Affective synchrony in dual- and single-smoker couples: Further evidence of "symptom-system fit"?


Couples in which one or both partners smoked despite one of them having a heart or lung problem discussed a health-related disagreement before and during a period of laboratory smoking. Immediately afterwards, the partners in these 25 couples used independent joysticks to recall their continuous emotional experience during the interaction while watching themselves on video. A couple-level index of affective synchrony, reflecting correlated moment-to-moment change in the two partners' joystick ratings, tended to increase from baseline to smoking for 9 dual-smoker couples but decrease for 16 single-smoker couples. Results suggest that coregulation of shared emotional experience could be a factor in smoking persistence, particularly when both partners in a couple smoke. Relationship-focused interventions addressing this fit between symptom and system may help smokers achieve stable cessation. © 2009 FPI, Inc.

Publication Title

Family Process