Researchers were, in a new investigation, able to determine that hostility from their husbands makes women in marriages more likely to suffer from depression. The same study also showed that the opposite did not hold true. Husbands whose wives behave in a hostile manner are not affected mentally by this aspect, and let their women behave in which way they see fit. The experts have demonstrated that a more welcoming and warm behavior on the part of the men also tends to reduce the negative symptoms of depression in women.
In the experiments that led to these conclusions, scientists looked at about 416, twenty-minute videos of married couple, who were divided into two behavior groups. The first was the one in which participants behaved in an anti-social manner. This means that individuals in the recording were self-centered, defiant and without constraint. The second category was of videos in which people exhibited hostile types of behavior, including being angry, rejecting and critical. All the participants were also asked to rate their level of depression. The scientists then cross-referenced their conclusions of the videos with the questionnaires to extract the correlations between the two.
“In the study, husbands' marital hostility was significantly related to increases in wives' symptoms of depression. The more hostile and anti-social behavior exhibited by husbands, the more depressed their wives were after three years. These findings suggest that husbands' treatment of their wives significantly impacts their psychological well-being and that hostile behavior has a lasting effect on couples that continues throughout their marriages,” University of Missouri researcher and study team member Christine Proulx explains. She adds that behaviors including interrupting conversations, sneers, yelling, eye-rolling, and being snippy with a spouse were defined as hostile.
“It is possible that women's well-being is more closely tied to the well-being of their close relationships than is the case for men. So they may be more vulnerable than husbands are when there is hostility in the marriage,” Proulx reveals for LiveScience
. Experts say that the new investigation offers a new outlook on depression, which is a very serious and widespread condition. According to official statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 10 percent of the general population in the United States is suffering from some symptoms of depression. Details of the new study appear in a recent issue of the respected scientific Journal of Family Psychology.
“It's critical that professionals ask people experiencing depression about their close relationships and recognize that their spouse's behavior influences how they feel about life and themselves, especially among women. It is important to intervene at the couple level and make spouses aware that how they act toward each other has a long-term effect on their emotional and physical well-being,” the expert concludes.