Coding Marital and Family Interaction

Current Status
  • Howard J. Markman
  • Clifford I. Notarius
Part of the Applied Clinical Psychology book series (NSSB)


Despite the truth of Yogi Berra’s redundant statement, the study of the family via direct observation is a relatively recent event. The foundations of research on the family were sociological in origin and often employed large-sample self-report questionnaires to uncover relations within the family, as well as between the family and other social institutions. In a rather sweeping judgment, Straus (1964) cast doubt on the validity of research based on self-report measures: “Because of the great importance to both the individual and the society of ‘good families’ all measurement techniques based on self-report are suspect” (p. 369). Researchers are attracted to self-report measures because they are inexpensive to administer and may appear to be more useful than prudent evaluation would suggest. Many self-report instruments simply do not provide a valid assessment of the family variable(s) of interest to family researchers (e.g., family power). However, some variables, such as marital and family satisfaction, appear to be reliably and validly measured by self-report variables, as are other perceptual variables (e.g., perceived social support received from family relationships).


Positive Affect Code System Nonverbal Behavior Family Interaction Marital Interaction 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alexander, J. (1973). Defensive and supportive communications in family systems. Journal of Marriage and Family, 35, 613–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexander, J. (1983). Defensive and supportive interaction manual. Unpublished manuscript, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.Google Scholar
  3. Alexander, J., and Parsons, B. V. (1982). Functional family therapy. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole. Bakeman, R. (1978). Untangling streams of interaction. In G. Sackett (Ed.), Observing behavior: Vol. 2. Data collection and analysis methods. Baltimore: University Park Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bakeman, R. (1979). Analyzing event sequence data computer programs ESEQ and ELAG. Unpublished manuscript, Georgia State University, Atlanta.Google Scholar
  5. Bales, R. (1950) Interaction process analysis. Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  6. Bales, R. (1970). Personality and interpersonal behavior. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Bales, R., and Cohen, S. (1979). SYMLOG. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  7. Barton, C., and Alexander, J.F. (1980). Functional family therapy. In A. S. Gurman and D. P. Kniskern (Eds.), Handbook of marital therapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  8. Bateson, G., Jackson, D. D., Haley, J., and Weakland, J. (1956). Toward a theory of schizophrenia. Behavioral Science, 1, 251–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Becker, W. C. (1964). Consequences of different kinds of parental discipline. In M. L. Hoffman and L. W. Hoffman (Eds.), Review of child development research (Vol. 1 ). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  10. Bell, D. C., and Bell, L. G. (1982a). Family process and child development in unlabeled (normal) families. The Australian Journal of Family Therapy, 3, 205–210.Google Scholar
  11. Bell, L. G., and Bell, D. C. (1982b). Family climate and the role of the female adolescent: Determinants of adolescent functioning. Family Relations, 31, 519–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bell, L. G., and Bell, D. C. (1982c, August). Parental validation as a mediator in adolescent development.Google Scholar
  13. Paper presented at meetings of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC. Bell, D. C., Bell, L. G., and Cornwell, C. S. (1982). Interaction process coding scheme. Unpublished manuscript, University of Houston.Google Scholar
  14. Belsky, J. (1981). Early human experience: A family perspective. Developmental Psychology, 17, 3–23. Billings, A. (1979). Conflict resolution in distressed and nondistressed married couples. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 47, 368–376.Google Scholar
  15. Birchler, G. R., Weiss, R. L., and Vincent, J. P. (1975). Multimethod analysis of social reinforcement exchange between maritally distressed and nondistressed spouse and stranger dyads. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 349–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Brown, G. W., Birley, J. L. T., and Wing, J. F. (1972). Influence of family life on the course of schizophrenic disorders: A replication. British Journal of Psychiatry, 121, 241–258.Google Scholar
  17. Condon, S. L., Cooper, C. R., and Grotevant, H. D. (1981). Manual for the analysis of family discourse. Austin: University of Texas.Google Scholar
