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Energized by love: Thinking about romantic relationships increases positive affect and blood glucose levels

Authors

  • Sarah C. E. Stanton,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
    • Address correspondence to: Sarah C. E. Stanton, Department of Psychology, Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 5C2, Canada. E-mail: sstanto4@uwo.ca

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  • Lorne Campbell,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • Timothy J. Loving

    1. Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
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  • Sarah C. E. Stanton conducted this research in partial fulfillment of her Master's thesis requirements at the University of Western Ontario. This research was partially supported by a grant to Lorne Campbell from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada.

Abstract

We assessed the impact of thinking of a current romantic partner on acute blood glucose responses and positive affect over a short period of time. Participants in romantic relationships were randomly assigned to reflect on their partner, an opposite-sex friend, or their morning routine. Blood glucose levels were assessed prior to reflection, as well as at 10 and 25 min postreflection. Results revealed that individuals in the routine and friend conditions exhibited a decline in glucose over time, whereas individuals in the partner condition did not exhibit this decline (rather, a slight increase) in glucose over time. Reported positive affect following reflection was positively associated with increases in glucose, but only for individuals who reflected on their partner, suggesting this physiological response reflects eustress. These findings add to the literature on eustress in relationships and have implications for relationship processes.

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