Consequences of Depression During Adolescence: Marital Status and Marital Functioning in Early Adulthood

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Abstract

In previous studies, depression has been associated with both marital status and marital distress. Unfortunately, given the cross-sectional design of most of this research, the temporal nature of these associations is unclear. The authors examined the marital functioning of young adults as a function of whether they received psychiatric diagnoses of major depressive disorder or nonaffective psychiatric disorder during adolescence. Depression during adolescence was found to predict higher rates of marriage among younger women and subsequent marital dissatisfaction. This pattern of results appears to be specific to depression: The presence during adolescence of a nonaffective psychiatric disorder was unrelated to subsequent marital functioning. These findings highlight the potentially adverse consequences of depression in adolescence and underscore the importance of prevention and early treatment efforts.

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