Marital Discord

  • Gary R. Birchler
  • William Fals-Stewart
Part of the The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging book series (SSAD)

Abstract

Despite the fact that older people are reluctant to seek mental health services and tend to seek help from primary care physicians, even when their problems are psychological, there is little doubt that mental health practitioners will be called upon to treat a burgeoning number of elderly people as the graying of America continues. By the year 2000, it is estimated that approximately 20% of the population in the United States will be over age 65. The U.S. Bureau of the Census reported that in 1987, 75% of the men and 40% of the women over age 65 were married. Although most marriages of older people end because of the death of a spouse rather than through divorce, several studies of marital happiness in old age conclude that many older couples are emotionally disengaged, have poor communication skills, and are unhappy. As longevity impacts couples with major social, financial, and health-related Stressors, there is increased concern that the divorce rate among elderly couples will rise (Peterson, 1980).

Keywords

Elderly Couple Marital Satisfaction Homework Assignment Dyadic Adjustment Marital Discord 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Barusch, A. S. (1988). Problems and coping strategies for elderly spouse caregivers. The Gerontologist, 28, 677–685.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beck, A. T., Ward, C. H., Mendelsohn, M., Mock, J., & Erbaugh, J. (1961). An inventory for measuring depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 4, 561–571.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Birchler, G. R. (1983). Marital dysfunction. In M. Hersen (Ed.), Outpatient behavioral therapy: A clinical guide (pp. 229–269). New York: Grune & Stratton.Google Scholar
  4. Birchler, G. R. (1992). Marriage. In V. B. Van Hasselt & M. Hersen (Eds.), Handbook of social development: A lifespan perspective (pp. 397–419). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  5. Birchler, G. R., & Fals-Stewart, W. (1994). Marital dysfunction. In V. S. Ramachandran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 3, pp. 103–113). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  6. Birchler, G. R., & Fals-Stewart, W. (1994). The response to conflict scale: Psychometric properties. Assessment, 1, 335–344.Google Scholar
  7. Birchler, G. R., & Schafer, J. (August, 1990). Assessment of older couples entering marital therapy. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Boston.Google Scholar
  8. Birchler, G. R., & Schwartz, L. (1994). Marital dyads. In M. Hersen & S. M. Turner (Eds.), Diagnostic interviewing (2nd ed., pp. 277–304). New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Butler, R. N. (1969). Age-ism: Another form of bigotry. The Gerontologist, 9, 243.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Butler, R. N. (1974). Successful aging and the role of the life review. Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 22, 529–535.Google Scholar
  11. Christensen, A., Jacobson, N. S., & Babcock, J. C. (1995). Integrative behavioral couple therapy. In N. S. Jacobson & A. S. Gurman (Eds.), Clinical handbook of marital therapy (2nd ed., pp. 31–64). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  12. Gafner, G. (1987). Engaging the elderly couple in marital therapy. American Journal of Family Therapy, 15, 305–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gatz, M. (August, 1988). Clinical psychology and aging. Paper delivered at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Atlanta, GA.Google Scholar
  14. Gatz, M., Popin, S. J., Pino, C. O., & VandenBos, G. R. (1985). Psychological interventions with older adults. In J. E. Birren & K. W. Schaie (Eds.), Handbook of psychology and aging (3rd ed., pp. 404–425). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  15. Gilford, R., & Bengston, V. (1979). Measuring marital satisfaction in three generations: Positive and negative dimensions. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 37, 387–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gottman, J. M. (1979). Marital interaction: Experimental investigations. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  17. Gottman, J. M., Notarius, C., Gonso, J., & Markman, H. (1976). A couple’s guide to communication. Champaign, IL: Research Press.Google Scholar
  18. Gubrium, J. E. (1974). Marital desolation and the evaluation of everyday life in old age. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 32, 107–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hathaway, S. R., & McKinley, J. C. (1943). The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (rev. ed.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  20. Jacobson, N. S., & Addis, M. E. (1993). Research on couples and couples therapy: What do we know? Where are we going? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 61, 85–93.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jacobson, N. S., & Margolin, G. (1979). Marital therapy: Strategies based on social learning and behavior-exchange principles. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  22. Keith, P. M. (1987). Depressive symptoms among younger and older couples. The Gerontologist, 27, 605–610.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Keith, P. M., & Schafer, R. B. (1986). Housework, disagreement, and depression among younger and older couples. American Behavioral Scientist, 29, 405–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Levenson, R. W., Carstensen, L. L., & Gottman, J. M. (1993). Long-term marriage: Age, gender, and satisfaction. Psychology and Aging, 8, 301–313.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Neidhardt, E. R., & Allen, J. A. (1993). Family therapy with the elderly. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  26. Notarius, C. I., & Markman, H. (1993). We can work it out: Making sense of marital conflict. New York: Putnam’s Sons.Google Scholar
  27. Patrick, L. F., & Moore, J. S. (1986). Life event types and attributional styles as predictors of depression in elderly women. Journal of the Geriatric Psychiatry, 19, 241–262.Google Scholar
  28. Peterson, J. A. (1980). Marital and family therapy involving the aged. In G. Landreth & R. Berg (Eds.), Counseling the elderly (pp. 440–444). Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas.Google Scholar
  29. Pinkston, E. M., & Linsk, N. L. (1984). Behavioral family interventions with impaired elderly. The Gerontologist, 24, 576–583.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Smyer, M. A., Zaut, S. H., & Quails, S. H. (1990). Psychological intervention with the aging individual. In J. E. Birren & K. W. Schaie (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of aging (3rd ed., pp. 375–403). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  31. Spanier, G. R. (1976). Measuring dyadic adjustment: New measures for assessing the quality of marriage and similar dyads. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 38, 15–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stone, J. D. (1987). Marital and sexual counseling of elderly couples. In G. R. Weeks & L. Hoff (Eds.), Integrating sex and marital therapy: A clinical guide. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  33. Stuart, R. B. (1980). Helping couples change. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  34. Suitor, J. J., & Pillemer, K. (1987). The presence of adult children: A source of stress for elderly couples’ marriages? Journal of Marriage and the Family, 49, 712–717.Google Scholar
  35. Weiss, R. L., & Birchler, G. R. (1975). Areas of change questionnaire. Unpublished manuscript, University of Oregon, Eugene.Google Scholar
  36. Weiss, R. L., & Cerreto, M. (1980). The marital status inventory: Development of a measure of dissolution potential. American Journal of Family Therapy, 8, 80–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wolinsky, M. A. (1986). Marital therapy with older couples. Social Casework, 67, 475–483.Google Scholar
  38. Wolinsky, M. A. (1990). A heart of wisdom: Marital counseling with older and elderly couples. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary R. Birchler
    • 1
  • William Fals-Stewart
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Department of PsychiatryUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Families and Addiction Program, Harvard Medical School, and Department of PsychiatryVeterans Affairs Medical CenterBrocktonUSA

Personalised recommendations