Carolyn Cutrona

Carolyn Cutrona
Iowa State University | ISU · Department of Psychology

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123
Publications
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (123)
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the significant and varied losses that couples can experience during times of global and regional disasters and crises. What factors determine how couples navigate their close relationships during times of loss? In this paper, we elaborate and extend on one of the most influential frameworks in relationship sci...
Article
Background : The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to examine the effect of physical activity (PA) on the relationship between perceived racial discrimination and major depressive disorder (MDD) in African Americans. Methods : 645 African Americans (mean age 45 years) were interviewed on their perceived racial discrimination, PA, and past...
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Background and Objectives Over the years, a large amount of research has been devoted to the investigation of factors that led to mental health outcomes in older adults. For African American older adults, their lived experiences place them at high risk for mental health problems. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of early life inf...
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We followed 402 African American young adults from ages 24 to 29, a period of emerging committed relationships, to examine the association of contextual stress (CS), for example, experiences of financial strain, victimization, and racial discrimination, with inflammation, and to test predictions that greater perceived relationship warmth and suppor...
Article
The current study examined psychological and family health predictors of change over time in household income, using data from longitudinal studies of African American ( N = 889, 93.5% female) and Mexican origin ( N = 674, 100% female) families. Participants self-reported their household income, as well as their emotional, personality, and cognitiv...
Article
This study examined the impact of neighborhood racial discrimination on the development of major depressive disorder (MDD) in a sample of African American women. Participants were 499 women from Georgia and Iowa with no history of MDD who were followed for 9 to 11 years. Several neighborhood characteristics (community social disorder, community coh...
Article
Building upon various lines of research, we posited that methylation of the oxytocin receptor gene ( OXTR ) would mediate the effect of adult adversity on increased commitment to negative schemas and in turn the development of depression. We tested our model using structural equation modeling and longitudinal data from a sample of 100 middle-aged,...
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The purpose of this study was to learn from 29 Black women how to develop effective Type 2 diabetes programming. Three focus groups were held in Des Moines, Iowa, during fall 2012. Results highlighted themes related to diabetes knowledge, diabetes management and prevention, physical activity, diet, and diabetes management programming. Opinions were...
Article
The factors that allow people to be good support providers in relationships are not fully understood. We examined how support providers’ stressful experiences (financial strain and racial discrimination) differentially influence their supportiveness, using longitudinal data from two samples of African American couples. Among couples that provided o...
Article
Objective: The goal of the study was to examine differential mediation of long-term effects of discrimination on health behaviour and health status by internalising (anxiety and depression) and externalising (hostility and anger), and to explore moderation of these effects, specifically, by the presence of support networks and coping tendencies. De...
Article
Objective: We examined the mediational role of symptoms of anxiety in accounting for the association of discrimination and chronic health conditions among African-American women. Methods: Participants were 646 African-American women who completed self-report measures of perceived racial discrimination, symptoms of anxiety, and diagnosed chronic...
Article
Parental depression is a well-established risk factor for couple conflict and ineffective or hostile parenting (M. C. Lovejoy, P. A. Graczyk, E. O'Hare, & G. Neuman, 2000; L. M. Papp, M. C. Goeke-Morey, & E. M. Cummings, 2007). Although research suggests that caregiver depression may impact parenting indirectly via increased conflict between couple...
Article
Adult attachment theory provides guidance for providing optimal social support in intimate relationships. According to attachment theory, facilitating autonomy (secure base support) sometimes is more important than providing nurturance (safe haven support). In addition, it is important that couples celebrate one another's triumphs and successes (an...
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The recent U.S. recession has resulted in higher rates of unemployment, underemployment, and child poverty, with African Americans disproportionately represented among the financially disadvantaged. Although past research has established the relationship between family financial hardship and various child adjustment problems, African Americans rema...
Article
Although multiple studies have found that African Americans commonly experience racial discrimination, available studies have yet to examine how perceived racism might be related to suicide vulnerability in African American youth. The purpose of this study was to examine a framework for how perceived racial discrimination contributes to symptoms of...
Article
We examined whether romantic relationship satisfaction would serve as a link between early and later stressors which in turn would influence the thyroid function index (TFI), an indicator of physiological stress response. Using the framework of genetic susceptibility theory combined with hypotheses derived from the vulnerability-stress-adaptation a...
Chapter
This chapter presents a summary of findings from a large-scale longitudinal study of nonurban African American families designed to focus on factors that influence the relationships between parents, given the importance of parental relationships for the outcomes of children. After a brief summary of the study’s goals and methods, findings are prese...
