This study investigated dyadic adrenocortical attunement within adolescent romantic relationships. An ethnically diverse sample (42% Latino) of adolescent heterosexual dating couples (N = 91 dyads, Mage = 16.5 years, SD = 0.99) donated eight saliva samples (later assayed for cortisol) over the course of a 3-h laboratory session. Supportive behaviors were coded during a conflict and jealousy interaction task from video recordings, and participants completed pre-and-post task questionnaires. Parallel process latent growth models revealed a strong positive association between the couples’ cortisol intercept, indicating that couples show attunement in initial levels of cortisol. Further, observed supportive behavior moderated the strength of the association between dyadic cortisol slopes. The results imply that low levels of supportive behavior predicted stronger adrenocortical attunement in the change in cortisol levels over time between adolescent romantic partners. These findings indicate that even early romantic relationships exhibit coordination of physiological activity. Findings raise the possibility that adrenocortical attunement may be a dyadic pathway through which the proximal social context of early romantic relationships is translated into risk or resilience in health and behavior.
- Conflict interaction
- Romantic relationships
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry