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Longitudinal Associations Between Depressive Symptoms and Quality of Romantic Relationships in Late Adolescence
Journal of Youth and Adolescence  (IF4.381),  Pub Date : 2021-10-18, DOI: 10.1007/s10964-021-01511-2
Joosten, Daniek H. J., Nelemans, Stefanie A., Meeus, Wim, Branje, Susan

While youth with higher levels of depressive symptoms appear to have lower quality romantic relationships, little is known about longitudinal associations for both men and women. Therefore, this study used longitudinal dyadic design to examine both concurrent and longitudinal associations between depressive symptoms and positive as well as negative aspects of romantic relationship quality across two waves one- or two-years apart. The sample consisted of 149 Dutch stable heterosexual couples (149 females and 142 males participated at T1) in a stable romantic relationship in late adolescence with a mean age of 20.43 years old at the first wave. Actor-Partner Interdependence models were used to examine potential bidirectional associations over time between depressive symptoms and romantic relationship quality, above and beyond potential concurrent associations and stability of the constructs over time, from the perspective of both romantic partners. Results consistently indicated that men and women who reported higher levels of depressive symptoms perceived less positive aspects (intimacy and support) and more negative aspects (conflict) in their romantic relationship over time. In addition, unexpectedly, when men and women perceived more positive relationship aspects, their partners reported higher levels of depressive symptoms over time. These findings stress that depressive symptoms can interfere with the formation of high-quality romantic relationships.