Keywords

marital concordance, assortative mating, marital satisfaction, contagion of symptoms, spousal similarity

Abstract

Individuals with a psychiatric disorder are significantly more likely to have a spouse with a clinical diagnosis—marital concordance. We used a community sample of 304 couples concordant for either Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) or Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) to examine the relationship between marital functioning and gendered patterns of mental health diagnosis onset. For SUD concordance, couples in which wives onset before husbands—in spite of typical later onset for males—reported lower levels of marital satisfaction compared to couples in which the husband onset first. For MDD concordance, couples in which husbands onset with depression before wives—in spite of typical later onset for males—reported lower levels of marital satisfaction. These results suggest that for couples concordant for mental diagnoses, it is most problematic for marital functioning for one partner to have an atypically early onset. Implications for treatment targets in marital therapy are discussed.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2013

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Psychology

Included in

Psychology Commons

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