Stephanie Wilson

Stephanie Wilson
Southern Methodist University | SMU · Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

67
Publications
3,601
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794
Citations
Citations since 2017
56 Research Items
681 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150
2017201820192020202120222023050100150

Publications

Publications (67)
Article
Background: Couples' emotions and physiology change across interactions and based on behaviors. Aging couples' emotions and physiology may be closely related as they spend more time together and rely on each other for support. We examined aging couples' emotional and physiological associations across multiple indices and marital interactions; we a...
Article
Full-text available
Reactivity to marital conflict has long been considered a critical mechanism linking marriage to health and well-being. Yet, developmental theories suggest conflict may subside with age. To compare mood and cardiovascular responses to two novel contexts—both partners’ upsetting personal experiences—with marital conflict reactivity, 107 couples ages...
Article
Full-text available
Marital conflict poses health risks that intensify as couples grow older. Dyadic stress theories suggest spouses’ marital satisfaction and communication patterns alter cardiovascular function, a key pathway from troubled relationships to poor health. Despite these risks, older spouses are more likely to have a strong couple identity where they thin...
Article
Objective: Conflict poses multiple relational and health risks. Dyadic stress theories suggest satisfaction and communication alter cardiovascular and autonomic function, key pathways from troubled relationships to poor health. However, "we-talk," a positive communication pattern, can strengthen relationships and promote health. We examined how ea...
Article
As dyadic health science enters a golden age, important conceptual, theoretical, and technical challenges remain. This forum brings together perspectives on the burgeoning dyadic literature from several subdisciplines within aging research. We first define key concepts and terms so that interested researchers can navigate the complex and various wa...
Article
The current study examined couple-level profiles to reveal systematic patterns of health and well-being in older couples. Using latent profile analysis, dyadic profiles were constructed in a national sample of 535 older, different-sex couples based on couples’ marital quality, psychological well-being, and physical health. Results revealed 4 distin...
Article
Marital discord fuels depression, according to decades of research. Most prior studies in this area have focused on macro-longitudinal change in depression over the course of years, and on global ratings of marital satisfaction. Less work has examined fluctuations in depressed mood and marital discord in daily life, and none has investigated associ...
Article
Objectives: Social-emotional well-being is said to improve over adulthood, and studies of couples' age differences have focused primarily on marital conflict. The way couples discuss their relationship story predicts marital quality among newlyweds and long-married couples alike, yet older and younger couples' accounts have never been compared. Th...
Article
Full-text available
Older adults age in the context of their intimate partnerships. Partners’ lives—their emotions, behaviors, and health—are intricately linked as they navigate the challenges associated with aging. This symposium presents research that illuminates ways partners influence one another later in life. The talks are diverse with regard to their timescale...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Marital quality shares ties to inflammation-related conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Lab-based studies implicate hostility during marital conflict as a mechanism via inflammatory reactivity. However, developmental theories suggest that conflict declines with age. Spousal distress is an important but overlooked context for aging...
Article
Full-text available
The present study explored the heterogeneity of older couples’ psychological, relational, and physical health using a sample of 535 couples above the age of 62. A dyadic latent profile analysis was conducted to identify and predict unique clusters of couples’ relative psychological (depressive symptoms and daily hassles), relational (problematic af...
Article
Full-text available
Older adults face heightened risks for loneliness due to social isolation. Low-quality relationships also fuel loneliness. Because living arrangements and family norms differ between countries, cultural differences may arise in the stress of isolation, loneliness, and difficult relationships. To examine social stress profiles in the US and Mexico,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Aging theories posit that older adults maximize their well-being by regulating their emotions and investing in their closest relationships. Most research has examined these mechanisms using study confederates rather than close dyads. The existing work on couples has focused on marital conflict; none has examined responses to the spouse’s emotional...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Aging theories posit that older adults maximize their well-being by regulating their emotions and investing in their closest relationships. Most research has examined these mechanisms using study confederates rather than close dyads. The existing work on couples has focused on marital conflict; none has examined responses to the spouse’s emotional...
Article
Extensive evidence shows that satisfying marriages boost physical health and longevity. A separate literature reveals strong concordance in couples’ health, but the relationship processes that contribute to health concordance remain poorly understood. The current study examined whether relationship satisfaction and joint health behaviors—the exten...
Article
According to extensive evidence, we-talk—couples’ use of first-person, plural pronouns—predicts better relationship quality and well-being. However, prior work has not distinguished we-talk by its context, which varies widely across studies. Also, little is known about we-talk’s consistency over time. To assess the stability and correlates of we-ta...
