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Want A Stronger Relationship? Extra Love Must Be Showed When Partners Face Depression

Update Date: Feb 13, 2017 07:02 PM EST

In the marriage vows in the Christian religion, the couple is asked by the priest if they accept their partner basically through good times and the bad times until death do they part. Now, a current study examining the relationship between couple relations with depression. The study found that to have a stronger relationship, the researchers strongly advises showing your partner extra love especially when they are depressed.

The study, conducted by relationship researchers from the University of Alberta, examined how intrapersonal and interpersonal factors affect an individual's self-esteem and symptoms of depression. Moreover, the study also examined how stress comes into play in maintaining the relationship as well as in helping or worsening the mental and physical health of an individual.

The researchers surveyed around 1,407 couple enrolled in the Panel Analysis of Intimate Relations and Family Dynamics (PARIFAM) study. The survey, conducted over course of 6 years, asked the couples on their levels of depression and self-esteem. The participating couples were also asked how they supported each other during their dark times.

The study, published in the journal Developmental Psychology, found that the support given to each other's partner especially when the significant other is stress contributes to the development of depression and affects the self-esteem of the individual in the future. The results of the study also demonstrated how low self-esteem in males is indicative of future depression. In addition, when a partner is found to have higher depressive symptoms, the other partner will most likely also develop higher depressive symptoms a year later.

Examining on how mutual support affects the dynamics of the relationship in regards to self-esteem and depression, the researchers found that males get a boost on their self-esteem from supporting their depressed partners. On the other hand, women who receive support from their partners during their dark times will lead to an increase in self-esteem and reduce depressive symptoms in the future.

However, the researchers also noted that those people who had better mental health before suffering from low self-esteem and depression are most likely to get over their predicament and able to manage their stress better. But people who are already suffering from depression or have low self-esteem will most likely lash out at their partners. These people see their partner's support as an affirmation of their feelings of helplessness and depression.

The study recommends that people who are depressed should be given or shown extra love when they are feeling down. The researchers also suggested that in the face of what their partner is suffering from, their partners should offer them "invisible support". Invisible support is the kind of support where your significant other may not be aware of what you've done to make things better for them as they struggle through their depression. This way, the depressed individual will cope and fight better against their problems and come better out of it making them strong and your relationship even stronger after the ordeal.

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