Article
Objectives To examine the effect of the relationship between alcohol and cigarette consumption on biological aging using deoxyribonucleic acid methylation-based indices. DesignHierarchical linear regression modeling followed by fitting of higher-order effects. SettingLongitudinal studies of aging and the effect of psychosocial stress. ParticipantsP...
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Smoking is associated with poorer health outcomes for both African and European Americans. In order to better understand whether ethnic-specific genetic variation may underlie some of these differences, we compared the smoking-associated genome-wide methylation signatures of African Americans with those of European Americans, and followed up this a...
Article
We examined whether romantic relationship satisfaction would serve as a link between early and later stressors which in turn would influence the Thyroid Function Index (TFI), an indicator of physiological stress response. Using the framework of genetic susceptibility theory combined with hypotheses derived from the vulnerability-stress-adaptation a...
Article
Full-text available
This study focuses on 422 African American families with two caregivers as children transition into adolescence. The family stress model was tested longitudinally using structural equation modeling. Results showed that economic stress was associated with economic pressure and depressive symptoms among caregivers, which in turn was related to caregi...
Article
Social disorganization theory posits that individuals who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods are more likely to engage in antisocial behavior than are those who live in advantaged neighborhoods and that neighborhood disadvantage asserts this effect through its disruptive impact on social ties. Past research on this framework has been limited in tw...
Article
Objective Type 2 diabetes disproportionately affects African American women, a population exposed to high levels of stress, including financial strain (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2011, ). We tested a mediational model in which chronic financial strain among African American women contributes to elevated serum inflammation markers, wh...
Article
Obesity is a multi-factorial disease process; in African Americans, factors contributing to obesity and Type 2 diabetes include socioeconomic status, access to health care, cultural attitudes, psychosocial factors, and lifestyle behaviors. Recent progress in defining the role of the immune system as a regulator of insulin resistance has identified...
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Purpose The purpose of this study is to propose a mediational model for the mechanisms through which a diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder between the ages of 10 and 12 predicts positive and negative early adult outcomes for African Americans. Methods The study sample (n = 211) was drawn from the Des Moines, Iowa subsample of the...
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Regular smoking is associated with a wide variety of syndromes with prominent inflammatory components such as cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Heavy regular smoking is also associated with changes in the DNA methylation of peripheral mononuclear cells. However, in younger smokers, inflammatory epigenetic findings are largely absent which sugges...
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The present longitudinal study examined the role of general and tailored social support in mitigating the deleterious impact of racial discrimination on depressive symptoms and optimism in a large sample of African American women. Participants were 590 African American women who completed measures assessing racial discrimination, general social sup...
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Objective: Prospective data tested a "differential mediation" hypothesis: The relations (found in previous research) between perceived racial discrimination and physical health status versus health-impairing behavior (problematic substance use) are mediated by two different types of affective reactions, internalizing and externalizing. Method: T...
Article
We investigate the effects of parents, best friends, and relative prices on fruit and vegetable consumption by African American youths using behavioral data from the Family and Community Health Study and area-specific food prices from the Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database. We construct a simultaneous equation ordered probit model that accounts...
Article
Reports an error in "Impact of child sex abuse on adult psychopathology: A genetically and epigenetically informed investigation" by Steven R. H. Beach, Gene H. Brody, Man Kit Lei, Frederick X. Gibbons, Meg Gerrard, Ronald L. Simons, Carolyn E. Cutrona and Robert A. Philibert (Journal of Family Psychology, 2013[Feb], Vol 27[1], 3-11). Figure 2 was...
Article
Genetic, environmental, and epigenetic influences and their transactions were examined in a sample of 155 women from the Iowa adoptee sample who had been removed from their biological parents shortly after birth and assessed when participants were an average of 41.10 years old. We observed an interactive effect of child sex abuse (CSA) and biologic...
Article
The study explores the types of support expressed in counseling groups attended by trainee counselors. Support is a crucial factor in human life in general, and in groups in particular, yet little is known about the type of support presented in counseling groups. Type of support was categorized by means of the Social Support Behavior Code (SSBC; Cu...
Article
Conceptualizing Social SupportNegative Effects of Social SupportResponsiveness and Social SupportSocial Support in the Context of Positive EventsThe Potential for Conflict in Social Support TransactionsResponsive Interactions and Cognitive Processing of Support MessagesImplications for Couple InterventionsImplications for Future ResearchReferences
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The cognitive discrepancy model predicts that loneliness occurs when individuals perceive a difference between their desired and actual levels of social involvement. Using data from a sample of high school sophomore students, the present investigation was designed to go beyond previous research that has tested this model by examining the predicted...