Article
The gut microbiota plays a role in a wide range of diseases and disorders, with low microbial diversity and richness emerging as notable risk factors. This longitudinal study addressed the impact of marital quality (assessed by the Couples Satisfaction Index) on changes in depressive symptoms, and gut diversity, richness, and permeability. On two o...
Article
Objectives Although the adverse link between rumination and sleep quality is well established, much of the literature neglects the role of social factors. This study examined the role of older adults’ perceived social support from spouses and from family/friends in modifying the association between trait rumination and sleep quality. Existing hypot...
Article
Full-text available
This symposium will examine positive and negative aspects of older adults’ relationships and their impacts on health and well-being. We will begin by reviewing the past decade of research on family gerontology. Seidel’s meta-analysis of 995 articles will identify prominent theories and methods, as well as remaining research gaps. The subsequent pre...
Article
Full-text available
Social-emotional well-being is said to improve with age, but evidence for age differences in couples’ behavior and emotions—studied primarily during marital conflict—has been mixed. Characteristics of jointly told relationship stories predict marital quality among newlyweds and long-married couples alike, yet younger and older couples’ accounts hav...
Article
Full-text available
Rumination is a maladaptive coping strategy that gives rise to and sustains stress. Individuals who ruminate more, therefore, tend to sleep more poorly. Studies of rumination and sleep often neglect the role of social context. Social support may buffer the degree to which rumination predicts poorer sleep quality. Further, individuals with more supp...
Article
Full-text available
The health support and control literature in same sex couples suggests partners take turns (known as health behavior work). However, research has not accounted for mixed-weight (lighter partner (LP) and heavier partner (HP)) status in these relationships nor investigated domain-specific health behavior work (i.e., dietary habits) on outcomes. We ex...
Article
Full-text available
A robust body of literature has found birdirectional associations between sleep quality and marital quality in couple relationships (Hasler & Troxel, 2010; Pearlin, 2010). Additionally, dyadic research shows that differences in couples’ bed time routines and habits is associated with mental health outcomes (Chen, 2018), however the literature has n...
Article
Full-text available
Satisfying marriages pose benefits and possible risks to health. Indeed, high-quality relationships boost emotional resources and encourage healthy behaviors. However, stress and its adverse health effects also spread more easily in close relationships. To examine the relevance of joint health behaviors for health indicators and partners’ health si...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
According to socioemotional aging theories, people better regulate their emotions in older age by reframing stressors and focusing on the positive aspects of difficult experiences. However, empirical results have been mixed. To address this gap, we examined age differences in the language use and cardiovascular reactivity of 188 adults (mean age=56...
Article
Background Prior studies have examined how individuals may undermine their partner’s efforts to maintain a healthy diet, but gay couples have not been represented in this work. Additionally, research has not accounted for mixed-weight status [lighter partner (LP) and heavier partner] nor investigated the mechanisms through which undermining is asso...
Article
Objective Cross-sectional data have linked gut barrier abnormalities and endotoxemia with depression, even among those without gastrointestinal symptoms. This study examined longitudinal associations between endotoxemia markers and depressive symptoms, as well as the role of inflammation in this relationship. Design At three annual visits, 315 wom...
Article
Spouses share common risks for cardiometabolic diseases: a person’s diabetes or hypertension raises the partner’s odds of developing the same condition. The mechanisms responsible for this disease concordance remain poorly understood. To examine three factors that may modulate partners’ cardiometabolic similarity—closeness, hostile marital behavior...
Article
Losing a spouse can increase the risk for premature mortality, and declines in immune health are thought to play a role. Most of the supporting data have come from cross-sectional studies comparing already-bereaved individuals to matched controls, which provides valuable information about health disparities between groups but does not reveal health...
Article
Full-text available
Spouses share age-related disease risks: a person’s diabetes or hypertension raises the partner’s odds for the same condition. To probe the importance of partners’ closeness, marital satisfaction, and age for spouses’ similarity in cardiometabolic health, 43 disease-free couples ages 24-61 provided fasting glucose, fat and carbohydrate oxidation, a...
Article
Full-text available
Rumination, the act of dwelling on negative, unwanted thoughts, can stoke depression and disrupt sleep, both of which may threaten older adults’ well-being. In line with a support buffering hypothesis, a previous study of younger and middle-aged adults found that social support mitigated the positive association between rumination and negative mood...
