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Changes in Dyadic Coping and Distress Among Couples Facing Unemployment Open Access

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The primary purpose of the current study was to examine how dyadic coping interactions of social support and undermining change over time and their relationship with depressive symptoms among couples facing unemployment. The research design was a 1 year longitudinal correlational field study employing repeated measures and cross-lag autoregressive models among 417 job seekers and their partners. The results highlight the significance of full time reemployment status as the strongest predictor of changes in depressive symptoms over time. Depressive symptoms declined for those achieving full time reemployment. Depression was a statistically significant predictor of changes in support and undermining at the earliest measured time points. Greater depressive symptoms led to decreased social support and increased undermining interactions indicating that the development of depressive symptoms was associated with the quality of the interpersonal interactions among partners. A main effect was found for social support interactions across time, as there was a steady decline in support among jobseekers and partners regardless of employment status. Additionally, social support was a statistically significant predictor of inverse changes in undermining across all measured time periods. Undermining was strongly predictive of changes in support at the earlier measured time point and had marginal effects as time went on. Results of Chi Square difference tests indicated no difference in the effects of support and undermining on depression and, furthermore, no gender differences between male and female coping processes and depressive symptoms. Implications for clinical interventions and future research ideas are discussed.

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