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Marital Status and Depression: The Importance of Coping Resources

Ronald C. Kessler and Marilyn Essex
Social Forces
Vol. 61, No. 2 (Dec., 1982), pp. 484-507
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2578238
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2578238
Page Count: 24
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Marital Status and Depression: The Importance of Coping Resources
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Abstract

In this paper we advance a heretofore underdeveloped interpretation of the commonly observed association between marital status and depression: that married people have comparatively low depression rates because they are, for several reasons, emotionally less damaged by stressful experiences than are nonmarried people. Most previous research has argued that marriage is associated with low rates of depression because it shields the individual from exposure to stress. However, our analysis shows quite clearly that more is involved. Studying a sample of role strains, we show that the emotional impact of these are less damaging than they are for the nonmarried. Analysis reveals that several different social and intrapsychic resources are implicated in this comparatively low emotional responsiveness.

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