Being in a relationship that others disapprove of

Relationship Matters series Podcast number 10

From Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

The paper discussed in this podcast is entitled Perceived marginalisation and its associate with physical and psychological health. It considers the detrimental effects of being in a relationship that others disapprove of, both how it affects our emotional lives and our physical health. Using an internet-based sample of romantically involved individuals, this study revealed that perceived marginalization of one’s relationship was associated with reporting more symptoms of poor physical health, as well as lower self-esteem. Each of these associations was mediated by negative affect.

Abstract

Perceiving one’s romantic relationship as socially marginalized (i.e., as lacking social approval and acceptance) has been linked to an array of worse relational outcomes, including a greater likelihood of breakup. The present research extended this line of work by examining whether individuals who perceive disapproval specifically because of their current romantic relationship tend to experience worse personal health as well. Using an internet-based sample of romantically involved individuals, this study revealed that perceived marginalization of one’s relationship was associated with reporting more symptoms of poor physical health, as well as lower self-esteem. Each of these associations was mediated by negative affect. Moreover, perceived marginalization was directly associated with engagement in riskier health behaviors, including more cigarette smoking and less frequent condom use. These associations remained, even when controlling for important personal and relationship characteristics. Thus, perceiving that one’s relationship is socially marginalized is associated with worse health outcomes for the partners involved.

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Perceived marginalization and its association with physical and psychological health (2012). Perceived marginalization and its association with physical and psychological health Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 29 (4) : 10.1177/0265407511431187

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