Tell Me What You Need: An Examination of Dialectical Tensions Within Romantic Relationships with Depressed Partners
Advisor(s) - Committee Chair
Holly Payne, Ph.D. (Director) Jennifer Mize Smith, Ph.D., Angela Jerome, Ph.D.
Department of Communication
Master of Arts
While depression communication in romantic relationships has been heavily studied in psychological-based research, there is a lack of research grounded in communication theory. By using Relational Dialectics Theory (RDT) as a framework, communicative tensions and coping strategies were explored within relationships where one partner suffered from depression. Through eleven semi-structured interviews with both depressed and non-depressed individuals in a relationship, three major dialectical tensions and two major maintenance strategies emerged. Findings suggest that couples with a depressed partner faced unique and challenging tensions including involvement/distance, openness/closedness, and revelation/concealment. A number of positive and negative coping strategies for managing the tensions emerged, including selection and integration, with different coping strategies emerging for depressed or nondepressed partners. Practical implications, limitations, and future research directions are addressed.
Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Other Communication
Goodwin, Leah Christine, "Tell Me What You Need: An Examination of Dialectical Tensions Within Romantic Relationships with Depressed Partners" (2020). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 3224.