Article
Social support is an important construct in people's lives and in group counseling. The purpose of this study was to explore the associations among the individual's attachment style, group process variables (climate and bonding), and objectively documented supportive behavior in counseling groups, as well as their impact on change in members' perce...
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This study examined predictors of relationship stability over 5 years among heterosexual cohabiting and married African American couples raising an elementary-school-age child. The vulnerability-stress-adaptation model of relationships (Karney & Bradbury, 1995) guided the investigation. Contextual variables were conceptualized as important determin...
Article
A three-stage context amplification model was tested with a sample of 345 African-American parent-child dyads. The model combined the conceptual structure of stress generation with recent findings regarding genetic susceptibility. Because the 7R + allele of the dopamine transporter (DRD4) has the potential to enhance contextual priming and arousal,...
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Using data from a sample of 673 Mexican Origin families, the current investigation examined the degree to which family supportiveness acted as a protective buffer between neighborhood disorder and antisocial behavior during late childhood (i.e. intent to use controlled substances, externalizing, and association with deviant peers). Children’s perce...
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Prominent explanations of the overrepresentation of Black Americans in criminal justice statistics focus on the effects of neighborhood concentrated disadvantage, racial isolation, and social disorganization. We suggest that perceived personal discrimination is an important but frequently neglected complement to these factors. We test this hypothes...
Article
Major depression (MD) is often associated with disturbances of the hypothalamic/pituitary/thyroid (HPT) axis. Unfortunately, whether this association is secondary to common underlying genetic variation or whether the MD-associated disturbances in HPT function are chronic or state-dependent is unknown. To examine these questions, we genotyped 12 sin...
Article
A longitudinal model that tested mediating pathways between protective family processes and HIV-related behavior was evaluated with 195 African American youth. Three waves of data were collected when the youth were 13, 15, and 19 years old. Evidence of mediation and temporal priority were assessed for three constructs: academic engagement, evaluati...
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This study investigated the association between hostility and health and whether it is moderated by the quality of an individual's primary romantic relationship. Longitudinal data were provided by 184 African Americans, including 166 women. Participants averaged 38 years old and were married or in long-term marriagelike relationships. Hostility and...
Article
Although many African Americans share a sociohistorical background, empirical research on family and marital processes has often overlooked a great deal of heterogeneity within the group. In addition, African Americans face different stressors and life circumstances from the general population. Given that a high proportion of African American marri...
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Although research demonstrates many negative family outcomes associated with single-parent households, little is known about processes that lead to positive outcomes for these families. Using 3 waves of longitudinal data, we examined how maternal dispositional optimism and life stressors are associated with parenting and child outcomes in 394 singl...
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Using data from 747 rural African American mothers, this study incorporated role accumulation theory to test direct and indirect effects of stressors, coping behaviors, and role responsibilities on health functioning. Results indicated that demands emerging from financial strain were related to compromised mental health and decreases in mothers' us...
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Prior research demonstrates negative consequences of racism, however, little is known about community, parenting, and intrapersonal mechanisms that protect youth. Using a mixed-methods approach, this study illuminated linkages between positive and negative contextual influences on rural African American adolescent outcomes. Quantitative results pro...
Article
The escape-conditioning model suggests that husbands experience greater physiological arousal during marital conflict than their wives. This greater arousal is hypothesized to lead to withdrawal from conflict in order to lessen the arousal. The present results, based on a U.S. sample of 64 heterosexual couples, found no support for this model. Duri...
Article
This study will address the initial question: Are there ethnic differences in parenting that remain when contextual variables are controlled and are related to culture, focusing on two samples of rural African American families. This study is part of a series of coordinated studies presented in this special issue (Le et al., 2008). Specific attenti...
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Little research has examined the links between role status changes during the transition to adulthood and sexual behaviors that place African Americans at risk for sexually transmitted infections. Moreover, the mediating processes that explain these links, or protective factors that may buffer young adults from risky sexual behavior, are unknown. A...
Article
This study included three waves of data, collected from approximately 890 African-American children and their families. Antecedents and consequences of psychiatric disorders among this population were examined. Children’s temperament, pubertal timing, and experience of stressful life events were tested as antecedents of psychiatric disorders. Sever...
Article
This investigation of the effects of stressful life events on rural African American women's relationship well-being, psychological functioning, and parenting included 361 married or long-term cohabiting women. Associations among stressful events, socioeconomic status, perceived racial discrimination, coping strategies, psychological functioning, r...
