Depressive Symptom and Financial Conflict Relate Over Time Among Couples

Abstract

Since the housing market collapsed in the late 2000′s, researchers have explored the link between finances and mental health in more depth. Although there is discussion around how financial conflict is related to mental health illnesses, it remains unclear how financial conflict and depressive symptoms are related bidirectionally over time. Using an integrated family stress model and stress generation theoretical lens, we sought to investigate bidirectional relations between financial conflict trajectories and depressive symptom trajectories among partnered men and women. Using 1273 German couples and multivariate latent growth models, we tested this bidirectional association over three waves. Our results revealed that men’s and women’s initial financial conflict and initial depressive symptoms were related. This bidirectional association, however, was more nuanced when we examined these associations longitudinally. Men’s and women’s initial depressive symptoms were associated with the partner perceiving greater financial conflict over the three waves. In addition men’s initial financial conflict was associated with increases in their partner’s depressive symptoms over the three waves. These findings begin to address a gap literature, which has not yet explored the bidirectional association between financial conflict and depressive symptoms among couples over time. These findings also offer insights for practitioners to explore with couples regarding the relation between their financial conflicts and depressive symptoms.

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Morgan, P., Lim, H. Depressive Symptom and Financial Conflict Relate Over Time Among Couples. J Fam Econ Iss (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10834-020-09693-w

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Keywords

  • Bidirectional association
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Financial conflict
  • Multivariable latent growth model