Social-cognitive predictors of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal reactivity to interpersonal conflict in emerging adult couples

Heidemarie K. Laurent, Sally I. Powers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This study tested the extent to which the social-cognitive variables of sociotropy and negative relationship attributions predict physiological stress reactivity to interpersonal conflict among emerging adult romantic partners (N = 125 couples). It was hypothesized that sociotropy and negative relationship attributions would predict increased stress reactivity, indexed by salivary cortisol levels, both independently and inter-actively. Results supported the hypotheses but pointed to more complex and gender-specific relationships; sociotropy predicted higher cortisol during the conflict for men, but this effect was mitigated by causal attributions for negative partner behaviors. For women, causal attributions also tended to lower reactivity in the sense of faster recovery after the conflict event, while responsibility attributions predicted slower recovery and more extended physiological stress. Copytight

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-720
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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