Theodore F. Robles's research while affiliated with University of California, Los Angeles and other places

Publications (93)

Article
Full-text available
Background Outdoor air pollution, including ozone (O 3 ) pollution, and childhood family environments may interact and impact asthma exacerbations in children. Previous epidemiology studies have primarily focused on stress in the home, rather than support, and whether psychosocial factors modify the association between pollution and health outcomes...
Article
Full-text available
Although many emerging adults feel lonely and struggle to gain status during the college transition, it remains unclear whether certain personality traits facilitate this transition. Using a longitudinal design, we investigated whether status‐related traits—namely, entitlement, intrasexual competitiveness, and dominance—related to the development o...
Article
Full-text available
Hierarchies naturally emerge in social species, and judgments of status in these hierarchies have consequences for social relationships and health. Although judgments of social status are shaped by appearance, the physical cues that inform judgments of status remain unclear. The transition to college presents an opportunity to examine judgments of...
Article
Background Research suggests four modal trajectories of psychological symptoms after traumatic injury: Resilient, Chronic, Delayed Onset, Recovery. However, most studies focus on symptoms of psychiatric disorders (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder, depression), which are limited by heterogeneity and symptom overlap. We examined trajectories of cr...
Article
This entry reviews key theory and evidence of social influences on stress‐related neuroendocrine activity, with a focus on the autonomic nervous system and hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, and activity during basal conditions in response to challenges like laboratory stressors. We review evidence linking positive aspects of social relationships...
Article
A child's social relationships serve critical functions during development. The interface between a child's social world and their immune system, particularly innate immunity, which helped children survive in the face of infections, nutritional scarcity, and violence throughout human history, is the focus of this Annual Research Review. This articl...
Article
Full-text available
Chronic stress can accelerate biological aging, offering one mechanism through which stress may increase age-related disease risk. Chronic activation of the sympathoadrenal system increases cellular energy production, resulting in cell stress that can initiate cellular senescence, a permanent state of cell growth arrest. Our previous research linke...
Article
Objective: Both lower subjective social status (SSS)—or viewing oneself as having lower status relative to others—and greater early life stress consistently relate to poorer health in adolescence. Early life stress can also negatively influence one’s social relationships and may thereby shape social status. The present studies investigated how earl...
Article
The mental health toll of common school problems that many children encounter every day is not well understood. This study examined individual differences in mood reactivity to naturally occurring school problems using daily diaries, and assessed their prospective associations with youth mental health, three years later. At baseline, 47 children ag...
Chapter
The study of immune and inflammatory markers in saliva has gained increased attention in recent years with the advancements in assay technology and a heightened focus on cross-systems biology and psychoneuroimmunology. Salivary immune markers are important for the study of both oral and systemic health. Salivary inflammation, in particular, has bee...
Article
Objectives: Beliefs about aging can contribute to health and well-being in older adults. Feeling generative, or that one is caring for and contributing to the well-being of others, can also impact health and well-being. In this study, we hypothesized that those with more positive expectations regarding aging (ERA) in the mental health domain would...
Article
Generativity, or concern for and contribution to the well-being of younger generations, plays an important role in successful aging. The purpose of this study was to develop a novel, writing-based intervention to increase feelings of generativity and test the effect of this intervention on well-being and inflammation in a sample of older women. Par...
Article
Background: Early life stress (ELS) has been linked to health disparities across the human lifespan, particularly increased risk for depression and its recurrence. In this study we explore two plausible and competing pathways through which ELS may lead to depression via inflammation. Methods: Participants (ages 18-22; n = 41) completed the Early...
Article
It is imperative that research interrogating the biological pathways linking stress processes to health continue to translate the results of basic, preclinical experimental research to diverse and under-represented populations, particularly those at elevated risk for morbidity and mortality. Conducting research within these populations and in commu...
Article
Increases in inflammation have been linked to meaningful changes in mood and behavior. Individuals exposed to ELS may be particularly vulnerable to the behavioral effects of inflammation. In the present study, participants reported on exposure to early life stress via the Early Trauma Inventory (ETI). Participants then completed a daily mood diary...
Chapter
This chapter highlights developments in using intensive repeated measures of family environments through daily diaries to shed light on neuroendocrine and immune processes linking family functioning and health. I review data from the UCLA Families and Health Study, which included a 2-month daily diary, 8 days of diurnal cortisol sampling, and blood...
