Couples' Depression Symptoms, Partners' Demand/Withdraw Communication, and Steps They Have Taken to End their Relationship, within a Clinic Population
Epstein, Norman B
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Research has consistently demonstrated an association between an individual's experience of depression and distress within their romantic relationship. Demand/withdraw communication has been identified as one possible mediator of this association, as depression has been shown to increase the likelihood that couples engage in this pattern, and this pattern has been shown to be destructive to a couple's relationship. Using the principles of family systems theory, this study examines whether depression may be associated with the dissolution of romantic relationships, using an Actor Partner Independence Model (APIM) analysis. The sample included couples who had sought therapy at the Center for Healthy Families at the University of Maryland. Results indicated both direct and indirect significant pathways between a partner's experience of depression and both partners taking steps toward leaving the relationship, with perceptions of demand / withdraw patterns as mediators. The study's findings have implications for clinical practice.