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The Taxometrics of Marriage: Is Marital Discord Categorical?

By  and Steven R. H. BeachNader Amir, Frank D. Fincham, Kenneth E. Leonard and Steven R. H. Beach


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

Year: 2009
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