The Association Between Depression & Marriage Quality Using the CES-D & RMICS2

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University of Delaware
Individuals that experience depressive symptoms are at higher risk for poor marital quality and distress. Some theories suggest that for depressed individuals, stress generated from negative life events can perpetuate their depression further, causing the individual to need more support from their partner. If this need is not met, the depressed individual may feel rejected and lose their sense of belonging with their partner. Both this and stress can induce depressive-like symptoms that form through biological processes. The present study looks to investigate the relationship between depression and marital quality under the conditions of marital conflict discussions. Both partners of a couple (N= 72) were asked to complete various questionnaires and a conflict discussion task. Marital Quality is assessed via the conflict discussion tasks that are coded using the Rapid Marital Interaction Coding System- Version 2 (RMICS2). Observational codes from the discussion task were summed to find marital quality for each partner. Depression was measured using a self-report questionnaire, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale. It was found that individuals that exhibit higher levels of depression are more likely to exhibit lower levels of marital quality than individuals with lower levels of depression. The relationship between depression and marital quality’s implications on physical and mental health, COVID-19, and therapeutic approaches are discussed.