Plan of lecture

This unit demonstrates the various approaches taken for assessing satisfaction
as a construct and the methods used to validate variousmarital assessment tests. Remember, a test is only as useful as its validity criteria; names are not "truth" -- anyone can call a test a measure of satisfaction. The proof is in the validity.


I "We don't communicate, doctor." The role of communication

A. Both clients & therapists list communication as their number one
     problem and the main problem clients tell them about
B. Communication the highest correlation with global satisfaction
C. Predicts daily satisfaction (Wills, Weiss, Patterson; others)
E. Impact ratings 5 yrs later (Markman talk table study)
II. What is marital satisfaction?

      A. Satisfaction = Attitude, sentiment, toward relationship, (e.g., happiness)
      B. Marital quality: confounds two aspects of satisfaction

C. Communication skills:
     Verbal vs. Nonverbal
     Communicating meaning nonverbally (e.g., the charade game)
D. Marital intimacy
E. Marital complaints
F. Dissolution potential
     Weiss's MSI: 14 steps to divorce scale
G. Commitment - usually a single item test
H. Desired Change in Partner (Areas of Change Questionnaire  ACQ)
I. And on and on ....
III. Being measured by --
A. Adjustment quality (emphasize skills & sentiment):
     Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS, Spanier, 1976)
     Marital Satisfaction Inventory (MSI, Snyder, 1979)

B. Satisfaction quality (sentiment):
     Quality Of Marriage Index (QMI, Norton, 1983)
     Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scale (KSI, Schumm et al. 1986)

IV. Validating self-report measures
Criterion, Discriminant, & Convergent Validity
Using interviews and self-report tests, we can -
    (a) Use tests as "truth" (criterion) and see if interview produces same
           results as tests;

(b) Use interview as "truth" (criterion) and see if tests produce same
         results as interview

V. Illustrative studies using different criteria

   A.  Multimethod criterion validity assessment (Haynes, et al. JCCP, 1981)
             (1) Do self-reports made in interview correctly discriminate marital
                  distress status?

             (2) Establish the criterion validity of marital interview by correlating
                  results with other self-report measures

             (3) Establish discriminant validity of marital interview, (e.g., correctly
                   classify using relevant information to construct but not with an
                   unrelated construct, e.g., assertiveness)

               Known distressed and nondistressed couples
               Structured interview questions
               Criterion Measures:
                   MAS (relevant)
                   DAS (relevant)
                   Assertiveness (not relevant)
                      (Note-- Talk 1 vs. Talk 2)

              Interaction sample (MICS)
                 Coded, not rated

         Major findings:
                   (1) Interview reports discriminated
                       Overall Satisfaction, Affection, Sex, Communication,
                       (90% hit rate)
                       BUT NOT for assertiveness items (discriminate validity)

                    (2) Higher r's for separate than joint interviews

                    (3) If it is digital information, then separate interviews
                         are best;  if it is analog information (process) then
                         joint is better

B. Typology of Distressed Couples Based on the Areas of Change
       Questionnaire (Fals-Stewart, Schafer, & Birchler (Journal of Family Psychology 1992)

        Aim: Use the ACQ to define empirically couple types

             Subjects: 257 VA couples seeking Marital Therpay (Mtx)

                (a) ACQ
                (b) MSI (Weiss)
                (c) Response to Conflict (RTC) (Birchler)
                (d) Locke-Wallace (MAT)
                (e) SDI (Self-esteem, depression, anxiety)
                (f) Problems List (open-ended listing of problems)


            Step 1: Factor analysis of ACQ scales (alphas .61 - .80)
                    Attention/Companionship W/H
                    Social interactions
                    Wife domestic
                    Husband domestic
                    Finances H/W

            Step 2: Cluster analysis couple types
                 Described profiles using factor scores on Step 1

                  Defined 5 Couple Types Profiles):
                  Couple types = score patterns of highs and lows on
                  the various factors, labeled 1,25

                (1) High Conflict (on all scales)
                (2) Disengaged (Hi disengagement, Lo social interaction)
                (3) H Domestic Dropout (H not doing his share)
                (4) W Withdrawn
                (5) Mildly Distressed (Nothing very high)

           Step 3: Validation

                (1) Cross Validation (tested profiles on another sample)
                (2) Construct validity:

       Mildly distressed (Profile 5):
            oldest, longest married
            lowest MSI,
            highest MAS,
            least maladaptive conflicts
            least individual psych. distress

       High Conflict / H Domestic Dropout (Profiles 1& 3)
           youngest, shortest marriages
           maladaptive responses to conflict
           most individual psych. distress

      Disengaged & Withdrawn (Profiles 2 & 4)
        mixed bag, like others, not distinctive

     (3) Criterion Validity:

      Compared types to Problem List items
       E.g., communication, sex, finances, lack of attention,
               domestic responsibilities, jealousy

VI. Quasi-observational measures
A second category of measures is referred to as "Quasi-observational"
because one partner is reporting on the other. Among the best known
of these is the Spouse Observation Checklist. An example of the first
page of the SOC can be seen at  Spouse Observation Checklist. Spouses
record their daily "pleasing" and "displaesing" events as well as their
daily marital satisfaction. This allows for a good descriptoipn of those
behaviors that impact satisfaction in a real way.
   The SOC Rating Form  is a global rating using the catergories of the SOC.

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