In weird gender news, research has found that a woman’s depression can inhibit her ability to understand her partner’s feelings, which can make alienation worse. Not only that, but her partner becomes less empathic too, which only adds to the negative brew.
“When women are depressed, the relationship suffers more,” ScienceDaily reports.
In a lab, scientists observed couples talking for 12 minutes in which one partner asked the other for help; the couples switched roles halfway through. The couples watched the videotaped conversations later and wrote about it; the couples also kept a three-week diary of their feelings about the relationship.
From both tests, the researchers found that the more depressed the woman was, the less accurately she inferred her partner’s feelings. In the daily-life portion, the specificity of depression’s effect to negative (vs. positive) feelings was revealed. Men’s own depression did not affect their empathic accuracy.
The takeaway: If you’re depressed, get help, whether you’re a woman or a man. Researchers suggest depressed women bring their partner to couples therapy rather than going alone.
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