Article
Objectives: Seminal research with spouses of chronic pain patients indicates that providing patients with instrumental support can be either costly or beneficial for spouses' well-being. Drawing from the invisible support literature, this study evaluated the extent to which patients' recognition of spouses' support moderated daily and long-term as...
Article
Objectives: Marital support is central to couples' relationships, yet support's health implications can vary widely. Guided by attribution bias and aging theories, the current study examined whether age and marital satisfaction moderate the links of perceived and received spousal support to aging-related biomarkers. Method: Couples (N=93, ages 2...
Article
The Western diet, characterized by high intake of saturated fat, sugar, and salt, is associated with elevated inflammation and chronic disease risk. Few studies have investigated molecular mechanisms linking diet and inflammation; however, a small number of randomized controlled trials suggest that consuming an anti-inflammatory diet (i.e., a prima...
Conference Paper
Background: Growing evidence implicates intestinal permeability as a source of inflammation. Depression promotes inflammation, which can erode the gut barrier – a top-down pathway. In turn, greater intestinal permeability (i.e., leaky gut) provokes inflammation, thereby heightening risk for depression – a bottom-up pathway. Methods: The current st...
Article
Background Prior to treatment, breast cancer patients are less physically fit compared to peers; during cancer treatment, their fitness typically declines. Depressive symptoms are associated with reduced activity up to 5 years post-treatment, but research has not identified mechanisms linking depression and lower activity. The current study assesse...
Conference Paper
Lonely people’s heightened risks for chronic health conditions and early mortality may emerge in part through cellular aging. Lonelier people have more severe responses to acute stress, increasing their risk for herpesvirus reactivation, a possible path to shorter telomeres. Lower parasympathetic activity may modulate this risk. To examine the asso...
Article
Social-emotional aging theories suggest that older adults maintain well-being and health in part by avoiding interpersonal stressors; yet, most marital research has examined age differences during conflict. Alternatively, marital support is likely relevant for couples of all ages. To address differences in support-health associations by age and mar...
Article
Invisible support can benefit recipients’ well-being, according to studies of young adults coping with acute stressors. Little research has examined the impact of invisible support on support providers. To characterize the day-to-day effects of invisible support on support providers’ and recipients’ mood among older couples facing chronic pain, we...
Article
Introduction: Spousal caregivers face increased cardiovascular risks; lab studies suggest that autonomic reactivity to patients' physical suffering may play a role. To evaluate this mechanism in daily life, our pilot study characterized the feasibility of recruiting couples for a multimethod, in-home assessment. We examined the usability of the re...
Article
Background and objectives: Stress can trigger physical pain and disturb sleep. Whether dementia family caregivers experience heightened pain is unknown. Cycles of unwanted thoughts about caregiving stressors and avoidance of these thoughts-that is, caregiving-related distress-may exacerbate both pain and sleep disturbances, and genetic susceptibil...
Article
Couples influence each other's mental and physical health. This review focuses on how couples' relationships, the partners' individual and joint vulnerabilities, and their health behaviors influence health through changes in the gut microbiota, metabolism, and immune function. Couples' shared stressors and emotions and their intertwined lifestyles...
Article
Background Lonely people’s heightened risks for chronic health conditions and early mortality may emerge in part through cellular aging. Lonelier people have more severe sympathetic responses to acute stress, increasing their risk for herpesvirus reactivation, a possible path to shorter telomeres. Parasympathetic function may modulate this risk. P...
Article
Background: Marital distress and depression work in tandem to escalate risks for inflammation-related disorders. Translocation of bacterial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) from the gut microbiota to blood circulation stimulates systemic inflammatory responses. Methods: To investigate increased gut permeability (a "leaky gut") as one potentia...
Article
Objective: This study investigated associations between couples' interpersonal behavior, depressive symptoms, and relationship distress over the course of couple psychotherapy. Method: After every other session of Integrative Systemic Therapy (M = 13 sessions), N = 100 individuals within 50 couples rated their in-session affiliation and autonomy...
Article
Hostile conflict in marriage can increase risks for disease and mortality. Physiological synchrony between partners-e.g., the linkage between their autonomic fluctuations-appears to capture engagement, or an inability to disengage from an exchange, and thus may amplify the health risks of noxious interactions such as marital conflict. Prior work ha...
Article
Chronic pain is a common stressor in couples’ daily lives, but little is known about couples’ day-to-day pain concordance (i.e., agreement regarding one partner’s level of pain) and its relevance to both partners’ daily marital interaction quality. Using 22-day diaries of patients diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis (OA) and their spouses, the curre...
