Depressive disorders in spouses of mentally ill patients

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2002 Apr;37(4):177-82. doi: 10.1007/s001270200012.


Background: According to the literature on stress and coping, the burden of caregiving to a mentally ill partner might have an impact on the mental health of the spouse.

Method: As part of a study on the burden of caregiving to mentally ill family members, a structured psychiatric interview (DIA-X-M-CIDI) was conducted with spouses of patients suffering from depression, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia (n = 151).

Results: Covarying with the partner's gender and the severity of the patient's illness a significantly increased prevalence of depressive disorders could be found.

Conclusion: Psychiatric patients' partners are at a high risk of developing a depressive disorder. It appears necessary to develop special interventions for spouses reducing stress and the risk of getting depressed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk
  • Schizophrenia*
  • Spouses / psychology*