Women’s weekly relationship functioning and depressive symptoms

Authors


  • Sarah W. Whitton, Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Department of Psychology, Boston University; Scott M. Stanley and Howard J. Markman, Department of Psychology, University of Denver; Brian R. Baucom, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles.

  • This research was supported in part by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health to the first author (F32MH077434) and by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to the second (R01HD047564) and third authors (R01HD053314). We gratefully acknowledge Galena Rhoades and Dave Atkins, who provided valuable advice and assistance with statistical analyses, as well as Ben Karney, for his generous counsel on the design and analysis of multiwave data sets in early stages of this project.

Sarah W. Whitton, Boston University, Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Department of Psychology, 648 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02215, e-mail: swhitton@bu.edu.

Abstract

In an exploration of the links between relationship quality and depression, the extent to which women’s weekly reports of depressive symptoms vary as a function of same-week relationship functioning was tested. A sample of 161 married or cohabiting U.S. women completed measures of relationship functioning, mood, and depressive symptoms weekly for 12 weeks. In a series of hierarchical linear models, results of within-subject analyses indicated that depressive symptoms were negatively associated with same-week relationship functioning. Weekly fluctuations in mood did not account for these associations. Results of between-subjects analyses suggested that women low in stereotypical masculinity and in relationships of shorter duration are particularly likely to show increased depressive symptoms during weeks when they experience poorer relationship functioning than usual.

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