Marital Therapy as a Treatment for Depression

The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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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    • "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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    • "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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