Health

Health

By extending relationship theory into the domain of health, we have researched how individuals’ allow their relationships to impact their mental and physical health. This extension provides perhaps the most stringent test of whether interdependence changes how individuals view situations. If an individual allows another with whom they share interdependence to influence the choices they make with regard to their health (i.e., an intensely important, personal domain), then the theoretical assumption that interdependence changes the meaning of situations is founded. Indeed, social relationships impact a wide range of physical and mental health outcomes (White, VanderDrift, & Heffernan, 2015), and influence the choices individuals make with regard their health, including whether to obtain vaccinations (VanderDrift, Vanable, Bonafide, Brown, Bostwick, & Carey, 2017) or feel efficacious to take necessary medications (VanderDrift, Ioerger, Mitzel, & Vanable, 2017). Perhaps the most noticeable arena in which relationships impact health is in sexual health, however. Individuals who are highly committed to their relationship perceive less vulnerability to harm stemming from their partner, thus have lower intentions to use condoms (Agnew, Harvey, VanderDrift, & Warren, 2017). When partners are asked to reconcile their different individual condom use intentions into one joint intention, the partner lower in commitment’s intentions are more influential. Further, the intentions of individuals high in relationship power relative to their partner are more influential in actual condom use behavior (VanderDrift, Agnew, Harvey, & Warren, 2013). Collectively, my work on health in relationships has corroborated the theoretical assumption that interdependence fundamentally changes how individuals view and react to situations.

Relevant Publications

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  • VanderDrift, L. E., Antshel, K. M., & Olszewski, A. K. (in press). Inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity: Their detrimental effect on romantic relationship maintenance. Journal of Attention Disorders. doi: 10.1177/1087054717707043