Assessing Couples and Families: A Conceptual Model
We've advocated a comprehensive model for assessing families in which assessment constructs are organized along five domains: (a) cognitive, (b) affective, (c) communication and interpersonal, (d) structural and developmental, and (e) control, sanctions, and related behaviors.
Assessment data across these domains are gathered using multiple assessment strategies, primarily self-report and observational techniques, including both formal (i.e., more structured and psychometrically focused) and informal (i.e., less structured and more clinically focused) procedures.
The assessment techniques across domains are used to evaluate each of five system levels: (a) individuals, (b) dyads, (c) the nuclear family, (d) the extended family and social support system, and (e) community and cultural systems.
References for this work include the following:
Snyder, D. K., Cavell, T. A., Heffer, R. W., & Mangrum, L. F. (1995). Marital and family assessment: A multifaceted, multilevel approach. In R. H. Mikesell, D. D. Lusterman, & S. H. McDaniel (Eds.), Integrating family therapy: Handbook of family psychology and systems theory (pp. 163-182). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Snyder, D. K., Cozzi, J. J., & Mangrum, L. F. (2002). Conceptual issues in assessing couples and families. In H. A. Liddle, D. A. Santisteban, R. F. Levant, & J. H. Bray (Eds.), Family psychology: Science-based interventions (pp. 69-87). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Snyder, D. K., Heyman, R., & Haynes, S. N. (2005). Evidence-based approaches to assessing couple distress. Psychological Assessment, 17, 288-307.
Snyder, D. K., Heyman, R. E., & Haynes, S. N. (2008). Assessing couple distress. In J. Hunsley & E. Mash (Eds.), A guide to assessments that work, (pp. 439-463). New York: Oxford University Press.
Whisman, M. A., Beach, S. R. H., & Snyder, D. K. (2008). Is marital discord taxonic and can taxonic status be assessed reliably? Results from a national, representative sample of married couples. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 745-755.
Snyder, D. K., Heyman, R. E., & Haynes, S. N. (2009). Assessing couples. In J. N. Butcher (Ed.), Oxford handbook of personality assessment (pp. 457-484). New York: Oxford University Press.
The Marital Satisfaction Inventory - Revised (MSI-R)
The Marital Satisfaction Inventory - Revised (MSI-R) is a 150-item inventory designed to identify both the nature and intensity of relationship distress in distinct areas of couples' interaction. The MSI-R includes two validity scales, one global scale, and ten specific scales assessing relationship satisfaction in such areas as affective and problem-solving communication, aggression, leisure time together, finances, the sexual relationship, role orientation, family of origin, and interactions regarding children. The MSI-R is administered to each partner separately and requires approximately 25 minutes to complete. Individuals' responses are scored along the 13 profile scales and are plotted on a standard profile sheet based on gender-specific norms using normalized T-scores.
More than 25 years of research have supported the reliability and construct validity of the MSI-R scales. Coefficients of internal consistency average .82; temporal stability (test-retest) coefficients average .79. Each of the MSI-R scales discriminates between distressed-clinic couples and nondistressed-community couples, with moderate to large effect sizes averaging 1.07. Actuarial tables linking scale scores to descriptors of the relationship provided by clinicians and both partners show the MSI-R scales to relate to a broad range of external criteria consistent with their interpretive intent. A computerized interpretive report for the MSI-R draws on these findings to provide descriptive comparisons across different domains both within and between partners.
The MSI-R has been translated into several languages including Spanish, German, Russian, and Korean.
The Marital Satisfaction Inventory - Revised can be ordered from Western Psychological Services.
Western Psychological Services (Web-Site)
12031 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90025-1351
Phone: 1-800-648-8857 - FAX: 1-310-478-7838
References for this work include the following:
Snyder, D. K. (1997). Manual for the Marital Satisfaction Inventory - Revised. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.
Snyder, D. K., & Aikman, G. G. (1999). The Marital Satisfaction Inventory - Revised. In M. E. Maruish (Ed.), Use of psychological testing for treatment planning and outcomes assessment (pp. 1173-1210) (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Negy, C., & Snyder, D. K. (2000). Reliability of the Spanish translation of the Marital Satisfaction Inventory - Revised. Psychological Assessment, 12, 425-430.
Means-Christensen, A. J., Snyder, D. K., & Negy, C. (2003). Assessing nontraditional couples: Validity of the Marital Satisfaction Inventory-Revised (MSI-R) with gay, lesbian, and cohabiting heterosexual couples. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 29, 69-83.
Reig-Ferrer, A., Cepeda-Benito, A., & Snyder, D. K. (2004). Utility of the Spanish translation of the Marital Satisfaction Inventory - Revised in Spain. Assessment, 11, 17-26.
Negy, C., Snyder, D. K., & Diaz-Loving, R. (2004). A cross-national comparison of Mexican and Mexican American couples using the Marital Satisfaction Inventory - Revised (Spanish). Assessment, 11, 49-56.
Snyder, D. K., Cepeda-Benito, A., Abbott, B. V., Gleaves, D. H., Negy, C., Hahlweg, K., & Laurenceau, J. P. (2004). Cross-cultural applications of the Marital Satisfaction Inventory - Revised (MSI-R). In M. E. Maruish (Ed.), Use of psychological testing for treatment planning and outcomes assessment (3rd ed.) (pp. 603-623). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Klann, N., Hahlweg, K., Limbird, C., & Snyder, D. K. (2006). Manual fur die deutsche Form des Marital Satisfaction Inventory - Revised (MSI-R) von Snyder (1997). Gottingen, Germany: Hogrefe & Huber, Publishers.
Herrington, R. L., Mitchell, A. E., Castellani, A. M., Joseph, J. K., Snyder, D. K., & Gleaves, D. H. (2008). Assessing disharmony and disaffection in intimate relationships: Revision of the Marital Satisfaction Inventory factor scales. Psychological Assessment, 20, 341-350.
Whisman, M. A., Snyder, D. K., & Beach, S. R. H. (2009). Screening for marital and relationship discord. Journal of Family Psychology, 23, 247-254.
The German version of the Marital Satisfaction Inventory - Revised can be ordered from Hogrefe Verlag Publishers.
Hogrefe Verlag Publishers (Web-Site)
37085 Gottingen, GERMANY
Phone: +49-551-49609-0 - FAX: +49-551-49609-88
The Korean version of the Marital Satisfaction Inventory - Revised can be ordered from Korea Psychological Service, a subsidiary of Hakjisa Publishers.
Hakjisa Publishers (Web-Site)
201 HyeJeon Building
187-10 Bukahyun-3Dong Seodaemun-Gu
Seoul 120-193, Korea
Phone: +02-326-1500 - FAX: +02-324-2345