Depression and Relationships

Monday, 25 June 2012

Depression and Relationships

Major Depressive Disorder impacts a significant amount of people across the world, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) predicting that by 2030 depression will account for the highest disability in the world (WHO, 2008). When focused on the Individual this is a staggering prospect, but it is even more severe when considered in the context of the individual’s social field. The impact of depression is not only felt by the individual who is diagnosed but also their families and those with whom they have significant relationships.

It is reported that depression and relationship problems commonly occur in a bidirectional fashion where depressed married individuals report poorer marital adjustment, and poor martial adjustment has been seen to predict increases in depressive symptoms (Whisman & Beach, 2012). Some researchers have suggested that the ability of females empathic accuracy (ability to infer and understand their partners’ thoughts and feelings) is reduced when depressed (Gadassi, Mor & Rafaeli, 2011). This finding is not seen directly in males; however partners of depressed females who display the reduced empathic accuracy do tend to show a similar reduction of their partner.  As such, couples therapy, and interventions that focus on the individual’s family system, is a promising therapeutic option for people in distressed relationships (Whisman & Beach, 2012)