The taxometrics of marriage: is marital discord categorical?

J Fam Psychol. 2005 Jun;19(2):276-85. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.19.2.276.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology*
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spouses / psychology*