Marriage and Family Therapy Research in Health Care: Investigating the Accuracy of Self and Family Reports of Medical Use


Medical Charts, self-reported medical use


Health care research applied to couples and families has been hampered by the high cost of obtaining and hand reviewing medical charts. Fortunately, self-report of medical use has been shown to be a useful measure of medical utilization with individuals. However, no such research has been reported to see if the same is true for couples and families. Self-reported medical use for 130 clients seen at a marriage and family therapy clinic and their report of family members' medical use, was compared with medical records. Results showed that self-report, spouse reports, and parent reports of medical visits were significantly correlated with medical records. These results suggest that researchers and clinicians may reliably use self and family member's reports instead of reviews of medical charts.

Original Publication Citation

Jakubowski, S. F., Crane, D. R., Christenson, J. D., Miller, R. B., Marshall, E. S., & Hafen, M. (2008). Marriage and family therapy research in health care: Investigating the accuracy of self and family reports of medical use. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 36, 437-448.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


The American Journal of Family Therapy




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor