This study used taxometric methods to investigate the latent structure of the construct of marital adjustment as indexed by the Marital Adjustment Test (MAT; H. J. Locke & K. M. Wallace, 1959). That is, the authors examined whether marital adjustment is best thought of as a “dimension ” of adjustment only or whether there also are categorical differences between “discordant ” and “nondiscordant ” couples. Analyses of data provided by 447 couples married for approximately 2 years provided converging evidence for a latent category of marital discord, suggesting that marital discord can be viewed as a qualitatively distinct state experienced by approximately 20 % of the couples in the current sample. Implications for marital assessment are outlined. Marital researchers variously characterize couples as maritally “dissatisfied, ” “distressed, ” or “discordant, ” often using these terms interchangeably. However, categorizing couples as “discordant ” versus “nondiscordant ” implies that a qualitative distinction can be drawn between distressed and nondistressed couples. Further, categorization itself
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