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The Protective Effects of Intimate Partner Relationships on Depressive Symptomatology among Adult Parents Maltreated as Children
  • Published Date:
    Apr 23 2015
  • Source:
    J Adolesc Health. 2015; 57(2):150-156.
Filetype[PDF-330.74 KB]

  • Pubmed ID:
  • Pubmed Central ID:
  • Description:

    We examined whether intimate partner relationships in general, and satisfying and stable intimate partner relationships in particular, protect victims of child maltreatment from depressive symptoms during young adulthood.


    Prospective, longitudinal data on 485 parents, 99 maltreated during childhood, were used. Longitudinal multilevel models (12 annual interviews, conducted from 1999 to 2010, nested in individuals) were specified to estimate the effects of relationship characteristics on depressive symptomatology by maltreatment status.


    Relationship characteristics operated as direct protective factors for maltreated and not maltreated individuals. Higher relationship satisfaction and stability were prospectively predictive of less depressive symptomatology. Models of inter and intra-individual variability were also consistent with significant direct protective effects. Between persons, a more satisfying and stable relationship was associated with fewer depressive symptoms. Within person, periods when an individual moved into a relationship, and periods of enhanced satisfaction and stability were associated with fewer depressive symptoms. Relationship satisfaction and stability operated as significant buffering protective factors for the effect of maltreatment on depressive symptoms in most models, suggesting that positive intimate partner relationships may reduce the risk that childhood maltreatment poses for adult depressive symptoms.


    The CDC identifies safe, stable, and nurturing relationships (SSNRs) as key in preventing maltreatment and its consequences. This study adds to the evidence on the protective role of SSNRs by identifying intimate partner relationship factors that may protect parents who were maltreated during childhood from depressive symptoms.

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  • Funding:
    R01CE001572/CE/NCIPC CDC HHS/United States
    R01 CE001572/CE/NCIPC CDC HHS/United States
    R01MH56486/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
    R01DA020195/DA/NIDA NIH HHS/United States
    P30HD32041/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    R24 HD041041/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    R01MH63386/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
    R01DA005512/DA/NIDA NIH HHS/United States
    R01 DA020195/DA/NIDA NIH HHS/United States
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