Dr. DeLongis’ research reveals that even common, everyday stress affects both physical and psychological health. Yet not everyone is affected equally. Her work addresses the question of for whom, and under what conditions, stress results in problems of adaptation. One key focus is on how close relationships buffer the impact of stress on health and well-being. How do such relationships protect people from the effects of stress? What are the biological, cognitive, and emotional pathways through which these effects occur? Her work points to the dynamic interplay between an individual’s efforts to cope with daily stressors and patterns of social interactions in close relationships. Her research identifies the range of stress outcomes among Canadians, from marital dissatisfaction and divorce, to physical and mental illness. Her work includes studies of stepfamilies, as well as those of couples in which one or both members are facing a chronic health challenge. Ongoing research includes multi-faceted studies of those coping with rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, HIV, and the threat of infectious diseases such as SARS and avian flu. Findings from this research promise to aid in the development of treatments for at-risk populations, providing direction to health professionals designing evidence-based interventions that are matched to the needs of patients.

Current research projects include:

  • Managing daily family stress
  • The role of social support in managing stress
  • Coping with Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Coping with infectious diseases (e.g., Avian Flu, SARS, West Nile)
  • Coping with spinal cord injury
  • Stress spillover/crossover in paramedics and their spouses