Couple and family assessment. Chapter uri icon


  • The impacts of intimate relationships are far reaching. Relationship happiness predicts overall life satisfaction even more strongly than happiness in other domains such as health, work, or children. Distress in intimate relationships often results in negative effects on partners emotional and physical well-being. Given both the prevalence and the adverse consequences of intimate relationship distress, psychologists have a responsibility to gain expertise in assessing couples and families as a precursor to effective treatment, whether conducting individual, couple, group, or family interventions. We begin this chapter by defining couple and family assessment (CFA) and by describing the relationship distress being assessed. Both brief screening measures and clinical methods are presented for diagnosing couple and family distress in clinical as well as research applications. The majority of the chapter is devoted to conceptualizing and assessing intimate relationship distress for the purpose of planning and evaluating treatment. We review empirical findings regarding behavioral, cognitive, and affective components of couple distress and specific techniques derived from clinical interview, behavioral observation, and self-report methods. Also included is a discussion of emerging technologies for assessing intimate relationships in clinical settings as well as limitations to existing assessment methods. We conclude with future directions in CFA in the context of clinical psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

author list (cited authors)

  • Snyder, D. K., Heyman, R. E., Haynes, S. N., Carlson, C. I., & Balderrama-Durbin, C.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Snyder, Douglas K||Heyman, Richard E||Haynes, Stephen N||Carlson, Cindy I||Balderrama-Durbin, Christina

editor list (cited editors)

  • J. C. Norcross, .., G. R. VandenBos, .., D. K. Freedheim, .., & R. Krishnamurthy.

Book Title

  • APA handbook of clinical psychology: Applications and methods (Vol. 3).

publication date

  • January 2016