Communication Mediators of the Link Between Depressive Symptoms and Relationship Satisfaction Among Army Soldiers

Leanne K. Knobloch, Erin D. Basinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: We evaluated two fundamental communication processes, self-disclosure and destructive conflict management strategies, as mediators of the link between depressive symptoms and relationship satisfaction among married U.S. soldiers. Background: Identifying the communication behaviors underlying why people with depressive symptoms are less satisfied with their romantic relationship is a high priority for research, and pinpointing relevant mediators is especially important among military personnel who face particular job stressors and relationship challenges. Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional self-report data from a representative sample of 4,196 married U.S. soldiers who participated in the all-Army component of the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS). Results: Mediation was apparent such that people's depressive symptoms had indirect associations with their relationship satisfaction through both their self-disclosure and their reports of their partner's destructive conflict management strategies. In contrast, mediation was not evident for their reports of their own destructive conflict management strategies. Conclusion: Less self-disclosure and more destructive conflict management strategies by a partner may be reasons why soldiers experiencing depressive symptoms are less satisfied with their romantic relationship. Implications: Communication skills training for self-disclosure and conflict management may help break the link between depressive symptoms and relationship dissatisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-436
Number of pages15
JournalFamily Relations
Volume70
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • conflict
  • depressive symptoms
  • military
  • relationship satisfaction
  • self-disclosure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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