Article
Previous research has linked exposure to adverse social conditions with DNA damage and accelerated telomere shortening, raising the possibility that chronic stress may impact biological aging pathways, ultimately increasing risk for age-related diseases. Less clear, however, is whether these stress-related effects extend to additional hallmarks of...
Poster
Previous research has linked exposure to adverse social conditions such as chronic stress with DNA damage and accelerated telomere shortening, raising the possibility that psychological stress may impact biological aging pathways, ultimately increasing risk for age-related diseases. Less clear, however, is whether this leads to cell growth arrest a...
Article
Background: Alterations in reward processing are a central feature of depression and may be influenced by inflammation. Indeed, inflammation is associated with deficits in reward-related processes in animal models and with dysregulation in reward-related neural circuitry in humans. However, the downstream behavioral manifestations of such impairme...
Article
Full-text available
Expressing emotions is a common strategy for coping with stress. Yet, little is known about the effects of using this strategy in close relationships, or when and for whom emotional expression is effective. This study examined romantic partner responsiveness and the dispositional tendency to use emotional approach coping (EAC; the processing and ex...
Article
A wealth of evidence has implicated inflammation in the development of depression. Yet, the heterogeneous nature of depression has impeded efforts to understand, prevent, and treat the disease. The purpose of this integrative review is to summarize the connections between inflammation and established core features of depression that exhibit more ho...
Article
Effective regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis) has been linked to numerous health outcomes. Within-person variation in diurnal measures of HPA-axis regulation assessed over days, months, and years can range between 50–73% of total variation. In this study of 59 youth (ages 8–13), we quantified the stability of the cortis...
Article
Full-text available
Existing research on childhood adversity and health risk across the lifespan lacks specificity regarding which types of exposures to assess and when. The purpose of this study was to contribute to an empirically-supported framework to guide practitioners interested in identifying youth who may be at greatest risk for a lifelong trajectory of health...
Article
Interparental conflict is a common source of psychosocial stress in the lives of children. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between recent interparental conflict and one component of the physiological stress response system, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis. Parents of 42 children (ages 8–13 years) completed dai...
Article
Background: Inflammation plays a role in mood and behavior that may be relevant to identifying risk factors and treatment for depression and other stress-related illnesses. The purpose of this study was to examine whether fluctuations in inflammation following a mild immune stimulus were associated with changes in daily reported features of depres...
Article
Alterations in reward processing are a central feature of depression and may be influenced by inflammation. Indeed, elevated inflammation is associated with dysregulation in reward-related neural circuitry. However, the downstream behavioral manifestations of such impairments are rarely examined in humans. In this study, 42 healthy young adults (ag...
Article
A robust body of scientific evidence has indicated that being embedded in high-quality close relationships and feeling socially connected to the people in one's life is associated with decreased risk for all-cause mortality as well as a range of disease morbidities. Despite mounting evidence that the magnitude of these associations is comparable to...
Article
Objective Digital media is becoming integral to social communication, yet few studies have explored how documented cultural differences in social relationships transfer into digital contexts. The current study examined how cultural values moderate psychological and physiological responses to social support across media contexts among young-adult wo...
Article
High conflict and low warmth in families may contribute to immune cells developing a tendency to respond to threats with exaggerated inflammation that is insensitive to inhibitory signaling. We tested associations between family environments and expression of genes bearing response elements for transcription factors that regulate inflammation: nucl...
Article
This study examined the within-and between-person associations between daily negative events − peer problems, academic problems and interparental conflict − and diurnal cortisol in school-age children. Salivary cortisol levels were assessed four times per day (at wakeup, 30 minutes later, just before dinner and at bedtime) on eight days in 47 youth...
Article
High-quality relationships have been shown to be beneficial for physical and mental health. This study examined overall relationship satisfaction and perceived stress as well as daily reports of partner support, partner conflict, and physical intimacy obtained over the course of one week in a sample of 129 high and low stress mothers. Telomere leng...
Article
This study examined how academic and peer problems at school are linked to family interactions at home on the same day, using eight consecutive weeks of daily diary data collected from early adolescents (60% female; M age = 11.28, SD = 1.50), mothers and fathers in 47 families. On days when children reported more academic problems at school, they,...
