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Depression Creates Communication Barriers in Relationships

by Dawson Church, PhD

Depression creates barriers to communication and commitment in couples, according to a study in the journal Communication Monographs.1 It is linked to social withdrawal, which can be problematic in a relationship as it limits communication and commitment.

Avoidance may in fact be due to a wish to preserve a relationship, despite feelings of futility, fear of conflict and a lack of effective coping strategies.

Uncertainty about commitment within relationships has been shown to cause an avoidance in discussing sensitive topics. The study looked at the uncertainty this causes and the barriers to communication it sets up in this study, which analyzed 126 couples.

The results showed that for a majority of subjects, uncertainty about the relationship was linked to the avoidance of sensitive topics.

The authors of the study say that, “Our results also have pragmatic value for suggesting that relational uncertainty may be a site of intervention for helping people with depressive symptoms be more comfortable discussing challenging issues…(and)… as a step toward unravelling the complexities of people’s avoidance behavior in the context of depression.” 

The findings of the study show that it’s important to treat depression before it erodes your relationship.

There are many studies showing that EFT effectively treats depression; you can both use it alone, and work with a certified Clinical EFT practitioner.


Knobloch, L. K., Sharabi, L. L., Delaney, A. L., & Suranne, S. M. (2015). The role of relational uncertainty in topic avoidance among couples with depression. Communication Monographs, 1-24.

dawson-church-phd-headshotDawson Church, PhD, is an award-winning science writer with three best-selling books to his credit. The Genie in Your Genes was the first book to demonstrate that emotions drive gene expression. Mind to Matter showed that the brain creates much of what we think of as “objective reality.” Bliss Brain demonstrates that peak mental states rapidly remodel the brain for happiness. Dawson has conducted dozens of clinical trials, and founded the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare (NIIH) to promote groundbreaking new treatments. Dawson shares how to apply these health and performance breakthroughs through EFT Universe.


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