Depressive marital interactions : the role of anger



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Marital interactions of depressed women were compared with those of nondepressed women, to test hypotheses of covert and interpersonal expressions of anger suggested in previous literature (e.g. Freud, 1917; Coyne, 1976). Self perceptions of covert and overt anger, and spouse and trained observers' ratings of anger, assessed following a ten minute discussion of marital disagreements, were compared. Twenty-two couples were studied, eleven of which were depressed women and their husbands, and eleven of which were normal controls. Self, spouse and observer ratings were measured with the MAACL hostility subscale (Zuckerman & Lubin, 1965) under separate sets of instructions; and all statements of the discussion were rated by trained observers as negative, positive or neutral and about the partner, self or other. Depressed women felt more covert anger than they perceived themselves to be expressing overtly and were rated by their spouses as more angry than they perceived themselves. It was concluded that previous hypotheses of anger expression are incomplete and will require further research to specify communication patterns for different subgroups of depressives.



Depressed persons--Family relationships, Communication in marriage