Emotion, Social Relationships, and Health

By Carol D. Ryff; Burton H. Singer | Go to book overview

5
Elective Affinities and
Uninvited Agonies

Mapping Emotion with
Significant Others onto Health
Carol D. Ryff, Burton H. Singer, Edgar Wing, & Gayle Dienberg Love

Goethe's Elective Affinities, written in 1809, is a love story that celebrates themes of the romantic era: individuality, immediacy, passion. Love itself was hardly a novel topic, given centuries of prior literature and poetry on matters of the heart (see Singer, 1984a, 1984b). What was unique was Goethe's depiction of powerful longing for another in the context of a society characterized by strict marital customs. The novel pulled love out of the romantic haze, so to speak, and brought it into the prosaic routines of the country gentry. It challenged a view of human relationships governed by social convention and, instead, portrayed love selected by the heart; hence, he called his work elective affinities. He did not overlook, however, the complexity, pain, and turmoil that frequently accompany such a passionate response to another. Our phrase, uninvited agonies, draws attention to love's counterpoint and, more generally, to the observation that significant human relationships, lived out over the long term, frequently include a panoply of positive and negative emotions.

The purpose of this chapter is to probe the emotional features, both good and bad, of significant human relationships and to consider their import for human health. We draw on multiple data sources to probe connections among the quality of social relationships and various health outcomes. These include a national survey, which is valuable for assessing population profiles on the positive and negative emotions that are associated with key social relationships. Such survey data elaborate the range of variability in people's evaluations of the quality of their ties to significant others. In addition, the survey findings point to preliminary linkages between the presence of good (or poor) relationships and various measures of self-reported health.

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Emotion, Social Relationships, and Health
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Contributors vii
  • Emotion, Social Relationships, and Health *
  • 1 - Integrating Emotion into the Study of Social Relationships and Health 3
  • References *
  • 2 - Meta-Emotion, Children's Emotional Intelligence, and Buffering Children from Marital Conflict 23
  • References 39
  • Commentary *
  • Note *
  • References *
  • 3 - Relationship Experiences and Emotional Well-Being 57
  • Notes *
  • References 83
  • Commentary *
  • References *
  • 4 - Relationships Among Social Support, Emotional Expression, and Survival 97
  • References *
  • Commentary *
  • References *
  • 5 - Mapping Emotion with Significant Others onto Health 133
  • Note *
  • References *
  • Commentary *
  • References 187
  • 6 - Social Relationships and Health 189
  • Note *
  • References *
  • Commentary *
  • References *
  • 7 - Social Relationships and Susceptibility to the Common Cold 221
  • Note *
  • References *
  • Commentary *
  • Note *
  • References 242
  • 8 - Social Context and Other Psychological Influences on the Development of Immunity 243
  • References *
  • Commentary 262
  • References *
  • Author Index 273
  • Subject Index 283
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