Major depressive disorder and depressive symptomatology as predictors of husband to wife physical aggression

Shari Feldbau-Kohn, Richard E. Heyman, K. Daniel O'Leary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study investigated the association between a husband's depressive symptomatology and the frequency of physical aggression toward his wife, as well as a husband's Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and the frequency of physical aggression toward his wife. We assessed physically aggressive men who volunteered for treatment with their wives (N = 89). Almost one third had moderate levels of depressive symptomatology (Beck Depression Inventory [BDI ≥ 14]), but only 11% met criteria for MDD (based on a structured interview [SCID]). Although the rate of MDD was not absolutely high, it was higher than that reported in a community sample (i.e., 3%). A significant relationship between increased depressive symptomatology and frequency of physical aggression was found, but the association was most likely accounted for by self-reported anger. Related contextual factors including marital discord and psychological aggression are addressed. Theoretical and treatment implications are discussed, including the severity of the treatment population (volunteer vs. court mandated), and severity of the depression (symptomatology vs. clinical diagnosis).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-360
Number of pages14
JournalViolence and Victims
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Health(social science)
  • Law

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