Assessing conflict and intimacy for understanding and treating couple distress



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Texas A&M University


It has become increasingly apparent that the topic of marital conflict has been given ?special status? within the published literature on issues of marriage (Bradbury, Rogge, & Lawrence, 2001; Fincham, 2003). The question has been raised as to whether or not there are other constructs that deserve comparable attention. The present study argues for a closer look at an additional emerging construct, emotional intimacy, and its role in couples? relationships. Much of the literature on overt conflict and emotional intimacy fails to make an adequate distinction between these two constructs. The present study proposed to derive two factor scales from the Marital Satisfaction Inventory-Revised, Disaffection and Disharmony. Basic psychometric properties of these scales were examined using multiple data sets. Implications were examined for understanding underlying components of relationship distress in both community and clinic couples, and results provided support for the use of the revised factor scales in both clinical and research applications.