The overarching goal of my program of research is to understand how close relationships influence cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Marital quality has shown consistent associations with a diverse array of physical health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality. However, the mechanisms underlying the health effects of marriages remain poorly understood. Sleep is a fundamental health behavior that has significant effects on physiology and well-being and is typically a behavior that is """"""""shared"""""""" between married partners. However, scant research has considered the degree to which couples'sleeping behavior interacts with relationship functioning and importantly, the degree to which this interaction contributes to cardiovascular health. The training and research plan will provide the candidate with the necessary knowledge and skills to conduct cutting-edge, transdisciplinary research that examines the interaction of relationship functioning and sleep on psychological and physiological risk factors relevant to cardiovascular risk, including daily mood, daytime and nocturnal ambulatory blood pressure responses, and inflammatory biomarkers. The proposed research involves a multi-modal assessment of relationship functioning, including daily diaries and observer-coded marital behaviors, to provide a richer analysis of how positive and negative marital behaviors influence these cardiovascular risk markers. In addition, the study includes daily diaries of sleep quality and objective assessments of sleep (using actigraphy) to provide ah ecologically valid assessment of how couples'sleeping behavior interacts with relationship functioning and ultimately is linked with cardiovascular risk markers. The cohort will include 42 married couples. To achieve the goals of this research plan and to establish myself as a leading researcher in the study of relationships, sleep, and cardiovascular health, I require further training in the following areas: 1) observational methodologies for measuring dyadic behaviors;2) neurobiological and cognitive bases for healthy sleep and sleep disturbance;3) emerging cardiovascular biomarkers, including nocturnal blood pressure dipping, and inflammatory markers;and 4) advanced statistical techniques. The investment in this candidate and the efforts of the proposed research plan will contribute to our understanding of how and why some relationships may be cardio-protective whereas others may confer increased cardiovascular risk.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1-CSR-R (M1))
Program Officer
Harman, Jane
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Troxel, Wendy M; Braithwaite, Scott R; Sandberg, Jonathan G et al. (2017) Does Improving Marital Quality Improve Sleep? Results From a Marital Therapy Trial. Behav Sleep Med 15:330-343
Gunn, Heather E; Buysse, Daniel J; Matthews, Karen A et al. (2017) Sleep-Wake Concordance in Couples Is Inversely Associated With Cardiovascular Disease Risk Markers. Sleep 40:
Creswell, Kasey G; Wright, Aidan G C; Troxel, Wendy M et al. (2015) OXTR polymorphism predicts social relationships through its effects on social temperament. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 10:869-76
Ellis, Jason G; Deary, Vincent; Troxel, Wendy M (2015) The role of perceived partner alliance on the efficacy of CBT-I: preliminary findings from the Partner Alliance in Insomnia Research Study (PAIRS). Behav Sleep Med 13:64-72
Hall, Martica H; Casement, Melynda D; Troxel, Wendy M et al. (2015) Chronic Stress is Prospectively Associated with Sleep in Midlife Women: The SWAN Sleep Study. Sleep 38:1645-54
Gunn, Heather E; Buysse, Daniel J; Hasler, Brant P et al. (2015) Sleep Concordance in Couples is Associated with Relationship Characteristics. Sleep 38:933-9
Troxel, Wendy M; Ewing, Brett; D'Amico, Elizabeth J (2015) Examining Racial/Ethnic Disparities in the Association between Adolescent Sleep and Alcohol or Marijuana Use. Sleep Health 1:104-108
Pedersen, Eric R; Troxel, Wendy M; Shih, Regina A et al. (2015) Increasing resilience through promotion of healthy sleep among service members. Mil Med 180:4-6
Troxel, Wendy M; Lee, Laisze; Hall, Martica et al. (2014) Single-parent family structure and sleep problems in black and white adolescents. Sleep Med 15:255-61
Troxel, Wendy M; Booth, Marika; Buysse, Daniel J et al. (2014) Sleep disturbances and nocturnal symptoms: relationships with quality of life in a population-based sample of women with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome. J Clin Sleep Med 10:1331-7

Showing the most recent 10 out of 27 publications