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  1. The wear and tear of adapting to chronic stressors such as racism and discrimination can have detrimental effects on mental and physical health. Here, we investigated the wider implications of everyday racism for relationship quality in an adult sample of 98 heterosexual African American couples. Participants reported on their experiences of racial discrimination and positive and negative affect for 21 consecutive evenings. Using dyadic analyses, we found that independently of age, gender, marital status, income, racial-discrimination frequency, neuroticism, and mean levels of affect, participants’ relationship quality was inversely associated with their partner’s negative affective reactivity to racial discrimination. Associations did not vary by gender, suggesting that the effects of affective reactivity were similar for men and women. These findings highlight the importance of a dyadic approach and call for further research examining the role of everyday racism as a key source of stress in the lives of African American couples.

     
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  2. The current study examines explicit and implicit self-esteem as moderators of the daily association between negative events and implicit partner regard among cohabitating African American couples ( N = 360). In a 21-day diary study, individuals with low (vs. high) implicit self-esteem showed a negative association between negative non-relationship and non-interpersonal events and implicit partner regard that day. Age was also a significant moderator such that, only among older participants, low implicit self-esteem individuals reported lower implicit partner regard on days with higher levels of negative relationship, non-relationship, and non-interpersonal events. Findings highlight the importance of implicit partner regard in the risk regulation system and underscore the importance of high implicit self-esteem as a protective factor for relationship functioning among African American couples.

     
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