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The Effect of Relationship Satisfaction on Psychotherapeutic Outcomes

27 July 2007


Previous research on social support has found that the marriage or intimate partnership can ameliorate a client's degree of stress by providing support in the same ways that a broader social support network has been shown to do. Previous research on marital satisfaction has shown that marital dissatisfaction covaries with depression. This study examined the possibility of a connection between perceived maritallintimate relationship satisfaction of clients at intake and later outcomes in individual psychotherapy. Adult clients (N = 184) seen in a psychology training clinic indicated their satisfaction with their marriage or intimate partnership by filling out the Kansas Marital Satisfaction scale (KMS; Schumm et aI., 1983) at intake. Hierarchical multiple regression was used to determine if the KMS scores were predictive of the participants' later degree of overal1life satisfaction and symptom distress, as measured by their scores on the Outcome Questionaire-45 (OQ-45.2; Lambert et aI., 2002) at therapy session 8. Participants' initial distress, as measured by their OQ-45.2 scores at intake, was controlled for in regression analyses. Results showed no significant predictive relationship between the KMS at intake and OQ-45.2 at session 8. Various potential confounding factors contributing to this null finding, including possible instrument bias, are discussed, and recommendations for future research in this area are offered.


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