Distinguishing emotional coregulation from codysregulation: An investigation of emotional dynamics and body weight in romantic couples

Rebecca G. Reed, Kobus Barnard, Emily A. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Well-regulated emotions, both within people and between relationship partners, play a key role in facilitating health and well-being. The present study examined 39 heterosexual couples' joint weight status (both partners are healthy-weight, both overweight, 1 healthy-weight, and 1 overweight) as a predictor of 2 interpersonal emotional patterns during a discussion of their shared lifestyle choices. The first pattern, coregulation, is one in which partners' coupled emotions show a dampening pattern over time and ultimately return to homeostatic levels. The second, codysregulation, is one in which partners' coupled emotions are amplified away from homeostatic balance. We demonstrate how a coupled linear oscillator (CLO) model (Butner, Amazeen, & Mulvey, 2005) can be used to distinguish coregulation from codysregulation. As predicted, healthy-weight couples and mixed-weight couples in which the man was heavier than the woman displayed coregulation, but overweight couples and mixed-weight couples in which the woman was heavier showed codysregulation. These results suggest that heterosexual couples in which the woman is overweight may face formidable coregulatory challenges that could undermine both partners' well-being. The results also demonstrate the importance of distinguishing between various interpersonal emotional dynamics for understanding connections between interpersonal emotions and health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-60
Number of pages16
JournalEmotion
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Keywords

  • Body mass index
  • Codysregulation
  • Coregulation
  • Couples
  • Emotion regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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