In this study we investigated whether the following factors influenced married partners' reactions to spousal support: type of support (directive vs. nondirective); individual differences (gender, depressive symptoms); and dimension along which support was evaluated (level of helpfulness vs. valence of emotional impact). Nondirective support was consistently rated more favorably on the dimension of partner's impact than on the dimension of partner's helpfulness, and this effect was exaggerated for those self-reporting a high level of depressive symptoms. Nonetheless, directive support was provided more frequently than was nondirective support in this sample. Gender differences and complications introduced by partner dysphoria suggest some situations in which directive support may be particularly difficult to provide effectively. Implications for couple therapy are discussed.
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