Interpersonal sensitivity and reactivity to spousal conflict in healthy older women

Bruce W. Smith, Alex J. Zautra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This study investigated whether interpersonal sensitivity was associated with reactivity to spousal conflict beyond neuroticism. Interpersonal sensitivity is defined as an excessive sensitivity to the behavior and feelings of others. Participants were 49 healthy older women who were interviewed weekly for 12-20 consecutive weeks. Interpersonal sensitivity and neuroticism were measured in mailed questionnaires. Spousal conflict, positive affect, and negative affect were assessed weekly in phone interviews. Hierarchical linear regression analyses were conducted predicting positive and negative affect from interpersonal sensitivity, spousal conflict, and the sensitivity×spousal conflict interaction. Neuroticism and age were used as control variables. The results indicated that women higher in interpersonal sensitivity had more negative affect and less positive affect in times of spousal conflict than women lower in interpersonal sensitivity. The findings suggest that interpersonal sensitivity may play a unique role in reactivity to interpersonal conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)915-923
Number of pages9
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 15 2001


  • Affect
  • Interpersonal sensitivity
  • Neuroticism
  • Spousal conflict
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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