Article
Full-text available
Stressful, busy days have been linked with increases in angry and withdrawn marital behavior. The process by which stressors in 1 domain, such as work, affect an individual’s behavior in another domain, such as the marital relationship, is known as spillover. Using 56 days of daily diary reports in a diverse sample of 47 wives and 39 husbands, this...
Article
Objectives: Negative perceptions of aging can be self-fulfilling prophecies, predicting worse cognitive and physical outcomes. Although older adults are portrayed as either lonely curmudgeons or perfect grandparents, little research addresses how perceptions of aging relate to social outcomes. We considered whether more positive expectations about...
Article
Exposure to family stressors that are an ordinary part of daily life is essential for healthy development. Most children show a “positive” response when stressful events provoke mild or moderately intense levels of emotional arousal and provide opportunities for recovery. Through processes of habituation and practice, responding to these types of s...
Article
Full-text available
Methodological challenges associated with measurement reactivity and fatigue were addressed using diary data collected from mothers (n = 47), fathers (n = 39), and children (n = 47; 8-13 years) across 56 consecutive days. Demonstrating the feasibility of extended diary studies with families, on-time compliance rates were upward of 90% for all famil...
Article
Conflict with a spouse or child may generate spillover, defined as short-term affective changes in parents that affect their behavior with other family members. In a diverse sample of 86 parents, this 56-day diary study examined daily bidirectional spillover between conflict in the marital or parent-child dyad and parents' irritable, frictional beh...
Article
Full-text available
Utilizing data from an eHarmony.com relationship questionnaire completed by new users (N = 5,434), this study identifies prioritized goals in new romantic relationships and whether importance of these goals differs by participants' age and gender. Overall, users valued interpersonal communication more than sex appeal. Older users rated sexual attra...
Chapter
Older adults make up a larger proportion of the population and are living longer than in any time in previous history, which has important implications for their social relationships. This essay reviews key theory and research on changes in social networks over the lifespan, the benefits (and costs) of social relationships for physical health, and...
Article
Being in a happy marriage is related to better psychological and physical health. This paper describes current approaches to conceptualizing and measuring marital quality and physical health, and results from a recent meta-analysis examining associations between marital quality and physical health outcomes. To illustrate the practical significance...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: An emerging literature provides evidence for the association between romantic relationship quality and sleep, an important factor in health and well-being. However, we still know very little about the specific relationship processes that affect sleep behavior. Therefore, the goal of this study was to examine how self-disclosure, an impo...
Article
Full-text available
This meta-analysis reviewed 126 published empirical articles over the past 50 years describing associations between marital relationship quality and physical health in more than 72,000 individuals. Health outcomes included clinical endpoints (objective assessments of function, disease severity, and mortality; subjective health assessments) and surr...
Article
Prompted by the discordance between a standardized salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) biosensor applied in clinical settings and a reference laboratory analyzer, we examined the impact of the saliva sampling method on the analytic performance of the biosensor. Direct mouth readings using the biosensor from 31 normal, healthy volunteers were compared to b...
Article
Attachment theory provides a conceptual framework for understanding intersections between personality and close relationships in adulthood. Moreover, attachment has implications for stress-related physiology and physical health. We review work on normative processes and individual differences in the attachment behavioral system, and their associati...
Article
Despite well documented links between family functioning and long-term physical health problems, prior studies using cross-sectional, laboratory, or traditional longitudinal designs are limited in their ability to address everyday family encounters, emotions, biological processes, and physical health. Here, we describe our ongoing study of family s...
Chapter
Researchers in the field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) study the intricate multifaceted relationship between changes in the nervous system that accompany psychological states and corresponding changes in immune system function, in the context of health and disease. This chapter outlines the physiological basis for the bidirectional relationships b...
Article
To evaluate the clinical utility of a salivary α-amylase (sAA) biosensor for assessing oral surgery-related stress responses and the differential effect of the personality trait of pain catastrophizing. A prospective cohort study was conducted in 76 healthy subjects who underwent elective removal of their third molars. Along with subjects' self-rep...
Article
This study examined the relationship between individual differences in adult attachment and skin barrier recovery. Dating couples (N=34) completed a self-report measure of attachment anxiety and avoidance, and during two separate laboratory visits, normal skin barrier function was disrupted using a tape-stripping procedure, followed by a 20min disc...
