Although researchers have made great strides in identifying links between close relationship processes and physical health, we know less about the psychological and behavioral mechanisms underlying these links. As we move towards considering relationships as a public health issue, understanding mechanistic pathways in relationship-health links is crucial for designing efficient and effective interventions. In this review, we outline criteria for establishing a construct as a relationship-health mechanism. We then discuss how best to test potential mechanisms of relationship-health links and identify some promising mechanism candidates based on initial evidence (emotion, attachment, sleep, substance abuse). We conclude by describing some of the unique challenges for studying mechanisms in the relationship-health domain and recommend key directions for future research.
|Journal||Current Directions in Psychological Science|
|Early online date||9 Aug 2019|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 9 Aug 2019|
- close relationships
- physical health
- psychological mechanisms
- behavioural mechanisms