Marital functioning and depressive symptoms: Evidence for a stress generation model

Joanne Davila, Thomas N. Bradbury, Catherine L. Cohan, Shelly Tochluk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

289 Scopus citations


The present study applied C. L. Hammen's (1991) stress generation model to depressive symptoms in the context of marriage. The authors predicted that depressive symptoms would lead to increased marital stress, which would in turn lead to increased depressive symptoms. Social support processes were hypothesized to function as a mechanism by which dysphoric spouses generate stress. Hypotheses were tested in a sample of 154 newly wed couples. Depressive symptoms, marital stress, support perceptions, and support behavior (assessed using observational procedures) were assessed initially and 1 year later. Results provided evidence of marital stress generation among wives, and social support processes functioned as a mechanism of stress generation for wives. Results highlight the cyclical course of dysphoria and stress among wives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-861
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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