Marital functioning and depressive symptoms: evidence for a stress generation model

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1997 Oct;73(4):849-61. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.73.4.849.


The present study applied C.L. Hammen's (1991) stress generation model to depressive symptoms in the context of marriage. The authors predicted that depressive symptoms would lead to increased marital stress, which would in turn lead to increased depressive symptoms. Social support processes were hypothesized to function as a mechanism by which dysphoric spouses generate stress. Hypotheses were tested in a sample of 154 newlywed couples. Depressive symptoms, marital stress, support perceptions, and support behavior (assessed using observational procedures) were assessed initially and 1 year later. Results provided evidence of marital stress generation among wives, and social support processes functioned as a mechanism of stress generation for wives. Results highlight the cyclical course of dysphoria and stress among wives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Social Perception
  • Social Support
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*