A Supportive Partner Can Protect Individuals With Depression

You can better cope with depression, if you have a responsive and accepting romantic partner, says a study conducted by a University of Massachusetts Amherst social psychologist.

The research conducted by Paula Pietromonaco, professor of psychological & brain sciences and is published in the journal of Social Psychological & Personality Science, reported how couples change over time & how their relationships influence their health. The study conducted on over 200 newlywed couples drew data from Growth in Early Marriage project (GEM) in three & half years. Couples who attended lab sessions yearly discussed strains in their relationships, and these meetings were videotaped. Sophisticated and intensive coding techniques were used to capture a wide range of behaviors. Nickola Overall who is professor of psychology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, & Sally Powers who is professor of psychological & brain sciences at UMass Amherst, supported Pietromonaco in the research. This novel research advances Pietromonaco’s previous research in which she investigated the couple-level dynamics of romantic relationships.

The Findings

Supported by the National Cancer Institute, the research reported that a person who indicates signs of mild to moderate depression would experience a drop in marital quality. On the flip side, partners with low depression and less responsiveness didn’t report such drop. In other words, if you are depressed and your partner is responsive, the marital quality will not drop, and you will be living a normal life just like happy people.

According to the research, a responsive partner gives attention to their partner’s needs. If a partner is not responsive, corroborating, & abiding, the relationship’s quality will plunge. There will be significant a drop in marital quality. For instance, if the partner is low in responsiveness, the quality will drop by over seven points, which is very large.

Albeit a lot of research is conducted on depression, Alas! Very little is done to investigate how partner’s different kinds of behavior could buffer depression’s detrimental effects. Research concludes that these reports show how adopting a dyadic perspective can overshadow personal & situational vulnerabilities’ harmful effects on a particular relationship.

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