Relationships Matter: Progress and Challenges in Research on the Health Effects of Intimate Relationships

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Abstract

Social connections play an important role in health and disease and provide opportunities for clinical and public health interventions. Marriage and similar intimate relationships play a central role in the potential health benefits of positive social connections. This editorial provides an integrative perspective on three papers in this issue of Psychosomatic Medicine that examine intimate relationships and health and illustrates the application of current areas in relationship science. The importance of integrated conceptual models and statistical techniques to disentangle common third factors and overlapping constructs are highlighted, as well as the need for a multi-method approach that goes beyond self-report questionnaires. This editorial concludes with a summary of biobehavioral and psychological mechanisms and directions for future research.

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