The impact a first episode of major depression has on marital dissatisfaction: Is remission associated with improvement in dissatisfaction?

Jaime Moyá, Adrián Cano Prous, Antonio Seva Fernández, Álvaro Alonso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Prior research suggests that marital dissatisfaction is associated with Major Depression (MD). The purpose of this study was to investigate whether remission from a first episode of MD is associated with improvement in marital dissatisfaction and whether the degree of marital dissatisfaction at the time of diagnosis has an influence on the outcome of MD. Methods: The Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, the Dyadic Adjustment Scale and the Areas of Change Questionnaire were administered to 59 married couples in which one member fulfilled DSM-IV criteria for a first Episode of MD, but her husband (or his wife) did not suffer any mental disorder, and to 53 control couples at 6 outpatient clinics, at baseline and after a 6-months follow-up. Results: The level of marital dissatisfaction in couples with a persistent depressed participant decreased in comparison to couples without a depressed subject (p < 0.05 CI: - 10.6 and -0.2), but there were no significant differences between couples in which the depressed spouse recovered from MD and comparison couples. Regardless of MD's severity, high levels of satisfaction were associated with a higher probability to recover. Limitations: The follow-up period was short and we assessed the level of marital dissatisfaction using self-report measures. Conclusion: This study shows that MD has an influence on Marital Satisfaction even at a very early stage of the Depressive Disorder. What is more, changes in any of the two factors (MD or marital dissatisfaction) influenced the other factor's course; thus an effective intervention on MD may have a positive impact on marital dissatisfaction as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-58
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • Dyadic adjustment
  • First episode
  • Longitudinal study
  • Major depression
  • Marital dissatisfaction
  • Marital distress


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