Marital satisfaction and depressive symptoms among Chinese older couples.Aging Ment Health. 2014; 18(1):11-8.AM
Depression is one of the most prevalent mental disorders among older people. Consistent with the Marital Discord Model of Depression (MDMD), research in Western cultures has found that marital distress is one of the risk factors for depression among older adults. However, the effect of marital distress on depression among older adults has not been examined in a collectivistic society, such as China.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between marital satisfaction and depressive symptoms in a sample of Chinese older adults. Considering the dyadic nature of the data, the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model was used to test for the actor and partner effects.
The study investigated 139 older couples who were recruited from communities in Beijing, the capital of China. The Lock-Wallace Marital Adjustment and the CES-D scales were administered to the participants.
The results indicated that neither of the actor effects was significant. One of the partner effects was significant, with the husbands' marital satisfaction predicting their wives' depressive symptoms.
The MDMD was only partially supported among older couples in China. An asymmetrical pattern of cross-spouse effects was found, suggesting that the husbands' perception of marital dissatisfaction could significantly predict their wives' depressive symptoms.