Poster
Cancer-related distress is common among breast cancer survivors prior to treatment and is associated with adverse health effects. Moreover, many survivors continue to experience distress after treatment ends, and the impact of prolonged cancer-related distress on health is unknown. The aim of the current study was to investigate the effects of canc...
Article
An unhappy marriage increases disease and mortality risks. Discordant couples exhibit stronger links to their partner’s autonomic fluctuations–that is, stronger covariation–than do satisfied couples, but whether this physiological signature plays a role in marriage’s health effects is unknown. To examine associations between couples’ heart rate var...
Article
Thoughts and emotions following marital conflict have received little attention but almost certainly contribute to marriage’s long-term health effects. Consistent with emotion theories of aging, we expected the effects of post-conflict thoughts on important neuroendocrine and immune outcomes, cortisol levels and full-thickness wound healing, to dif...
Article
Everyday interpersonal experiences may underlie the well-established link between close relationships and physical health, but multiple-timescale designs necessary for strong conclusions about temporal sequence are rarely used. The current study of 145 patients with knee osteoarthritis and their spouses focused on a novel pattern in everyday intera...
Article
This review highlights recent advances in research addressing intimate partner relationships and health. Consideration of the strong mutual influences that the members of a couple have on each other's mental and physical health trajectories provides a new way to view the health implications of couples' convergence or interdependence; marital closen...
Article
Sleep problems can boost inflammation and may jeopardize interpersonal functioning, risks that may be magnified in couples. This observational study examined the effects of self-reported recent sleep duration on couples’ inflammation, inflammatory responses to a problem discussion, interpersonal behavior, and use of emotion regulation strategies (e...
Article
A meta-analysis published in this issue of Psychosomatic Medicine provides convincing evidence that certain psychiatric populations have shorter telomeres than nonpsychiatric controls, in accord with the strong evidence linking psychiatric disorders with premature mortality. After addressing the clinical significance of shorter telomeres, this edit...
Article
Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee is a common and increasingly prevalent condition that is one of the primary causes of chronic pain. Staying physically active protects against disability from knee OA but is also very challenging. A critical but unexamined question is whether patients at greatest risk for becoming less active are those with a genetic...
Chapter
Support provided by spouses in the context of physical health conditions is important for maintaining health and well-being in adulthood. Spousal support has been examined in a variety of ways including whether one has a spousal relationship or not, the perceived availability of support, and the amount, type, and quality of support received in the...
Article
Shared possible selves are associated with better well-being in couples through their engagement in and enjoyment of collaboration (Schindler, Berg, Butler, Fortenberry, & Wiebe, 2010). The present study sought to address which partner's other-focus accounted for this sharedness in possible selves and how the individual and dyadic configurations of...
Article
Background: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and brain tumor (BT) survivors are at risk for post-treatment IQ declines. The extent to which lower scores represent global cognitive decline versus domain-specific impairment remains unclear. This study examined discrepancies between processing speed and estimated IQ (EIQ) scores and identified clin...
Article
The current study applied a model of pain communication [10] to examine the distinction between verbal and nonverbal pain expression in their prediction of punishing, empathic, and solicitous spouse responses to patient pain. It was hypothesized that on days when patients engaged in more nonverbal expression spouses would respond more positively (i...
Article
To describe the psychological needs of adolescent survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or brain tumor (BT), we examined the following: (i) the occurrence of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional concerns identified during a comprehensive psychological evaluation and (ii) the frequency of referrals for psychological follow-up services to a...
Article
Post-treatment attention problems experienced by pediatric cancer survivors have been described as similar to symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) experienced in physically healthy children. Accordingly, the objectives of this study were to: (a) estimate the rate of occurrence of ADHD and secondary ADHD (SADHD) in a sample of...
Article
Full-text available
The present study examines behavioral and psychosocial factors associated with smoking intentions and experimentation among adolescent survivors of pediatric cancer. Adolescent survivors of brain tumor and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (n  =  99) provided information about their smoking histories and their intentions to smoke in the future. Behavior...

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This daily diary study of 152 older adults with knee osteoarthritis and their spouses focuses on spouses’ daily behaviors (e.g., empathic responses, autonomy support, and solicitousness). Our overall goal is to examine the effects of daily positive and negative spousal behaviors on patient functioning (pain, mood, sleep, physical activity) and whether daily illness cognitions (i.e., self-efficacy, catastrophizing) explain these effects. Patients and spouses were assessed three times per day using electronic diaries while also wearing accelerometers to measure daytime physical activity. We are also exploring the impact of gender on dyadic processes.