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Unformatted text preview: Psychopathology and Marital Satisfaction: The Importance of Evaluating Both Partners Mark A. Whisman University of Colorado at Boulder Lisa A. Uebelacker Brown University Medical School and Butler Hospital Lauren M. Weinstock University of Colorado at Boulder Using path analysis and hierarchical linear modeling, the authors evaluated the associations between both partners’ level of depression and anxiety, as measured by Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory–2 (MMPI-2) content scales, and both partners’ level of marital satisfaction among married couples ( N 5 774) that participated in the MMPI restandardization study (J. N. Butcher, W. G. Dahlstrom, J. R. Graham, A. Tellegen, & B. Kaemmer, 1989). Results indicated that marital satisfaction was predicted by the person’s own level of anxiety and depression (i.e., actor effects) and by his or her spouse’s level of depression only (i.e., partner effects). Findings also indicated that (a) there were no significant gender differences in the magnitude of effects, (b) depression effects were significantly stronger than anxiety effects, (c) actor effects were significantly stronger than partner effects, and (d) there were interactions between actor and partner effects for depression only. There is a growing body of research findings indicating that psychopathology is intricately linked with marital functioning (for a review, see Whisman & Uebelacker, 2003). Furthermore, be- cause relationship satisfaction “dominates the attention of mar- riage researchers” (Norton, 1983, p. 141) and has been identified as the “final common pathway” (Jacobson, 1985, p. 327) in re- search on close relationships, much of the research on psychopa- thology and marital functioning has focused on relationship satisfaction. In studying the association between psychopathology and rela- tionship satisfaction, investigators have generally adopted one of two perspectives. From the first perspective, investigators have evaluated the association between one person’s level of psycho- pathology and his or her own level of relationship satisfaction (i.e., actor effects). For example, investigators have studied actor effects to test the proposal that marital satisfaction is causally related to psychopathology, insofar as people develop symptoms of psycho- pathology in response to (e.g., Beach, Sandeen, & O’Leary, 1990), or as a method of coping with (e.g., McCrady & Epstein, 1995), problems in their relationships. Investigators have also studied actor effects to evaluate the social (i.e., interpersonal) conse- quences of mental health problems (e.g., Goering, Lin, Campbell, Boyle, & Offord, 1996). Results from prior research indicate that compared with individuals without a disorder, people seeking treatment for mood disorders (e.g., Bauserman, Arias, & Craig- head, 1995; Vega et al., 1993), anxiety disorders (e.g., Arrindell & Emmelkamp, 1986; Chambless et al., 2002), and substance use disorders (e.g., Fals-Stewart,...
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This note was uploaded on 05/12/2010 for the course PSYCHOLOGY vp taught by Professor Assistant during the Spring '10 term at École Normale Supérieure.
- Spring '10
- Clinical Psychology