The Marriage Checkup (Cordova, Warren & Gee, 2001) was introduced as a brief intervention targeting couples at risk for severe marital distress. The purpose of this study was to examine married couples who participated in The Marriage Checkup for levels of individual and relational stress and severity of presenting problems recorded at intake. Differences were investigated between couples who, though initially requesting the brief Marriage Checkup, elected to continue with traditional marital therapy and couples who only participated in traditional marital therapy. The group means were compared using a structural equation model in order to account for the non-independence of distress within a relationship. Results showed that Marriage Checkup couples reported lower distress levels than couples who received traditional marital therapy even if they transitioned from the Marital Checkup into marital therapy. Additional analyses compared levels of distress and presenting problems for the two Marriage Checkup groups: couples who only completed the Marriage Checkup and couples who also transitioned into traditional marital therapy. Couples who only participated in the Marriage Checkup had lower levels of individual distress for husbands and lower levels of relational distress than did couples who participated in the Marriage Checkup and then transitioned into traditional marital therapy. Clinical implications are discussed.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life; Marriage and Family Therapy



Date Submitted


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marriage checkup, marital therapy, distress levels, structural equation modeling