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A study of relationship between love with depression and anxiety in married individuals

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Introduction: This study was done for determining the relationship between depression and anxiety with love among married peoples. Methods: It was a post event study performed on 120 married peoples and the sample was randomly. Married people were invited to volunteer by calling and they were entered to study after filling consent form, then participants were examined by demographic, Boston stern Norse Love, Beck Depression and Hamilton Anxiety questionnaires. Results: Based on the performance assessment of participants was observed a significant inverse relationship between love with depression and anxiety (P<0.05) and simulated love reduces depression and anxiety. Since, with increasing love was reduced depression and anxiety. Conclusions: It seems, mental disorders reduce by creating favorable positions for romantic sentiment in the family and appropriate conditions will be provided for developing in families. Key word: Anxiety, Depression, Love, Relationship
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26 International Clinical Neuroscience Journal Vol 1, No 1, Summer 2014
Original Article
A study of relationship between love with depression and
anxiety in married individuals
Afsaneh Zarghi, MD, MPH, PhD
Functional Neurosurgery Research Center, Shohada Tajrish Hospital, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
ABSTRACT
Purpose: This study was conducted to determine the relationship between depression and
anxiety with love among married peoples.
Methods: It was a post event study performed on 90 married peoples and the sample was
randomly selected. Married people were invited to volunteer by calling and they were entered
to study after filling consent form. Then participants were evaluated by demographic, Boston
stern Norse Love, Beck Depression and Hamilton Anxiety questionnaires.
Results: Based on the performance assessment of participants a significant inverse relationship
was observed between love with depression and anxiety (P<0.05) and simulated love reduces
depression and anxiety.
Conclusion: Increased love was associated with reduced depression and anxiety. It seems mental
disorders could be reduced by creating favorable positions for romantic sentiment in the family.
Keywords: Relationship; Love; Depression; Anxiety
INTRODUCTION
Almost all people who have experienced love are
agreeing with this context that grief and sorrow is the
outcome of love as well as joy and happiness. Researchers
are generally in agreement that romantic love acts in
accordance with two other major sensory systems. These
two systems are attachment and sexual desire. However,
it should be noted that these two mentioned emotional
systems can also act independently of each other.
Although, romantic love grows toward the attachment
in most cases, sometimes this love ends by rejection from
the other side. Non-mutual love so-called (unrequited
love) are accompanied with pain and suffering caused
by the opposite party’s refusal and also, it is thought that
these types have an evolutionary origin and proprietary
biochemical features1.
This love is declining and gradually terminated.
Absurdity, frustration, panic, anger, depression and
anxiety are all original feelings of unrequited love.
Studies have shown that neurochemical changes in
the brains of those who are involved with unrequited
love may explain two important symptoms which are
separation anxiety and abandonment rage.
Separation anxiety which is generated with panic
system starts with stress system stimulation and is
associated with Cortisol hormone. Short-term stress, in
turn, is known as a factor to increase the dopamine level
and to decrease serotonin level. These are chemicals which
are used to enhance and deepen romantic relationships.
Depression context also increases in this way; maybe
this is the reason why people express their love along
with depression and anxiety symptoms after marriage.
Love is a “universal or almost universal” phenomenon2.
In early stages, love relates to specific physiological,
psychological and behavioral indicators which can be
described and reviewed by investigators. These indicators
ICNSJ 2014; 1 (1):26-30 http://journals.sbmu.ac.ir/neuroscience
Correspondence to:
Afsaneh Zarghi, MD; Functional Neurosurgery Research Center, Shohada Tajrish Hospital, Tajrish Sq,
Tehran, Iran; E-mail: dr.a.zarghi@hotmail.com; Tel/Fax: +98(21)88518463
Received: July 1, 2014 Accepted: August 3, 2014
Mental changes without Love—Zarghi
27
International Clinical Neuroscience Journal Vol 1, No 1, Summer 2014
include emotional responses such as satisfaction, intense
focus on a particular person, obsessive thinking about
that person, depression, anxiety, emotional dependency
followed by emotional integration with the beloved and
increased energy.
