Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 22–30 | Cite as

Life satisfaction and inflammation in couples: an actor–partner analysis

  • Bert N. Uchino
  • Robert G. Kent de Grey
  • Sierra Cronan
  • Timothy W. Smith
  • Ed Diener
  • Samantha Joel
  • Jos Bosch


Life satisfaction has been linked to lower cardiovascular disease mortality. However, much less is known about the biological mechanisms linking life satisfaction to physical health. In addition, the dyadic context of life satisfaction has not been considered despite increasing evidence that partners influence each other in health-relevant ways. These questions were addressed with 94 married couples who completed measures of life satisfaction and had their blood drawn for determination of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP). Actor–partner models showed that higher actor levels of life satisfaction predicted lower levels of IL-6 and CRP (p’s < .05), whereas partner levels of life satisfaction did not predict any measure of inflammation. The actor results were not mediated by marital satisfaction or health behaviors. Finally, no actor × partner interactions were significant and these links were not moderated by marital satisfaction. These data highlight inflammation as a potentially important biological mechanism linking actor reports of life satisfaction to lower cardiovascular mortality.


Life satisfaction Dyadic Actor–partner models Inflammation 



This research was generously supported by Grant Number R01 HL085106 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (PI: Bert N. Uchino).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Bert N. Uchino, Robert G. Kent de Grey, Sierra Cronan, Timothy W. Smith, Ed Diener, Jos Bosh and Samantha Joel declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bert N. Uchino
    • 1
  • Robert G. Kent de Grey
    • 1
  • Sierra Cronan
    • 1
  • Timothy W. Smith
    • 1
  • Ed Diener
    • 1
  • Samantha Joel
    • 1
  • Jos Bosch
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Health Psychology ProgramUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Clinical PsychologyUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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