If you're experiencing marital stress, you have a bigger issue to worry about - depression, according to a recent study in the Journal of Psychophysiology, which found that chronic marital stress is linked to symptoms of depression.
Over 300 couples were surveyed about their marital stress—about how often they felt let down by their partner or how often their spouse criticized them—and their symptoms of depression. Nine years later, they repeated those surveys with the same couples. They also asked participants to undergo emotional response testing, which basically involved measuring each person's frown muscles as they looked at a mix of negative, positive, and neutral photographs.
The connections were shocking. Participants who reported the highest marital stress in the study also showed the most signs of depression. Those with higher marital stress also smiled less at the positive photos, an indication that they weren't able to fully enjoy positive experiences (a sign of depression).
However, the study only showed correlation, not causation, which means that while it's absolutely possible that marital stress can make you feel depressed, it's also possible that suffering from depression and depression-related symptoms might also impact the amount of marital stress that you report feeling.
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