Associate Professor of Communication
Priem’s research focuses on connecting supportive interactions with cortisol recovery following a stressful experience.
Healthy communication in a relationship is a powerful weapon against the wear and tear of daily stress. In Jennifer Priem’s lab, salivary samples are used to indicate when the stress hormone cortisol increases and when it decreases during supportive conversations between romantic partners. Her research focuses on determining which specific qualities of these interactions can be linked to physiological benefits as measured by a reduction in cortisol levels. On Psychology Today, Read More »
Healthy communication in a relationship is a powerful weapon against the wear and tear of daily stress. In Jennifer Priem’s lab, salivary samples are used to indicate when the stress hormone cortisol increases and when it decreases during supportive conversations between romantic partners. Her research focuses on determining which specific qualities of these interactions can be linked to physiological benefits as measured by a reduction in cortisol levels. On Psychology Today, Jennifer’s blog, Stressing Communication, tackles the questions related conversations, relationships, health and stress reduction.
March 29, 2019
Priem has found that problems arise between couples when each person has a different perception of what's stressful. So how do you get the response you want when you need it? "When a partner downplays the significance of something, the person who's stressed may hold on to it more or feel they have to convince the other person it's true and that they have a right to feel that way," says Priem. "You might say, 'I'm really upset right now, and I feel frustrated when it seems you're making light of my feelings. It would make me feel better if you'd be more responsive to the fact that I'm upset, even if you don't understand it.'"
December 12, 2018
“The fastest stress recovery comes from explicit messages,” says Priem. “When a partner is stressed, they are unable to focus on interpreting messages well. Clarity and eye contact help.”
February 6, 2018
When we feel supported, we feel less stress. But sometimes we think we are being supportive of a romantic partner and we're not. "Cookie cutter support messages don't really work," said Priem. "Stress creates a frame through which messages are interpreted. Support that is clear and explicit in validating feelings and showing interest and concern is most likely to lower cortisol levels and increase feelings of wellbeing and safety. If you aren't seeing improvement in your partner's anxiety, you may need to change your approach."
February 8, 2018
Jennifer Priem joined WFDD’s David Ford to discuss her research on supportive communication. “There’s a lot to get past when people are working through that frame of stress to see supportive messages as very supportive or very positive messages,” said Priem. “The most explicit messages are the ones that tend to be picked up most easily as supportive.”
February 12, 2018
Jennifer Priem points out that partners have the power to reduce certain stress hormones, such as cortisol, in their partners by engaging in certain supportive techniques. Saliva samples can determine the increase and decrease of cortisol levels, giving a unique look into how certain interactions affect its rise and fall.
February 13, 2018
Priem was interviewed on what features of supportive conversation may help lower cortisol and reduce stress in a relationship between dating partners.
What Is Supportive About Supportive Conversation? Qualities of Interaction That Predict Emotional and Physiological Outcomes
What is supportive about supportive conversation? This study assesses how qualities of supportive interactions, operationalized from the perspectives of the support receiver and third-party observers, predict emotional improvement and cortisol recovery following a stressful experience.
February 8, 2019
When is the last time you and your partner made time to talk? Or, more important, made time to...
Areas of Expertise
- Dyadic stress and coping
- Emotional support
- Features of supportive communication
- Physiological responses to supportive communications
- Stress recovery
- Emotional recovery
Pennsylvania State University: Ph.D., Interpersonal Communication, Stress, and Health
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: M.A., Interpersonal/Organizational Communication Certificate of Mediation and Negotiation
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: B.A., PsychologyContact
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