Marital Therapy as a Treatment for Depression

Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (Impact Factor: 4.85). 09/1991; 59(4):547-57. DOI: 10.1037//0022-006X.59.4.547
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study was to compare cognitive-behavioral therapy (CT; n = 20), behavioral marital therapy (BMT; n = 19), and a treatment combining BMT and CT (CO; n = 21) in the alleviation of wives' depression and the enhancement of marital satisfaction. BMT was less effective than CT for depression in maritally nondistressed couples, whereas for maritally distressed couples the two treatments were equally effective. BMT was the only treatment to have a significant positive impact on relationship satisfaction in distressed couples, whereas CO was the only treatment to enhance the marital satisfaction of nondistressed couples. On marital interaction measures CO was the only treatment to significantly reduce both husband and wife aversive behavior and to significantly increase wife facilitative behavior.

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Available from: Alan E. Fruzzetti, Nov 06, 2014
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    • "Although there are no studies examining the impact of relationship programs to improve couple interactions and personal happiness in the long run, there is already evidence that an individual's 'lower level of well-being' (i.e., depressive symptoms in particular) can be improved by couple interventions. For example, depressive symptoms, which might be considered as low level of well-being or unhappiness, can be reduced by marital therapy (Jacobson et al. 1991; Leff et al. 2000); and an increase in marital adjustment tends to reduce the incidence of depressive symptoms (Beach and O'Leary 1992). In addition, there is evidence that couple therapy is not only as effective in reducing depressive symptoms as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT; Beck et al. 1961) or interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT; Weissman et al. 2000), but also yields a better relapse rate after a 1.5-year period (Bodenmann et al. 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although personal happiness is highly associated with social relationships, basic questions remain regarding the causal effect of improved social relationships on happiness. The main aim of this study was to test whether emotional and cognitive dimensions of personal happiness can be increased by means of a self-directed relationship enhancement program, which aims to increase relationship-relevant skills such as dyadic coping, communication, and conflict resolution. N = 220 couples were randomly assigned either to an intervention or to a waiting list control group (survey: pre-, post-, 3- and 6-month follow-ups). Multi-group latent change score models reveal that (1) personal happiness can be increased through a couple intervention; (2) change in personal happiness was predicted by an increase in skills and relationship satisfaction through the intervention; (3) the least happy participants benefited most from the intervention. Improving spousal interactions may help people become and stay happier. Participants in this study did not relapse to their set point of personal happiness as could be expected by adaptation theory. Thus, not treating individuals directly, but rather the dynamic system of spousal interactions as a whole, offers a potentially very powerful area for happiness research.
    Journal of Happiness Studies 10/2014; DOI:10.1007/s10902-014-9591-7 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    • "Although women with low levels of marital distress were slightly more improved at follow-up relative to women with high levels of marital distress at baseline, the overall difference was small and not significant. Thus, while standard behavioral marital therapy has been shown to be less efficacious at reducing depression relative to individual cognitive therapy for women without marital distress (Jacobson et al., 1991), the couple-based intervention herein worked equally well in reducing depression for women with and without marital distress. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to evaluate a brief couple therapy for depression targeted for mildly discordant or nondiscordant couples struggling with the negative impact of depression. Subjects included women with major depression or dysthymia who had husbands without clinical depression. Thirty-five couples were randomly assigned to the 5-week intervention (n=18) or a waitlist control group (n=17), and followed up 1 and 3 months later. Results showed a significant effect of treatment in reducing women's depressive symptoms, with 67% of women improved and 40% to 47% recovered at follow-up, compared to only 17% improved and 8% recovered among women in the control group. Treatment was also effective in secondarily improving women's marital satisfaction, reducing husbands' levels of psychological distress and depression-specific burden, and improving both partners' understanding and acceptance of depression. The treatment was implemented in five 2-hour sessions, representing an efficient, cost-effective approach. Findings support the growing utility of brief, problem-focused couple interventions that simultaneously target depression, relational functioning, and psychological distress experienced by the loved ones of depressed persons.
    Behavior therapy 12/2010; 41(4):433-46. DOI:10.1016/j.beth.2009.11.004 · 3.69 Impact Factor
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    • "However, BMT was less effective than cognitive therapy in reducing depressive symptoms when the couples were not maritally distressed (Jacobson et al., 1991). BMT was found to be superior to waiting-list control group for depressive symptoms (Beach and O'Leary, 1992) and, in the three studies, it was the most effective treatment for improving marital function. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper reviews empirical and theoretical publications from 1970 to 2009 on the relation between marital and sexual functioning, depression and anxiety. The link between sexual and marital functioning is well known. Marital functioning is a factor in relation with sexual dysfunctions such as hypoactive sexual desire. Sexual functioning is associated to marital satisfaction. The role of marital and sexual factors was also studied in relation with psychological distress. Satisfying marital functioning protects against the development of psychological distress but is also a factor related to depression and anxiety. The link between marital distress and depression is particularly strong. Empirical data indicate also that marital treatment may improve not only sexual and marital functioning but may also reduce symptoms of psychological distress. When depressive symptoms are associated to marital distress, research indicates that marital therapy may be considered as one of the first options of treatment to reduce both marital and psychological distress.
    Sexologies 07/2010; 19(3):137-142. DOI:10.1016/j.sexol.2009.12.009
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