Rundle and colleagues have been developing a series of projects studying how health and health behaviors are transmitted between members of married and domestic partnered couples. The first in a series of papers on this topic, “Hey Mr. Sandman: dyadic effects of anxiety, depressive symptoms and sleep among married couples.” was recently published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. The paper shows that husbands’ anxiety and depressive symptoms predicted a slight increase in their wife’s anxiety and depressive symptoms 1 year later. However, wives’ depressive symptoms or anxiety did not affect their husband’s mental health a year later. Furthermore, for both wives and husbands, higher levels of anxiety predicted shorter sleep duration for their partner 1 year later. For depression, symptoms among men were associated with shorter sleep duration among wives a year later, while depression symptoms among women were not associated their husband’s sleep duration a year later.
Ongoing work is assessing the extent to which weight change over a year in one spousal or domestic partner is associated with weight change in the other partner, and similarly how changes in blood pressure and blood lipid profiles over a year track within partners.