In the target article (Wanic and Kulik 2011), we proposed in the subordination-reactivity hypothesis that women’s (typically) subordinate role in marital relationships renders them physiologically more vulnerable to martial conflict, which may explain partly the finding that marriage generally benefits the health of men more than women. In that article, we noted that our hypothesis should be considered in conjunction with other ‘non-mutually exclusive’ relationship processes that also may contribute to the greater health benefit of marriage for men. The accompanying commentaries take issue with our article on the grounds that a) interpersonal relationships and health are multidimensional and complex; b) our subordination-reactivity hypothesis diverges from existing interpersonal theory and research; and c) it is “almost always” unwise to “pit” one explanation or theory against another. In this response we argue a) the indisputable point regarding the complexity of interpersonal relationships and health does not challenge the validity of our hypothesis; b) our hypothesis, as stated, is not logically inconsistent with the prior interpersonal theory and research cited, and c) there is considerable value to pitting explanations against each other when possible, and arguments to avoid doing so are at odds with fundamental scientific practices.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 30, 2011
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