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The effects of spousal interactions on affect and next-day somatic symptoms

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The present study examined daily survey data collected from married couples over the course roughly 14 days. I investigated the relationships of the morning quality ratings of three distinct spousal interactions conversation (physical affection, and sexual activity) reported in mornings

The present study examined daily survey data collected from married couples over the course roughly 14 days. I investigated the relationships of the morning quality ratings of three distinct spousal interactions conversation (physical affection, and sexual activity) reported in mornings on later-day positive and negative affect, as well as next-day intensity of negative somatic symptoms (e.g. headaches, dizziness, aches and pains). Hierarchical linear modeling was used to estimate path models for both husbands and wives. Direct and indirect effects were observed. Results showed that quality of conversation and physical affection increased later-day positive mood for both husbands and wives; however, positive quality activity increased later-day positive affect for wives only. Quality of sexual activity decreased later-day negative affect for wives only. Less later-day negative affect decreased next-day intensity of symptoms for both husbands and wives. Lastly, quality of sexual activity decreased later-day negative affect, which decreased next-day somatic symptoms for wives. This was the only significant indirect effect. Implications are that high marital quality is important for maintaining psychological health for both spouses, and physical health, particularly for wives.

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Date Created
2012

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Faceted feelings: an examination of the underlying structure of subjective emotional experience

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ABSTRACT

What does it mean to feel an emotion? The nature of emotional

experience has often been described in terms overall conscious experience, termed affect. However, even within affective research there are multiple contradicting theories about the nature and structure of affect.

ABSTRACT

What does it mean to feel an emotion? The nature of emotional

experience has often been described in terms overall conscious experience, termed affect. However, even within affective research there are multiple contradicting theories about the nature and structure of affect. I propose that these contradictions are due to methodological issues in the empirical research examining these underlying dimensions. Furthermore, I propose that subjective emotional experience should be examined separately from overall affect. The current study attempts to address past methodological issues by focusing solely on emotional experiences, developing a comprehensive list of emotion items, and including a broad range of emotional experiences. In Study 1, participants were asked to recall an emotional experience and then report their experience of 76 different emotions during that experience. A factor analysis of the emotion ratings revealed a 5-factor categorical structure with categories of Joy, Anger, Sadness, Fear, and Shame/Jealousy. In Study 2, the 76 emotion words from Study 1 were compared in a semantic space derived from a large collection of text samples in an attempt to compare to the results of Study 1. A semantic space derived from a broad range of texts would reflect relationships of emotional concepts. Study 2 revealed a 1-factor structure, drastically different from the structure in Study 1. The implications from Study 2, however, are limited because of the limited range of literature that was used to create the semantic space in which the words were compared. Overall, the results from these studies suggest that subjective emotional experience should be treated as categorical.

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Date Created
2014

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Social Affect Regulation and Physical Affection Between Married Partners: An Experimental Examination of the Stress-Buffering Effect of Spousal Touch and the Role of Adult Attachment

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Background: When studying how humans regulate their affect, it is important to recognize that affect regulation does not occur in a vacuum. As humans are an inherently social species, affect plays a crucial evolutionary role in social behavior, and social

Background: When studying how humans regulate their affect, it is important to recognize that affect regulation does not occur in a vacuum. As humans are an inherently social species, affect plays a crucial evolutionary role in social behavior, and social behavior likewise assumes an important role in affect and affect regulation. Emotion researchers are increasingly interested the specific ways people help to regulate and dysregulate one another’s affect, though experimental examinations of the extant models and theory are relatively few. This thesis presents a broad theoretical framework for social affect regulation between close others, considering the role of attachment theory and its developmental foundations for social affect regulation in adulthood. Affectionate and responsive touch is considered a major mechanism of regulatory benefit between people, both developmentally and in adulthood, and is the focus of the present investigation. Method: A total sample of 231 heterosexual married couples were recruited from the community. Participants were assigned to engage in affectionate touch or sit quietly, and/or engage in positive conversation prior to a stress task. Physiological data was collected continuously across the experiment. Hypotheses: Phasic respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) was used to index the degree of regulatory engagement during the stressor for those who did and did not touch. It was hypothesized that touch would reduce stress appraisal and thus the need for regulatory engagement. This effect was predicted to be greater for those more anxiously attached while increasing the need for regulatory engagement in those more avoidantly attached. Secondarily, partner effects of attachment on sympathetic activation via pre-ejection period (PEP) change were tested. It was predicted that both attachment dimensions would predict a decrease in partner PEP change in the touch condition, with avoidant attachment having the strongest effect. Results: Hierarchical linear modeling techniques were used to account for nonindependence in dyadic observations. The first set of hypotheses were not supported, while the second set were partially supported. Wives’ avoidance significantly predicted husbands’ PEP change, but in the positive direction. This effect also significantly increased in the touch condition. Theoretical considerations and limitations are discussed.

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Date Created
2017