Who's dragging their feet? Husbands and wives seeking marital therapy
Doss, B.D.; Atkins, D.C.; Christensen, A.
Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 29(2): 165-177
ISSN/ISBN: 0194-472X PMID: 12728776 DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2003.tb01198.x
Despite its demonstrated efficacy, marital therapy's impact has been limited by couples' general reluctance to seek help until their problems become severe. To understand this delay, 147 married couples (294 individuals) in the process of seeking marital therapy were surveyed. Using multilevel confirmatory factor analysis, three relatively independent steps (problem recognition, treatment consideration, and treatment seeking) were identified. On average, wives were rated as completing all three steps before their husbands. Gender-role orientation, demographics, relationship satisfaction, and specific relationship problems (especially husbands' dissatisfaction with sex) were also predictive of the steps toward therapy. Implications for marital therapy are discussed.