Interpersonal effects of health-related social control: Positive and negative influence, partner health transformations, and relationship quality

Valerie J. Young, Tricia J. Burke, Melissa A Curran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


It is common for romantic partners to influence one another’s health maintenance behaviors. Previous research has examined positively and negatively framed social control messages to understand health behavior outcomes and relational affect; however, this study confirms and extends previous research by studying the associations between health transformations (from interdependence theory, health behaviors enacted for the partner) and relationship satisfaction. Data from a cross-sectional dyadic survey of heterosexual couples were analyzed using actor–partner independence models. As expected, dyadic results showed that positive social control was associated with greater healthy and fewer unhealthy partner transformations, whereas negative social control was associated with lower relationship satisfaction and more unhealthy transformations. Further, the breadth of partner health behaviors that individuals attempt to influence moderated the associations between social control and relationship satisfaction and health transformations. We discuss how the results from this study underscore the health implications associated with the nature and breadth of social control communication in romantic relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Dual effects model of social control
  • health behaviors
  • interdependence theory
  • interpersonal health influence
  • relationship satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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