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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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Internalizing Psychopathology Domains and Marital Satisfaction: Specific and General Connections Examined Cross-Sectionally and Longitudinally

There is now robust research demonstrating that higher levels of internalizing psychopathology are associated with lower levels of marital satisfaction. This significant effect has most frequently been demonstrated cross-sectionally in large, epidemiologic samples using DSM-defined mood (i.e., depression) and anxiety (i.e., generalized anxiety, panic) disorders. In the current study, we use an approach based on the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) framework, which views psychopathology as consisting of higher-order domains that are made up of lower order subfactors, syndromes, symptoms, and traits. In previous work, higher order domains of externalizing and internalizing psychopathology were related to marital distress in a sample of long-term married couples. In the current study, this work is extended to newlywed couples reporting on current symptoms. This sample of couples (N=101) was recruited for a three-wave study (baseline, 6 months, and 12 months) of personality, psychopathology, and relationship functioning. At each wave, they completed the IDAS to measure specific types of internalizing psychopathology features, as well as a commonly used measure of marital satisfaction. We examine the association between marital satisfaction and specific aspects of internalizing, to determine which scales were significantly related, and of those, which had the strongest associations with satisfaction.

Susan South
Purdue University


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