Evidence-based approaches to assessing couple distress

Douglas K. Snyder, Richard E. Heyman, Stephen N. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article describes a conceptual framework for couple-based assessment strategies grounded in empirical findings linking couple distress to a broad range of both individual and relationship characteristics. These characteristics can contribute to, exacerbate, or result from relationship problems. On the basis of these findings, the authors articulate specific targets of clinical inquiry reflecting relationship behaviors, cognitions, and affect as well as features of individual distress. Guided by this framework, empirically supported assessment strategies and techniques emphasizing relationship functioning across diverse methods are proposed, including the clinical interview, analog behavioral observation, and both self- and other-report measures. Discussion concludes with specific recommendations regarding clinical assessment of couple distress and directions for further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-307
Number of pages20
JournalPsychological assessment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Assessment
  • Behavioral observation
  • Couples
  • Marriage
  • Relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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