Marriage as a Risk Factor for Internalizing Disorders: Clarifying Scope and Specificity
Published Date:Oct 2011
Source:J Consult Clin Psychol. 79(5):577-589.
Pubmed Central ID:PMC3183252
Funding:5 F31 MH082571-03/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
CCR721682/PHS HHS/United States
CE721682/CE/NCIPC CDC HHS/United States
F31 MH082571/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
F31 MH082571-03/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
HD046789/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
Marital discord has been linked to both depression and anxiety; however, our understanding of how marriage contributes to the development of internalizing symptoms is limited in scope and lacking specificity. First, it is unclear whether the marital relationship contributes to the broad dimension of internalizing symptoms as opposed to specific diagnoses. Second, it is unclear how the marital relationship contributes to internalizing symptoms: through global marital dissatisfaction or through specific relationship processes (and which processes). The purpose of the present study was to address these two issues and, more generally, to develop a comprehensive and refined framework within which to understand the role of marriage in the developmental course of internalizing symptoms.
Questionnaire and interview data were collected from 102 husbands and wives 5 times over the first 7 years of marriage.
Results indicated that marital discord during the transition into marriage was associated with the broad dimension of internalizing symptoms for husbands but not for wives. Further, both global marital dissatisfaction and an imbalance of power and control put husbands at significant risk for symptoms over the first 7 years of marriage, whereas low levels of emotional intimacy put wives at significant risk.
Results exemplify the need to routinely consider intimate relationship processes in etiological models of depression and anxiety, and identify specific clinical targets that can be prioritized in interventions aimed at preventing internalizing disorders.
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