Are the lasting effects from teenage depression or anger affecting your marriage decades later?
A 25 year Canadian study has determined that untreated anger or depression we experience as young adults can still affect our romantic relationships years later. Titled Depression and Anger Across 25 Years: Changing Vulnerabilities in the VSA Model, the study was recently published in the Journal of Family Psychology.
Researchers at the University of Alberta began the study in 1985. There were 178 women and 163 men who participated in the study. They were surveyed during what researchers considered the adult transitional years of 18 to 25 years old. They were then surveyed at 32 years of age to find out what their perception of their own stress levels were. At the age of 43, they were surveyed to find out what the quality of their intimate relationships was.
The major finding of the 25 years of study was that adults who had struggled with depression and/or anger issues during their adult transitional years had higher stress levels at age 32 that greatly affected their romantic relationships, and even how they interacted with others in general, at age 43.
In many cases, even the joys of major life events, such as the birth of a child or achieving professional success, was not enough to overcome the deep impact that teenage depression and anger left on these individuals.
Lead researcher Matthew Johnson says the study results should encourage people to seek help in dealing with issues in order to ensure they don’t cripple chances of happiness in later years. ‘We assume or hope that high school experiences fade away and don’t necessarily resonate 25 years later. The fact that symptoms of depression and expressions of anger can endure over many large events in life shows how important it is to deal with mental health early. Sometimes, problems don’t just dissipate. How you grow and change over those early years becomes crucial to future happiness,’ he said.
If you have been living in an unhappy marriage and are considering divorce, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney to find out what your options may be.