Although marital dissatisfaction and social contact factors have been related to depression, the impact of these variables on a heterogeneous population is unclear. To determine risk for depression resulting from the absence of social support variables, 267 married adults (131 males, 136 females), with a mean age of 47 years, completed the Marital Adjustment Test, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Social Isolation Scale. An analysis of the results showed that the quality of the marital relationship and frequency or amount of positive social contact with adults other than the spouse were significantly related to depressive symptomatology for both men and women. These two variables accounted for 16% of the variance in depression. Analyses of risk for depression showed that individuals having the least support were 13 times more likely to be depressed than individuals with the highest levels of social support. These findings suggest that treatment for depression and marital distress should attempt to build the individual's social network rather than fostering social isolation through individual psychotherapy. (Author/BL)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (Philadelphia, PA, April 6-9, 1983).