- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 10, 2007

Getting married can be a fright-filled event. Single people dream of one day finding their special someone and tying the knot, but for those battling depression, the transition into 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 both 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.”

After reviewing 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 and that the quality of their marriages was similar to that of the non-depressed.

When Ms. Frech and Ms. Williams began to re-examine the first two waves of the survey, they realized that the depressed who married during the five-year period in between recorded a larger decline in the survey’s depression scale than depressed singles did.

In 1987, participants were given the first wave of the survey, which included questions about the quality of their marriages and a 12-item test to determine whether they were depressed.

Five years later, in 1992, the participants were given 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 unmarried counterparts did.

After filtering through more of the data, Ms. Frech and Ms. Williams noticed that participants who were depressed during the first survey and got married during the next five years recorded a 7.56 point drop on the depression scale.

“We found that the depressed benefit significantly from a transition into marriage,” Ms. Frech said. “Their gains in psychological well-being, relative to their non-married counterparts, were even greater than those among previously non-depressed” participants.

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