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By John M. Grohol, PsyD
Founder & Editor-in-Chief

 

Not surprisingly, people who suffer from depression often have difficult romantic relationships — when they have them at all. They tend to take out their depression more on their partner than they would a stranger or friend.

 

In a relationship where one person is depressed, depressed individuals have a “higher tendency than non-depressed individuals to repeatedly ask for reassurance, demand support in a hostile manner, and display negative behaviors, such as a reduced tendency to smile. Consequently, depressed individuals often burden or alienate their partners.”

 

People in romantic relationships can typically infer and understand their partners’ thoughts and feelings with a fair amount of accuracy. Even in complex social interactions, couples often know what each other is thinking about the situation. A new study suggests that depression can alter this empathic accuracy in women, but not in men.

 

Researchers tested their hypothesis in a laboratory experiment that depression might impact our ability to accurately infer our partner’s thoughts and feelings by examining 51 couples who had been living together for a minimum of 6 months.

 

Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/07/19/depression-and-empathy-in-couples/



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