Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 79 Issue 1 (March 2006), Pages 1-149

Couples' experiences of the support process in depression: A phenomenological analysis (pages 1-21)

This qualitative, phenomenological study examined how partners attempted to support a depressed spouse and how each member of the couple experienced the support process. Participants were nine people who were or had been depressed, who were interviewed jointly with their partners on two separate occasions. The interviews, analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis, yielded 10 themes, grouped into two domains. The first domain related to the challenges couples faced over the trajectory of a depressive episode, and the second related to issues in the support process, as experienced by each member of the couple. Couples' accounts of the support process were characterized by a pervasive sense of bewilderment and struggle. The findings underline the importance of including the partner in psychological interventions for depression.

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