Systematic and culturally sensitive assessment of couple distress

Christina M. Balderrama-Durbin, Douglas K. Snyder, Richard E. Heyman, Stephen N. Haynes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Comprehensive assessment of couple distress requires a systematic, dynamic, and culturally sensitive approach. Understanding the implications of couple distress necessitates a conceptual framework that extends beyond individual considerations and evaluates the broader relational and sociocultural context from which couple distress emerges. This chapter explicates a multifaceted assessment model used to guide assessment in primary domains of couple functioning (cognitive, affective, and behavioral) that operate at multiple ecological levels (individual, dyad, nuclear family, extended family, community, and cultural systems). Assessment methods and techniques suitable for evaluating behavioral, cognitive, and affective components of couple distress are described. Brief screening measures and methods for the diagnosis of couple distress are highlighted, as well as essential cultural and therapeutic considerations. We advocate that couple assessment strategies and specific methods should be tailored to partners' unique constellation of presenting difficulties while also explicating general recommendations and potential areas for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Systemic Family Therapy, Set
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9781119438519
StatePublished - Aug 26 2020


  • Assessment
  • Couple distress
  • Couples
  • Measurement
  • Multicultural considerations
  • Multimethod
  • Multitrait
  • Relationships
  • Systematic assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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