Article
We study parenting within the context of the family—its natural environment—using direct observations and repeated sampling, to describe the real-time unfolding of situations and responses to them. Longitudinal studies attempt to model the long-term impact that different styles of parenting have on the psychological and physical development of offs...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Early life family conflict is associated with physical health problems later in life, but little is known about the biological pathways through which conflict at home exerts it deleterious effects on health. The goal of this study was to investigate the associations between naturalistically assessed conflict in everyday family environmen...
Article
For most adults, marriage is a key social relationship that provides economic, social, psychological, and health benefits. At the same time, low marital quality and high conflict have detrimental effects on health. This chapter reviews evidence for immune mechanisms that may explain how marital functioning influences health. Poor marital functionin...
Article
Full-text available
The concepts of allostatic load and allostatic processes can help psychologists understand how health trajectories are influenced by stressful childhood experiences in the family. This paper describes psychological pathways and two key allostatic mediators, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the immune system, through which stressful early...
Article
Research on psychological influences on physiology primarily focuses on biological responses during stressful challenges, and how those responses can become dysregulated with prolonged or repeated exposure to stressful circumstances. At the same time, humans spend considerable time recovering from those challenges, and a host of biological processe...
Article
This study examines the effects of actor and partner attachment security on cortisol responses to discussions of personal and relationship concerns with a romantic partner. Dating couples (N = 30) completed two 20-min discussions and provided saliva samples at 4 time points before and after. Hierarchical linear modeling revealed that among women, h...
Article
The translation of salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) to the ambulatory assessment of stress hinges on the development of technologies capable of speedy and accurate reporting of sAA levels. Here, we describe the developmental validation and usability testing of a point-of-care, colorimetric, sAA biosensor. A disposable test strip allows for streamlined...
Article
Full-text available
To investigate whether worries about work are linked to people's own cortisol levels and their spouses' cortisol levels in everyday life and whether marital factors may moderate these links. Although research has shown that satisfying marriages can buffer the physiological effects of everyday stress, the specific mechanisms through which marriage i...
Article
Recent developments in biosensor technology allow point-of-use reporting of salivary alpha amylase (sAA) levels while approaching the precision and accuracy of conventional laboratory-based testing. We deployed a portable prototype sAA biosensor in 54 healthy, male dental students during a low stress baseline and during final exams. At baseline, pa...
Conference Paper
Salivary correlates of the stress response have become increasingly important in psychoneuroendocrinological research and a growing body of literature supports the utility of salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) levels as an expression of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity. Objective: To develop and refine a portable sAA biosensor and explore its ut...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the role of self-reported trait positive affect (PA) on skin barrier recovery after skin disruption, and whether the role of trait PA in wound healing is consistent with the direct effects model or the stress-buffering model of PA and health. Sixty healthy participants (mean age 22.7 +/- 3.9 years) completed a self-report measur...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioral scientists have increasingly included inflammatory biology as mechanisms in their investigation of psychosocial dynamics on the pathobiology of disease. However, a lack of standardization of inclusion and exclusion criteria and assessment of relevant control variables impacts the interpretation of these studies. The present paper reviews...
Article
Individuals with major depressive disorder show blunted cortisol responses to psychosocial stressors, but the extent to which this pattern of dampened responding characterizes individuals experiencing sub-clinical levels of depressive symptoms is unknown. This study investigated whether self-reports of depressive and anxious symptoms over the previ...
Article
To examine the effect of a brief laboratory stressor and social support before the stressor on cardiovascular and cortisol responses, and skin barrier recovery after skin disruption. Eighty-five healthy participants (mean age 22.9 +/- 4.4 years) underwent a "tape-stripping" procedure that disrupts normal skin barrier function, and were randomly ass...
Article
The majority of adults sleep with a partner, and for a significant proportion of couples, sleep problems and relationship problems co-occur, yet there has been little systematic study of the association between close relationships and sleep. The association between sleep and relationships is likely to be bi-directional and reciprocal-the quality of...
Article
Chronically elevated systemic inflammation has a dramatic impact on health for older individuals. As stress-related responses, both hostility and pain perception may contribute to inflammation which in turn may maintain negative emotion and pain over time. We used structural equation modeling to examine the degree to which trait hostility and pain...
