Marital attributions in spouses of depressed patients

  • Sue Ann K. Bauserman
  • Ileana Arias
  • W. Edward Craighead


Causal attributions (i.e., locus, stability, globality) and responsibility attributions (i.e., bad intent, selfish motivation, blame) were assessed in the spouses of 27 depressed psychiatric inpatients and 30 nondepressed dyads to test predictions derived from Hooley's (1987) “symptom-controllability” model of marital distress. Results indicated that (1) depressed patients and their spouses were less dyadically adjusted than nondepressed spouses, (2) causal and responsibility attributions about depressive behaviors predicted lower dyadic adjustment, and (3) attributions of causality mediated the relationship between group status (depressed or nondepressed) and dyadic adjustment among spouses who had higher expectations for their partner to change. Results suggest that among spouses with a high expectancy for change, depression may be a risk factor for marital distress.

Key words

depression marital distress attributions 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sue Ann K. Bauserman
    • 1
  • Ileana Arias
    • 2
  • W. Edward Craighead
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatrySt. Louis University Heath Sciences CenterUSA
  2. 2.University of GeorgiaAthens
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryDuke University Medical CenterUSA

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