Longitudinal Associations Between Husbands' and Wives' Depressive Symptoms

J Marriage Fam. 2010 Feb;72(1):135-147. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00688.x.


Although concordance between husbands' and wives' mental health problems is often reported, questions remain about the nature of these relations. Extending research in this area, this study examined dynamic-longitudinal pathways among husbands' and wives' depressive symptoms and marital satisfaction as a moderator of associations. Participants were 296 heterosexual couples. Husbands and wives reported on their depressive symptoms and marital satisfaction. Results from dynamic bivariate latent difference score analyses indicated unidirectional longitudinal coupling such that higher levels of husbands' depressive symptoms predicted subsequent elevations in wives' depressive symptoms over time. This relation was stronger among couples reporting marital distress as compared to couples reporting higher marital satisfaction. The findings underscore the importance of considering one's spouses' depressive symptoms in treatment efforts.