marital concordance, assortative mating, marital satisfaction, contagion of symptoms, spousal similarity
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.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Braithwaite, Scott R.; Van Orden, Kimberly; Anestis, Mike; Merrill Timmons, Katherine; Fincham, Frank; Joiner Jr., Thomas E.; and Lewinsohn, Peter M., "An Exploratory Investigation of Marital Functioning and Order of Spousal Onset in Couples Concordant for Psychopathology" (2013). Faculty Publications. 6006.
Family, Home, and Social Sciences