Universality, satisfaction mode and focused attention on
love suggest that rewards and motivation systems do exist
in human brain. Opportunity to learn about neural fields
of imagery love is at hand for neurobiologists in order to
assess the neural relationship between mental subjective
status and mental imaging techniques. Both of these
attachments activate special areas like common areas in the
brain which coincide with areas that secrete Oxytocin and
are also Vasopressin receptors. Both of them disable some
common areas of negative emotions and judging by others
in society3. Recent findings indicate that mental systems
primarily are related to Dopamine enhanced activities
in brain pathways. This also is associated with central
Norepinephrine enhanced activities and central Serotonin
enhanced activities. Other brain systems together also create
a class of feelings, motivations and common behaviors of
romantic love. Sometimes, emotional and mood changes
leads the person to depression and anxiety which is derived
from changes in the chemical compositions, increase of
the enhanced central Norepinephrine and stopped central
Serotonin activities1.
Attachment to a partner is known as attachment to a
companion. In addition, tranquility, security and integrity
of feelings with a long-term partner exist in this type
of dependency. The studies which have been conducted
on animals indicate that the basic brain systems are
associated with Oxytocin and Vasopressin, respectively.
Each of these brain systems, play a different role in
courtship, mating, reproduction and fertility1. However,
studies prompted us to associate love with depression
and anxiety and find the reasons. Therefore, the aim of
the present study was to determine the amount of the
relationship between love with depression and anxiety.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The outline of this research project is post-eventual.
The available random sampling has been done during 6
month since the adoption of plan. Since no similar study
has been found in Iran, the sample size of 18-80 was
considered for both sexes. While the study was pilot, loss
of 120 participants (60 for each gender) was precipitated.
The study participants were married ones who have
invited through public recalling. With the consent of
the (participants) patients, research examinations such
as demographic, Boston Northeastern Love Scale, Beck
depression and Hamilton anxiety questionnaires were
completed. The study protocol has been approved by the
Ethics Committee of Payame Nour University, Tehran,
Iran.
Analysis
By filling the questionnaires, the collected data was
entered into SPSS software version 18 and analyzed
through descriptive statistics, Pearson’s correlation
coefficient and t-test.
Data Collection Instruments
Love: Love was measured by the Boston Northeastern
Love Scale questionnaire. Love was determined with the
help of a sample of 220 university students “Norse Stern”
(19 to 24 ages). In doing so, the students were asked to
say: “they are certainly in love”, “they are most likely
in love”, “they are less likely in love”, “certainly they
are not in love” and “they are not most likely in love”.
After that, they were asked to answer the love measure
questions in relation with the one who are in love with.
There was no difference in the outcome of boys and
girls. The score of 84 means that your feelings belong
to the group who said “we are certainly in love”, “we
are most likely in love”4.
Depression: By using the beck depression
questionnaire, the status of depression was examined. The
test contains 21 questions in which sadness, pessimism,
dissatisfaction, impaired decision-making, self-hatred and
isolation are discussed. The minimum and maximum
scores are zero and 63 5.
Anxiety: Anxiety was evaluated through Hamilton
anxiety questionnaire. Currently, Hamilton anxiety
questionnaire is the best known test to assess anxiety
intensity. It consists of 14 characters and anxiety
behaviors which are associated with the specific
symptoms of anxiety. The test scale is ranked by
the interviewer. This scale encompasses a range of
symptoms that often are diagnosed as symptoms of an
anxious state. These symptoms include: anxious mood,
tension, panic, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, muscle
tension, general physical condition, cardio-vascular
symptoms, respiratory symptoms and behavior during
the interview. Also, studies on validity and reliability of
this questionnaire, correlation of this questionnaire with
beck depression (0.6), with SCL-90 (0.73) questionnaires
and with clinical assessment (0.77) have been reported6.
RESULTS
As shown in table 1, the sample size is divided evenly
Mental changes without Love—Zarghi
28 International Clinical Neuroscience Journal Vol 1, No 1, Summer 2014
between male and female. In other words, out of 120
participants, 60 subjects (50%) were men and 60 subjects
(50%) were women. Education variable shows that no
one was illiterate in the sample study, 18 (15%) were
under diploma, 45 (37.5%) had diploma, 47 (40%) had
Bachelor of Science and finally 9 (7.5%) had Master
of Science. It is clear that those who have Bachelor of
Science dedicated the most sample size to themselves.
