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The Influence of Communication on Physiology and Health

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Edited By James M. Honeycutt, Chris R. Sawyer and Shaughan Keaton

There is a significant amount of research that substantiates the connection between social support/relationships and the development, onset, and/or recovery of several physical diseases/illnesses. Research has shown, for example, that an unhappy marriage can increase the likelihood of becoming ill by 35% while stressful communication can lead to an increase in cardiovascular reactivity which in turn increases the risk of coronary heart disease and premature mortality.
This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the influences of communication on physiology and physical health status occurring in a variety of contexts, from families, interpersonal relationships, and public speaking to sport fandom, affection, fear, and the escalation of conflict. It offers a broad and up-to-date review of the relevant literature in this area of study.
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Chapter 4: Effects of Rumination and Observing Marital Conflict on Observers’ Heart Rates as They Advise and Predict the Use of Conflict Tactics

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Chapter 4

Effects of Rumination and Observing Marital Conflict on Observers’ Heart Rates as They Advise and Predict the Use of Conflict Tactics

James M. Honeycutt, Shaughan A. Keaton, Laura C. Hatcher, and Dale Hample

Conflict is common in ongoing relationships because partners have shared history and interdependence. Yet, bonding strengthens relationships such that partners can understand disapproval from one another and relationships can survive partner disagreements (Canary, Cupach, & Serpe, 2001). Gottman’s (1994, 2011) extensive research involving 12 studies with more than 3,000 couples and another 4,000 couples in therapy has found that arguing does not predict the end of relationships; it is how couples argue (e.g., with contempt, sarcasm, or ridicule versus arguing with concern, empathy, and cooperative impulses) that predicts end of relationships.

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