Linkages between spouses' psychological distress and marital conflict in the home

J Fam Psychol. 2007 Sep;21(3):533-7. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.21.3.533.


To elucidate the processes that underlie the established association between psychopathology and marital functioning, researchers have given attention to how symptomatic individuals manage their interpersonal contexts, particularly during the handling of disagreements. In the current study, the authors evaluate the role of marital conflict strategies in relation to wives' and husbands' psychological distress levels. A sample of 100 community-based couples completed assessments of psychological distress and diaries describing marital conflict that occurred at home during a 15-day reporting period. Findings from multilevel modeling of dyadic data revealed associations between both spouses' psychological distress and multiple behavioral and emotional conflict expressions in the home. Psychological symptoms uniquely predicted the occurrence of certain conflict expressions, even when accounting for global negative marital sentiments. The findings encourage subsequent consideration of marital conflict expressions and resolution strategies when studying processes involved in the marriage-psychological adjustment link.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Expressed Emotion
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Environment*
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires