Three groups of maritally distressed couples were compared in terms of their communication and response to cognitive behavioral marital therapy (BMT). These groups were (a) couples in which one spouse also was depressed at pretest, (b) couples in which one spouse also showed psychopathology other than depression, and (c) couples who showed no symptoms of individual psychopathology. Findings revealed that the groups differed at pretest in age, number of positive comments, and number of negative communication expressed. Couples in the depressed group were the oldest, the least maritally satisfied, and expressed the most negative communication. Second, response to therapy was explored among the groups. BMT was an effective treatment modality for couples compared to a wait-list control condition. In addition, BMT was successful in significantly increasing marital adjustment for all three groups and decreasing the rates of negative communication in the three groups. Finally, BMT was able to significantly decrease both the level of depression among depressed spouses and the level of psychopathology among psychopathological spouses.
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