The number of participants in age group of 15-24 was
6 (5%), in 25-34 group was 75 (62.5), in 35-44 group
was 19 (16%), in 45-54 group was 11 (9%) and in more
than 54 age group was 9 (7.5%). The mean and standard
deviation of the love variable total score were examined
according to age, sex and education (Table 2).
Based on this table, the average score of female in
love variable was 75.28. They fit to less likely in love
group according to normal test. Males’ average score
was 80.08. So, they fit to most likely in love group. The
average score of 15-24 age group was 87.33. It means
they were certainly in love. For age group of 25-34 the
average score was 76.94. Therefore, they were less likely
in love. 35-44 age group average score was 77.21. They
were also less likely in love. The average score of age
group of 45-54 was 77.18 which fit to less likely in
love group. And at the end, for age group of more than
54 the average score was 68.25 which means they were
most likely not in love. About education, the average
score of under diploma group was 78.22 whom were
less likely in love. The average score of diploma group
in love variable was 77.90 which mean they were less
likely in love, too. Those who had Bachelor and Master
of Science with average score of 77.76 and 77.33 also
were less likely in love.
Sex variable shows that female with average score
of 13.77 and male with average score of 11.09 both fit
to low anxiety group. The average score of participants
in age ranges of 15-24, 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54 was
7.50, 10.93, 17.42 and 13.09, respectively; which means
they all had low anxiety. For age group of more than
54, the average score was 23.50. Their anxiety status
was medium. In education variable, the average score
of under diploma, diploma, Bachelor of Science and
Master of Science groups were 17.24, 12.52, 11.02
and 9.42, relatively. So, they had low anxiety level
(Table 3).
About sex variable, table 4 shows that female with
average score of 14.89 and male with average score of
15.67 would place in a little depressed group. Participants
with age range of 15-24 had average score of 6.50 which
means they were normal. The average score of age group
of 25-34 was 13.83 which fit to a little depressed group.
Variable Mean Standard Deviation
Sex
Female 75.28 1.63
Male 80.08 1.24
Age
15-24 87.33 5.85
25-34 76.94 1.44
35-44 77.21 1.92
45-54 77.18 1.14
More than 54 68.25 1.48
Education
Under diploma 78.22 1.58
Diploma 77.90 1.59
Bachelor of science 77.76 1.29
Master of science 77.33 1.56
Table 2. Mean and standard deviation of love variable total score on
the basis of sex, age and education.
Variables frequency Percent
Sex
Female 45 50%
Male 45 50%
Education
Illiterate 22.2%
Under Diploma 16 17.7%
Diploma 42 46.6%
Bachelor of Science 22 24.4%
Master of Science 88.8%
Age
15-24 66.6%
25-34 60 66.7%
35-44 10 11.2%
45-54 88.9%
More than 54 66.6%
Table 1. Demographic variables.
Variable Mean Standard Deviation
Sex
Female 13.77 9.62
Male 11.09 8.08
Age
15-24 7.50 3.98
25-34 10.93 7.95
35-44 17.42 1.06
45-54 13.09 8.14
More than 54 23.50 1.18
Education
Under diploma 17.22 1.08
Diploma 12.52 9.34
Bachelor of science 11.02 7.76
Master of science 9.42 1.56
Table 3. Mean and standard deviation of the anxiety variable total
score on the basis of sex, age and education.
Mental changes without Love—Zarghi
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International Clinical Neuroscience Journal Vol 1, No 1, Summer 2014
Both age groups of 35-44 and 45-54 with average score
of 19.05 and 19.36 needed to consult with a psychiatrist.
And finally, age group participants of more than 54 were
recognized relatively depressed with average score of
25.75.
The first hypothesis of this study was to evaluate the
relationship rate of love with depression and anxiety. To
test this hypothesis, love correlation with depression and
anxiety was examined. Because all three variables are
quantitative, Pearson correlation was used.
According to table 5, love relationship with anxiety and
depression is statistically significant in reverse direction
(p-value <0.001). Hence, the anxiety and depression rates
will be reduced when love is increased.
Another hypothesis is the relationship between the rate
of anxiety and depression. To test this hypothesis, we
examine the relationship between anxiety and depression.
