Using a biopsychosocial health approach, we examine the role of close relationships on health for men and women. With a cross-sectional US sample (N = 872), we examine a structural model to determine how close relationships (family and romantic) influence number of chronic disease and number of prescription medication through physiological (allostatic load) and psychological (depression/anxiety symptoms) biobehavioural reactivity differently by gender. For both men and women, family/couple relationships impact health through depression/anxiety symptoms more so than allostatic load. However, for women, family relationships can both positively and negatively influenced health outcomes when considering both indirect and direct associations. Findings indicate that there may be unmeasured coping mechanisms (eg exercise, alcohol consumption) that can differentially impact health for men compared to women. Also, when examining family and couple dimensions of relationships simultaneously, couple relationships appear to have less of an impact on health.
- allostatic load
- Biobehavioral family model (BBFM)
- chronic disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)