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Am J Kidney Dis. 2001 Oct;38(4):839-46.

Depression and marital dissatisfaction in patients with end-stage renal disease and in their spouses.

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Departments of Psychology and Medicine, George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA.


Little research has been performed assessing patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) as parts of marital dyads or within family structures. Recent findings suggest patient interactions within such systems are associated with patient outcomes. To evaluate the relationship between level of patient depression and spouse psychosocial status, 55 couples in which one partner was undergoing chronic hemodialysis therapy for ESRD were interviewed. Two variables that alone and in interaction with one another were expected to relate to the spouse's level of depression and marital satisfaction were investigated: patient depression level and spouse's perceived social support. Depression was assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Spouses' levels of depressive affect correlated directly with patient BDI scores. A significant two-way interaction for spousal depression (patient depression and spousal support) supported viewing spouses' adjustment as a function of the interaction between spouse and patient factors. Additionally, a main effect of perceived spousal social support on spousal marital satisfaction indicated that spouses reporting high levels of social support had the least marital strain. The severity of the patient's illness did not correlate with any of the predictor variables or measures of spousal adjustment, but spouses reported significantly lower functional status for patients than did nephrologists. Spouse and patient levels of depression are related, although causal relationships cannot be determined by these studies. Moreover, spouse perception of marital satisfaction is related to depression scores. These findings suggest the patient with ESRD functions in a psychosocial dyad. Spouse psychosocial status could impact on the level of patient depression, and the spouse might be amenable to interventions that could improve patient outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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