ill or are at risk because of poor health behaviors. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 07 Sep 2017 04:00:00 GMT
       
 
 
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