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Depressed get hitched and happy
Fresh-cut white roses line the pews of the church; under the muffled chatter of the audience, the organist begins to play the wedding march. Heads turns. Eyes stare.
The doors to the church swing open and the bride enters the chapel and sees the groom waiting for his happily-ever-after to make her way down the aisle.
Getting married can be a fright-filled event. Singles dream of one day finding their special someone and tying the knot, but for singles battling depression, wedded bliss may add another benefit: improved psychological health.
According to a study by researchers at Ohio State University, the depressed benefit from the transition into marriage in two ways: psychologically and in the quality of their marriage.
“We expected that the quality of marital communication and emotional support the depressed would offer to their spouses would be less than the quality of communication or support offered by the non-depressed person,” doctoral student Adrianne Frech said. “Because they need more emotional support than a non-depressed person, depressed people may make excessive demands on their spouses.”
Reviewing data in the National Survey of Families and Households, Ms. Frech and assistant professor Kristi Williams discovered that the transition into marriage boosts psychological health for the depressed.
When Ms. Frech and Mrs. Williams began to re-examine the first two waves of the survey, they realized that the depressed who married during the five-year period between the two waves registered a larger decline in the survey’s depression scale than depressed singles did.
In 1987, participants underwent the first portion of the survey, which included questions about the quality of their marriages and a 12-item test to determine whether or not they were depressed. Five years later, in 1992, the participants were administered the same survey and depression test.
According to the study, married participants scored, on average, 3.42 points lower on the depression scale than their married counterparts. Ms. Frech and Mrs. Williams noticed that participants who were depressed during the first wave of the survey and married during the five-year span between waves recorded a 7.56 drop on the depression scale.
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