Thesis on Depression and Support
Depression and the Spouse of the Chronically III Person, On the whole, there is evidence that a partner’s chronic illness creates psychological distress for a spouse which may result in depression. Most of these studies involved chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive impairment, congestive heart failure, multiple sclerosis, renal failure, rheumatoid arthritis, and stroke.
Nearly all the investigators used cross-sectional and correlational designs. In general, men and spouses with poorer health were underrepresented in study samples. Although a few studies included a socioeconomic description of the sample, socioeconomic status was not included as a predictor variable for depression.
Perceived adequacy of financial support and reliance on children for financial aid placed spouse caregivers of cognitively impaired partners at increased risk for depression. The link between the severity of illness and depression was supported in several studies. As impaired partners’ cognitive function decreased, their spouses’ risk for depression increased. Among caregiver spouses whose partner’s illness was more severe, those who had greater network support were less depressed than those caregivers with low network support.
The impaired partner’s depression did not predict the caregiver spouse’s depression. The relationship of social support to caregiver spouse depression in chronic illness is not clear. Perceived adequacy of social support and participation in social activities did not influence the risk of depression in a study of caregiver spouses of partners with cognitive impairments.
An emotion-focused coping style, characterized by anxious preoccupation, avoidance, fatalism, and helplessness was related to higher levels of depression. Overall, the research on depression in the person with a diagnosis of cancer yielded the following patterns. Approximately one of every three persons with a diagnosis of cancer experienced depression. No clear relationships existed between the demographic characteristics of gender, age, socioeconomic status (SES), or education and depression. Involuntary unemployment was associated with higher levels of depression.
A negative view of health is related to higher levels of depression, while physical limitations and severity of illness have positive relationships with depression. Social support has an inverse relationship with depression. Having an emotion-focused coping style has been linked to increased depression.