As both variables are quantitative, Pearson correlation
was used. Results can be seen in table 5 & 6.
The relationship between anxiety and depression is
statistically significant in straight direction (p-value
<0.001). Anxiety will be increased when depression in
also increased.
DISCUSSION
Romantic love which has been known as one of the
most powerful emotional states over time was inspirational
for some of the great achievements of human beings.
Love which its characteristic is caring about a person is
an emotionally complex contains sexual, cognitive and
behavioral elements that their analysis is so difficult if
not impossible7,8. Romantic love is an involuntary feeling,
unstable and difficult to control9-11. Why love rise to
such changes in feelings and behavior is a question
that researchers have attempted to provide a reasonable
answer for it. In this regard, they go through the study
of biochemical processes in the emotional trends of the
brain to find the answer12. Worldwide, romantic love has
a key role in courtship. This is the most basic aspects
of the partner selection system in human3. Researchers
believe that the amount of affection people experience
in their life depends upon social development, personal
compatibility and physical health. In addition, love plays
a functional role in the enjoyment and satisfaction of
marital life13. Studies have shown that the existence
of close relationship makes resistance against physical
diseases and mental disorders including depression and
anxiety14-16.
Previous researches suggest that the failure of romantic
relationships is accompanied by stress, anxiety and
aggression which cause outpatient referring to treatment
centers17. These results obtained also in the present study
(Table 8). Various perspectives have been presented on
the psychological nature of love and its compositions18.
Researchers found that love is the fulfillment of mutual
needs. Love is a process that couples create it themselves.
As long as both partners are committed to continue
their relationship and believe that love is what they
have chosen themselves the romantic relationship will
continue19. Recent studies indicate that 32% of women
are traumatized during their marriage due to emotional
problems and family conflicts20. Current study also noted
an increase in anxiety of women (Table 3).
Depression has multiple reasons. Also, some evidences
have been provided that the lack of social support
and intimacy with family play an important role in
development of depression. On the other hand, more
than half of the patients with depressive disorder are
faced with turbulent family function21. Johnson SM
suggests that marital discord is an important risk factor for
psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar
disorder, alcohol dependence and some of malignancies22.
Researchers argue that marital discord can often be the
starting point for hospitalization of depressed patients23.
Love Anxiety Depression
Correlation coefficient -0.40 -0.50
P value P<0.001 P<0.001
Table 5. Love relationship with anxiety and depression.
Variable Mean Standard Deviation
Sex
Female 14.89 1.13
Male 15.67 1.12
Age
15-24 6.50 5.31
25-34 13.83 1
35-44 19.05 1.29
45-54 19.36 1.39
More than 54 25.75 1.02
Education
Under diploma 20.16 1.21
Diploma 17.25 1.16
Bachelor of science 12.44 9.16
Master of science 8.42 7.80
Table 4. Mean and standard deviation of the depression variable total
score on the basis of sex, age and education.
Depression Anxiety
Correlation coefficient 0.068
P value <0.001
Table 6. The relationship between anxiety and depression
Mental changes without Love—Zarghi
30 International Clinical Neuroscience Journal Vol 1, No 1, Summer 2014
As a result, the cause of depression in women can be due
to failed romantic relationships and marriages24. Love
and loss are two sides of the same coin. Surely, every
relationship ends in death or divorce and love experience
leads to the inevitable confrontation of loss.
In fact, by understanding the nature and pattern of
love exact understanding of grief and mourning would
be possible. But in contrast, understanding the lack of a
love object teaches us the nature of love. It means that
the quality of loss experience is a reflection of quality of
relationships before loss. Loss is the common outcome of
love and is a cost which must be paid1. People experience
love and loss throughout their life. Experience of loss
can be considered a further resolving and settlement of
separation-individuation process. Indeed, grief returns
us to our core. Lack of love is accompanied by severe
symptoms such as depression and anxiety which appear
after the breakup of a romantic relationship. It lasts long
time which impairs the multiple contexts of individual’s
performance (academic, social and professional) and
would be followed by non-adaptive reactions.
Limited investigations have been performed on breakup
process of love relationship and its consequences. Of
course, this is a problem which is experienced enormously
in adolescence and adult period and has far-reaching
outcomes on person’s life.
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