Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Kristina Coop Gordon

Committee Members

Gregory Stuart, Todd Moore, L. Christian Elledge


The present study builds on prior research that has evaluated the longitudinal association between relationship adjustment and depressive symptoms during pregnancy and the postpartum period by focusing on a group of women at high risk for perinatal depression, in this case, Latinos. Most studies have evaluated the association between relationship functioning and depressive symptoms during the postpartum period. However, depression occurs as frequently during pregnancy as in the postpartum period (Evans et al., 2001) and has been shown to be an important predictor of postpartum depression (Milgrom et al., 2008) in Caucasian samples. Since poor communication has been linked to higher levels of marital dissatisfaction in Caucasian samples, it is crucial to explore how communication may play a role in the relationship between marital dissatisfaction and depression in Latinos. Additionally, acculturation levels may not only impact the relationship between marital satisfaction and depression, it may also impact communication. Knowledge in this area could contribute more information on how to effectively intervene with Latinos, and the variables that need to be targeted in order to prevent the onset, recurrence, and greater severity of depression. 175 couples living in a small Southeastern city participated in the study as part of a larger longitudinal study. SEM analyses indicated that relationship satisfaction did not mediate the relationship between communication and postpartum depression. Results also indicated that acculturation did not moderate the relationship between communication and relationship satisfaction, and that the indirect effect was not significant at varying levels of acculturation. However, communication did significantly predict relationship satisfaction for men but not women. Further exploratory analyses indicated that women’s level of acculturation marginally predicted women’s depressive symptoms at 12 months following enrollment. Specifically, the less acculturated women were, the more depressed they were. Findings also replicate previous findings from Caucasian samples that show that satisfaction and communication are significantly related across time points both within their own repots as well as with reports of their partner. Implications are discussed.

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