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Abstract

We summarize the large body of research conducted over the previous 30 years on the link between interpersonal conflict and physiological outcomes, with a focus on implications for health. Specifically, we review evidence that conflict in close, romantic relationships affects internal bodily processes, including cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune function, as well as objective health indicators. We focus on studies that have utilized standardized, laboratory-based conflict discussions, as we believe this methodology provides the clearest picture of how conflict affects health. It is our hope that this general overview serves as a useful introduction to the state of the field.