Every relationship has its ups and downs says Carol Sorgen.


Relationship difficulties appear to encompass a wide range of areas as follows:

  • Spouse with psychiatric illness: research shows that married adults with ADHD reported poorer overall marital adjustment and more family dysfunction than control adults
  • Veteran spouse with psychiatric illness: a study reported that PTSD veterans and their partners had more problems in their relationships, more difficulties with intimacy, and had taken more steps toward separation and divorce than the non-PTSD veterans and their partners
  • Conflict in relationship and violence: Relationships full of conflict and especially those in which conflicts occur about finances, jealousy, and women’s gender role transgressions are more violent than peaceful relationships.?Violence is frequently used to resolve a crisis of male identity, at times caused by poverty or an inability to control women.6
  • Women with childhood sexual abuse: There is converging evidence in both clinical and community samples that, compared to other women, female CSA (childhood sexual abuse) survivors do experience more relationship problems and more problems in sexual functioning. Based on community samples, there is an indication that childhood sexual abuse CSA survivors experience problems in marital functioning and attachment Physically abused children are found to be more rejected by their peers11.
  • Women who reported more than one incident in both childhood and adulthood were also likely to have multiple partnerships and brief sexual relationships.8
  • Survivors of chronic illness:?a study revealed that lung, colon, and prostate cancer survivors had significant rehabilitation problems in the domains of physical, psychosocial, sexual, medical interaction, and marital relationships. Patients who survive cancer do not return to a state of normal health.
  • Peer relationship problems in childhood: research makes it clear that large individual differences can be found in children?s degree of acceptance and friendship among their peers10
  • Maltreated children: shows to evidence early deviations in their understanding of negative affect as well immaturity in their cognitive controls. Maltreated children also show to have lower social effectiveness and higher levels of under controlled and aggressive behavior in the school setting11 childhood trauma might substantially contribute to interpersonal problems in adulthood13.?


  • Risk of psychiatric disorders: parent relationship conflict and marital break-up during early childhood are associated with small, but significant, increased risk of anxiety-depression symptoms in adolescence.2
  • Marital relationship issues: findings from the study, suggest that offspring with divorced parents have an elevated risk of seeing their own marriages end in divorce because they hold a comparatively weak commitment to the norm of lifelong marriage.3
  • Relations in childhood: exposure to abuse or household dysfunction during childhood pose multiple risk factors for several of the leading causes of death in adults.5
  • Serious peer relationship difficulties have important negative implications for children?s development and well being10


Walsh says, ?that successful interventions rest as much on the resources of the family as on the skills of the therapist, and that the most effective therapeutic relationships are collaborative partnerships.?

Greater efforts need to be made early in diagnosis and treatment to understand rehabilitation problems and target interventions in people who survive the illness and treatment of cancer and chronic illnesses in the hope of reducing later sequelae including relationship issues7.? Beery suggested what to do (to prevent childhood peer problems and their consequences) when a child is fearful about approaching other children: ?If your child ever comes to you to bury his head in your skirts, you should not scold or create any scene, but simply appear to pay no attention to him??10. ?Couple therapy: For couples to derive maximum fulfillment from their relationships, an equal emphasis must be given to the role of positive behavior, cognitions, and emotions in relationship functioning.12



  1. The marital and family functioning of adults with ADHD and their spouses?K. Minde?L. Hechtman?E. Ochs?E. Krane 2004
  2. Spence, S. H. , Najman, J. M. , Bor, W., O’Callaghan, M. J. and Williams, G. M. (2002),?Maternal anxiety and depression,poverty and marital relationship factors during early childhood as predictors of anxiety and depressive symptoms in adolescence.?Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43: 457?469. doi:10.1111/1469-7610.00037
  3. Amato, P. R. and DeBoer, D. D. (2001),?The Transmission of Marital Instability Across Generations😕Relationship Skills or Commitment to Marriage?.?Journal of Marriage and Family, 63: 1038?1051. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2001.01038.x
  4. Riggs, D. S., Byrne, C. A., Weathers, F. W. and Litz, B. T. (1998),?The quality of the intimate relationships of male Vietnam veterans😕Problems associated with posttraumatic stress disorder. J. Traum. Stress, 11: 87?101. doi:10.1023/A:1024409200155
  5. Vincent J Felitti MD, FACP,? Robert F Anda MD, MS, Dale Nordenberg MD,? David F Williamson MS, PhD, Alison M Spitz MS, MPH, Valerie Edwards BA, Mary P Koss PhDD,? James S Marks MD, MPHB (1998), Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14: 245?258.
  6. Rachel Jewkes (2002), Intimate partner violence😕causes and prevention. The lancet, 359: 1423?1429.
  7. Schag, C.A.C., Ganz, P.A., Wing, D.S. et al. Qual Life Res (1994) 3: 127. doi:10.1007/BF00435256
  8. Wyatt, Gail E.; Guthrie, Donald; Notgrass, Cindy M.? (1992) Differential effects of women’s child sexual abuse and subsequent sexual revictimization. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60(2): 167-173.?

9.?????????? Orly Rumstein-McKean, John Hunsley,(2001), Interpersonal and family functioning of female survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Elsevier,21: 471?490.

10.????? Steven?R.?Asher,?Jeffrey?G.?Parker. Significance of Peer Relationship Problems in Childhood.
Social Competence in Developmental Perspective, Volume 51 of the series?NATO ASI Series?pp 5-23

  1. Fred A. Rogosch,?Dante Cicchetti??and?J. Lawrence Aber?(1995) The role of child maltreatment in early deviations in cognitive and affective processing abilities and later peer relationship problems. Volume 7,?Issue 4 (Developmental Processes in Peer Relations and Psychopathology) pp. 591-609?DOI:?


  1. Enhanced cognitive-behavioral therapy for couples: A contextual approach. Epstein, Norman B.; Baucom, Donald H.contextual approach.(2002). xv 570 pp.?

13.????? Hyu?Jung?Huh, Sun-Young?Kim, Jeong?Jin?Yu?and Jeong-Ho?Chae (2014) Childhood trauma and adult interpersonal relationship problems in patients with depression and anxiety disorders Annals of General Psychiatry201413:26 DOI:?10.1186/s12991-014-0026-ysss