Title

Comparing the Interpersonal Behavior of Distressed Couples With and Without Depression

Document Type

Article

Language

eng

Publication Date

12-2013

Publisher

Wiley

Source Publication

Journal of Clinical Psychology

Source ISSN

0021-9762

Abstract

Objective

This study compared the interpersonal behavior of distressed couples with depression in one partner (n = 23) to distressed couples without depression in either partner (n = 38).

Method

Participants (mean age = 44 years old) were recruited at an urban outpatient mental health center. Couples discussed the three best things in their relationship, and their interactions were coded using Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (Benjamin, 1987).

Results

Self‐ and partner‐focused hostility were associated with actors’ and partners’ relationship distress. Actors’ hostility towards partners was positively associated with partners’ depression status, but negatively associated with partners’ depression symptoms. Actors’ control behavior was positively associated with their relationship distress. Whereas the behavior of depressed individuals did not differ from a control sample of nondepressed individuals, partners of depressed individuals displayed more partner‐focused hostility and submissiveness than controls.

Conclusions

Results underscore the importance of considering partner effects when conceptualizing depression within distressed relationships.

Comments

Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 69-, No. 12 (December 2013)" 1250-1268. DOI.

Lynne Knobloch-Fedders was affiliated with Northwestern University at the time of publication.

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