Relations Between Depression and Relationship Quality Among Couples with a Depressed Male

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Virginia Tech


Major depressive disorder is a prevalent and serious mental health disorder that negatively affects individuals and their intimate relationships. Given little is known about the experience of depression for men, and the co-occurrence of male depression and marital discord, the current study aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of spouses' experience of male depression, and how depression affects their relationships. Using a stress generation perspective, this qualitative study interviewed depressed men and their partners about both partners' experiences of male depression in their relationships and their experience of the relationship between marital discord and depression. Couples identified behaviors and aspects of their relationships that influenced the relation between depression and relationship quality and partially supported the applicability of stress generation theory among couples with a depressed male partner. In addition to partially supporting stress generation theory, couples highlighted several positive experiences in their relationships as a result of enduring these struggles together. The findings pointed to several clinical implications and areas of future research among this population.



Depression, Men, Marital Satisfaction, Stress Generation