Article
To examine the independent and interactive contribution of positive and negative behaviors during marital conflict to changes in adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol, behavioral and endocrine data were collected from 90 newlywed couples during a 30-minute conflict task. Positive and negative behaviors were coded by the Marital Interactio...
Article
Full-text available
To examine the independent and interactive contribution of positive and negative behaviors during marital conflict to changes in adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol, behavioral and endocrine data were collected from 90 newlywed couples during a 30-minute conflict task. Positive and negative behaviors were coded by the Marital Interactio...
Article
Chronic stress is typically associated with suppression of the immune system, including impaired responses to infectious disease and delayed wound healing. Recent work suggests that stress and depression can enhance production of proinflammatory cytokines, substances that regulate the body's immune response to infection and injury. We provide a bro...
Article
Full-text available
Depression is associated with enhanced production of proinflammatory cytokines that influence a spectrum of conditions associated with aging, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, type 2 diabetes mellitus, certain cancers, periodontal disease, frailty, and functional decline. In this prospective community study, we assessed the...
Article
Marriage is the central relationship for most adults and has beneficial effects for health. At the same time, troubled marriages have negative health consequences. This review outlines the physiological pathways through which marital relationships influence health based on a stress/social support model. In addition, we review recent findings sugges...
Article
This review focuses on human psychoneuroimmunology studies published in the past decade. Issues discussed include the routes through which psychological factors influence immune function, how a stressor's duration may influence the changes observed, individual difference variables, the ability of interventions to modulate immune function, and the h...
Article
Full-text available
In summary, there is substantial evidence from both healthy populations as well as individuals with cancer linking psychological stress with immune dysregulation. Stress may also enhance carcinogenesis through alterations in DNA repair and/or apoptosis [31-33]. In addition, the possibility that psychological interventions may enhance immune functio...
Article
Negative emotions can intensify a variety of health threats. We provide a broad framework relating negative emotions to a range of diseases whose onset and course may be influenced by the immune system; inflammation has been linked to a spectrum of conditions associated with aging, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, type 2 d...
Article
Although psychological modulation of immune function is now a well-established phenomenon, much of the relevant literature has been published within the last decade. This article speculates on future directions for psychoneuroimmunology research, after reviewing the history of the field. This review focuses on human psychoneuroimmunology studies pu...

Citations

... Another study with a sample of 1,707 American youths after hurricane exposure found four PTSS trajectories: low-decreasing (34%), moderate-stable (33%), recovery (23%), and chronic (10%) [13]. Additionally, Sumner et al [14] also reported four trajectories of posttraumatic symptom dimensions (i.e., avoidance, re-experiencing, dysphoric arousal, anxious arousal, numbing, threat, and loss) among Hispanic or Latino traumatic harm survivors (N = 427), namely, chronic (13%-34%), recovery (17%-42%), delayed onset (15%-42%), and resilient (17%-37%) latent classes. Due to varied results in prior studies, more research using LCGM analysis should be conducted to further explore distinct PTSD symptom trajectories after a traumatic event. ...
... Additionally, we found that high childhood unpredictabilityrather than being linked with elevated inflammatory activitywas associated with lower levels of unstimulated inflammation at 2 h post-plating and was unrelated to inflammatory measures taken at any other timepoint. Although this result is inconsistent with previous research finding that greater exposure to chaotic childhood environments is associated with elevated basal inflammation (Crosswell et al., 2014), extant research on the relationship between childhood unpredictability and inflammation is mixed (see e.g., Robles, 2020;Schreier et al., 2014). Together, these results suggest that exposure to childhood harshness (i.e., low childhood SES) may promote the development of exaggerated inflammatory activity, but that exposure to childhood unpredictability may not. ...
... Close relationships are one of the central domains for maintenance of well-being and health across the lifespan (Ryff, 1989;Tobin, Slatcher, & Robles, 2013). An intimate relationship is the most important interpersonal relationships in adulthood. ...
... Aging leads to the accumulation of abnormal protein aggregates and loss of proteostasis. For example, P16 is a biological aging marker (Khatiwala et al. 2018;Patil et al. 2019;Rentscher et al. 2020) that accumulates in the brains of aged humans (Talma et al. 2021). The regulation of proteostasis alters lifespan and modulates neurotoxicity, which indicates that proteostasis may be a novel pharmacological target for the treatment of aging-associated diseases (Yu and Hyun 2021). ...