Article
Partner sensitivity is an important antecedent of both intimacy (H. T. Reis & P. Shaver, 1988) and attachment (M. D. S. Ainsworth, 1989). On the basis of the optimal matching model of social support (C. E. Cutrona & D. Russell, 1990), support behaviors that "matched" the support goals of the stressed individual were predicted to lead to the percept...
Article
To examine substance use differences among African-American adolescents living in rural and more urban areas in Iowa and Georgia and factors thought to be related to those differences. Specifically, negative affect and perceived availability were examined as mediators of the relation between community size and alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. In-hom...
Article
A critical period hypothesis linking early experiences with both racial discrimination and conduct disorder (CD) with subsequent drug use was examined in a panel of 889 African American adolescents (age 10.5 at time 1) and their parents. Analyses indicated that these early experiences did predict use by the adolescents at time 3 (T3)-5 years later....
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Studies consistently show sex differences in married couples' use of demand and withdraw behavior. The social structure hypothesis proposes that these differences are the result of power differentials between spouses. This study examined the link between 3 aspects of marital power and demanding and withdrawal behavior. Contrary to social structure...
Article
The prospective effects of observed neighborhood disorder, stressful life events, and parents' engagement in inductive reasoning on adolescents' depressive symptoms were examined using data collected from 777 African American families. Multilevel analyses revealed that stressful life events experienced at age 11 predicted depressive symptoms at age...
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Studies have shown that exposure to discrimination increases the probability that African American adolescents will engage in delinquent behavior, especially acts of violence. The present study extended this research by examining the extent to which supportive parenting buffers a youth from these deleterious consequences of discrimination. Analyses...
Article
Using 2 waves of longitudinal data collected from approximately 870 African American adolescents, this study examined (a) changes in early risk factors for substance use during transition to early adolescence, including perceived prototypes of substance-using peers, willingness and intention to use substances, number of substance-using peers, and y...
Article
Neighborhoods with poor-quality housing, few resources, and unsafe conditions impose stress, which can lead to depression. The stress imposed by adverse neighborhoods increases depression above and beyond the effects of the individual's own personal stressors, such as poverty and negative events within the family or work-place. Furthermore, adverse...
Article
Longitudinal links between perceived racial discrimination and later conduct problems and depressive symptoms were examined among 714 African American adolescents who were 10-12 years old at recruitment. Data were gathered 3 times over a 5-year period. Hypotheses were tested via latent curve modeling and multiple-group latent growth modeling. Incre...
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This article uses a sample of 867 African American households to investigate differences in parenting practices and child outcomes by type of household. Results indicate that mothers provide similar levels of parenting regardless of family structure. Secondary caregivers, however, show a great deal of variation in quality of parenting. Fathers and...
Article
In this paper, we develop and test hypotheses on how authoritative parenting and collective efficacy combine to increase a child's risk of affiliating with deviant peers and engaging in delinquent behavior. Analyses using two waves of data from a sample of several hundred African American caregivers and their children largely supported the predicti...
Article
Ecological theory was used to explore the pathways through which intimate relationship quality influenced health functioning among rural, partnered African American women. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze data from 349 women in Georgia and Iowa. Women's intimate relationship quality was positively associated with their psychological...
Article
The influence of extraversion and negative affectivity on support interactions among married couples was examined. One hundred married couples were observed in two 10-minute interactions that were designed to elicit supportive behaviors. Extraverted support providers gave more support to their spouse than did introverts. Reciprocity in the exchange...
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The authors tested neighborhood context, negative life events, and negative affectivity as predictors of the onset of major depression among 720 African American women. Neighborhood-level economic disadvantage (e.g., percentage of residents below the poverty line) and social disorder (e.g., delinquency, drug use) predicted the onset of major depres...
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Full-text available
The authors tested neighborhood context, negative life events, and negative affectivity as predictors of the onset of major depression among 720 African American women. Neighborhood-level economic disadvantage (e.g., percentage of residents below the poverty line) and social disorder (e.g., delinquency, drug use) predicted the onset of major depres...
Article
This study focuses on the links between social contexts and normative family patterns to identify factors at the societal, community, family, and individual levels that enhance African Americans' ability to overcome stressful life events and foster positive family relationships. The Mundane Extreme Environmental Stress Model was used to explore the...
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Functional changes in rural African American single-mother-headed families after the implementation of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families were explored from an ecological risk–protection perspective. The sample included 96 single mothers who received government assistance and their 10- or 11-year-old children. Links among maternal employment s...