Spouses, Discrimination, and Depressive Symptoms (1 CE)

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Number of Credits: 1

This course is for:  Clinical psychologists, Counselors, and LMFTs

Course By: Michael Parent, PhD

Content By: Donnelly, R., Robinson, B. A., & Umberson, D. (2019). Can spouses buffer the impact of discrimination on depressive symptoms? An examination of same-sex and different-sex marriages. Society and Mental Health, 9, 192-210. doi: 10.1177/2156869318800157

Course Description: Discrimination is defined as unfair or prejudicial treatment of a person due to personal characteristics. Discrimination has negative consequences for mental health, but social support can provide a buffer against the effects of discrimination. The authors of the accompanying paper completed a cross-sectional quantitative study of 418 couples (836 individuals) to better understand how social support in the form of spousal support buffers against discrimination for people in same-sex and different-sex marriages. The authors present data on depression, social support, and discrimination by relationship type, and present results of a regression to predict discrimination and depression. The authors conclude that spousal support is an important buffer against experiences of discrimination, and that important differences in amount and type of social support vary by gender and marriage type (same-sex and different-sex). Future research may examine the beneficial qualities of different forms of spousal support in same-sex marriages.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the 3 research questions addressed by the researchers in the study.
  2. Identify 3 limitations of the study as presented by the researchers and consider the implications of these limitations in the context of future research in this area.
  3. Identify the differences among the relationship type groups in the key variables assessed.
  4. Evaluate the major findings of the regression analyses.

Course Outline:

  1. Read and understand Can spouses buffer the impact of discrimination on depressive symptoms? An examination of same-sex and different-sex marriages.
  2. Review the Course Description and Learning Objectives.
  3. Review the findings of the quantitative study.
  4. Complete the post-test questions. Recall that answers should be based on the referenced article.
  5. Return to the referenced article for any missed questions and/or to how understand how spousal support can buffer the association between discrimination and depression.

Implicit biases incorporate an association that occurs outside of conscious awareness that may resultantly lead to a negative patient evaluation derived from irrelevant characteristics; i.e. gender and/or race. A systematic review of the literature was conducted. Thirty-five studies identified the existence of implicit bias in healthcare professionals; all correlational studies evidenced a significant positive relationship between implicit bias levels and lower quality of care (FitzGerald & Hurst, 2017). Continued research in health care settings, combined with greater method homogeneity, should be employed to examine the occurrence and prevalence of implicit biases in healthcare settings as a strategic approach for mitigating related disparities (FitzGerald & Hurst, 2017).


FitzGerald, C., Hurst, S. (2017). Implicit bias in healthcare professionals: a systematic review. BMC Med Ethics 18, 19. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12910-017-0179-8

More Information
Board ApprovalsAmerican Psychological Association (APA), NBCC, Florida Board - Social Work, MFT, Counseling, and Psychology, NYSED - Social Work, MFT and Counseling Only, American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders
CE FormatOnline, Text-Based