Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Genevieve E. Chandler

Second Advisor

Karen A. Kalmakis

Third Advisor

Naomi R. Gerstel

Subject Categories



Individuals who live with depressed partners have increased rates of anxiety, depression, and difficult coping. They experience greater burdens of parenting and financial responsibilities, and often feel isolated and restricted. Much of this is similar to what has been termed caregiver burden in the context of other illnesses. This study used qualitative interviews to explore the day-to-day experience of what it is like to live with a depressed partner, as well as to test the fit of the term `caregiver burden' in the context of depression. Participants were seven individuals who were in long-term relationships with depressed partners. Analysis of the interviews identified four stages of a helping process that individuals go through as they care for their depressed partners and transition from partners to caregivers. These individuals are experts on their partners and have important perspective and essential support to offer when their depressed partners are seeking care. Findings underline the importance of advanced nursing and medical care that recognizes the significant burden that nondepressed partners experience and the important ways that they can help their depressed partners seek and stay with treatment.


Included in

Nursing Commons