Dr. Lisa Neff unpacks how relationship conflict affects your health

Podcast Episode 8 + 9 with Dr. Lisa Neff, relationship expert

dr. lisa neff.png

Ever wonder if getting in a fight with your partner impacts your physical health, and not just your mental health? Dr. Lisa Neff has the answer - it does! She has spent most of her career digging deep into couples, and how their relationships evolve over time, and the results are fascinating! Dr. Neff is also an adviser to Love Intently, and has helped us shape our program through her knowledge and research.

Dr. Neff is an associate professor in the Human Development and Family Sciences department at the University of Texas at Austin. Her current research explores how marriages develop and change over time. Specifically, her research aims: (1) to identify the relationship processes associated with positive marital outcomes (e.g., the influence of optimistic biases on marital well-being; the role of social support exchanges between partners) and (2) to understand how and when stressors external to the relationship (e.g., work stress, financial difficulties) hinder couples’ efforts to engage in relationship-promoting behaviors. She also recently has begun a new line of research exploring relationships and dating in later life in order to understand how relationship processes and interactions may change across the lifespan.

Join us as we discuss some of the trickier topics in relationships - conflict, stress and the impact on your health!

business cardsArtboard 6 copy 3business cards.png

In this podcast, Sophie and Lisa discuss:

  • How strong interpersonal relationships impact everything in our lives, even our physical health.

  • How little moments like sharing a laugh over dinner or showing interest in your partner’s day can make massive contributions to long term relationship health and success.

  • The difference in positive and negative assurances in new relationships versus old relationships.

  • Whether personality typing can predict relationship success.

  • The Big 5 personality traits - Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neurotic-ism (Ocean) and why Neurotic-ism may be the most important one to pay attention to when thinking about relationships.

  • Attachment theory (how our relationships with our family in childhood may impact our relationships as adults) and the two types of insecure attachment - avoidance and anxious.

  • The best ways to view your relationships - is a positive bias better than an accurate one?

  • Conflict in relationships - it’s not necessarily as problematic for relationship health as you think! Avoiding conflict can cause more problems long term than the conflict itself.

  • The impact of stress on a relationship - when couples are stressed, the quality of their conversations while discussing relationship problems declines by 40%.

  • The stress inoculation theory - the idea that you can better handle stress by exposing yourself to small amounts of stress over a period of time - and how it can be helpful when transitioning to parenthood.

  • The importance of building a strong network of relationships outside of your marriage.


    Part 1

    1:28 - Introductions

    3:26 - Why it’s important to study relationships

    8:14 - What things can we do day to day to build up positivity in our relationships.

    12:03 - How positive assurances tend to evolve over time in a marriage

    17:30 - Personality and the impact it plays on relationship success

    21:10 - Attachment theory

    23:57 - What research studies impacted and how Dr. Neff approaches relationships

Part 2

2:32 - How to best handle conflict and how stress can impact how conflict is handled during a relationship

7:28 - How to better manage stress

9:47 - Research topics that surprised Dr. Lisa Neff

24:58 - The best relationship advice Dr. Lisa Neff has ever received


Find Dr. Neff’s book here - https://www.amazon.com/Science-Relationships-Answers-Questions-Marriage/dp/1465201408/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534106194&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+neff