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Psychol Assess. 2001 Mar;13(1):5-35.

Observation of couple conflicts: clinical assessment applications, stubborn truths, and shaky foundations.

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Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York 11794-2500, USA.


The purpose of this review is to provide a balanced examination of the published research involving the observation of couples, with special attention toward the use of observation for clinical assessment. All published articles that (a) used an observational coding system and (b) relate to the validity of the coding system are summarized in a table. The psychometric properties of observational systems and the use of observation in clinical practice are discussed. Although advances have been made in understanding couple conflict through the use of observation, the review concludes with an appeal to the field to develop constructs in a psychometrically and theoretically sound manner.

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