  18. Cooper, C. R., Grotevant, H. D., and Condon, S. M. (1983). Individuality and connectedness: Both foster adolescent identity formation and role-taking skill. In H. D. Grotevant and C. R. Cooper (Eds.), Adolescent development in the family: New directions for child development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  19. Cronbach, L. J., and Meehl, P. (1955). Construct validity in psychological tests. Psychological Bulletin, 52, 281–302.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Doane, J. A., and Lewis, J. M. (1984). Measurement strategies in family interaction research: A profile approach. In N. Watt, E. J. Anthony, L. Wynne, and J. Rolf (Eds.), Children at risk for schizophrenia: A longitudinal perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Doane, J. A., West, K. L., Goldstein, M. J., Rodnick, E. H., and Jones, J. E. (1981). Parental communication deviance and affective style as predictors of subsequent schizophrenia spectrum disorders in vulnerable adolescents. Archives of General Psychiatry, 38, 679–685.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Doane, J. A., Jones, J., Fisher, L., Ritzier, B., Singer, M., and Wynne, L. (1982). Parental Communication Deviance as a predictor of competence in children at risk for adult psychiatric disorder. Family Process, 21, 211–223.Google Scholar
  23. Ekman, T., and Friesen, W. V. (1977). Manual for the facial action coding system. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologist Press.Google Scholar
  24. Eyberg, S. M., and Robinson, E. A. (1981). Dyadic parent-child interaction coding system: A Manual. Available from S. M. Eyberg, Department of Medical Psychology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR 97201.Google Scholar
  25. Farina, A. (1960). Patterns of role dominance and conflict in parents of schizophrenic patients. Journal of Abnormal Social Psychology, 61, 31–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ferreira, A. (1963). Decision making in normal and pathologic families. Archives of General Psychiatry, 8, 68–73.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ferreira, A., and Winter, W. (1965). Family interaction and decision making. Archives of General Psychiatry, 13, 214–223.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Fontana, A. (1966). Familial etiology of schizophrenia: Is a scientific methodology possible? Psychological Bulletin, 66(3), 214–227.Google Scholar
  29. Framo, J. L. (1979). Family theory and therapy. American Psychologist, 34, 988–992. Gibb, J. (1961). Defensive communications. Journal of Communication, 3, 141–148.Google Scholar
  30. Gilligan, C., (1982). In a different voice. Cambridge, Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Goldberg, W., and Easterbrooks, A. (1984). The role of marital quality in toddler development. Developmental Psychology, 20, 504–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gottman, J. M. (1978). Nonsequential data analysis techniques and observational research. In G. P. Sackett (Ed.), Observing behavior: Vol. 2. Data collection and analysis methods. Baltimore: University Park Press.Google Scholar
  33. Gottman, J. M. (1979). Marital interaction: Empirical investigations. New York: Academic Press. Gottman, J. M. (1980). Consistency of nonverbal affect reciprocity in marital interaction. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 48, 711–717.Google Scholar
  34. Gottman, J. M. (1983). Rapid couples interaction scoring system. Unpublished manuscript, University of Illinois, Champaign.Google Scholar
  35. Gottman, J. M., Notarius, C. I., Gonso, J., and Markman, H. J. (1976a). A couple’s guide to communication. Champaign, IL: Research Press.Google Scholar
  36. Gottman, J. M., Notarius, C. I., Markman, H. J., Bank, S., Yoppi, B., and Rubin, M. (1976b). Behavior exchange theory and marital decision-making. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 1423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Gottman, J. M., Markman, H. J., and Notarius, C.I. (1977). The topography of marital conflict: A sequential analysis of verbal and nonverbal behavior. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 39, 36 1377.Google Scholar
  38. Grotevant, H., and Cooper, C. (1983, April). The role of family communication patterns in adolescent identity and role taking. Paper presented at the Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Detroit.Google Scholar
  39. Grotevant, H., and Cooper, C. (1985). Patterns of interaction in family relationships and the development of identity exploration in adolescence. Child Development, 56, 415–428.Google Scholar
  40. Hahlweg, K., Reisner, L., Kohli, G., Vollmer, M., Schindler, L., and Revenstorf, D. (1984a). Development and validity of a new system to analyze interpersonal communication (KPI). In K. Hahlweg and N. S. Jacobson (Eds.), Marital interaction: Analysis and modification. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  41. Hahlweg, K. Revenstorf, D., and Schindler, L. (1984b). Effects of behavioral marital therapy on couples’ communication and problem-solving skills. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 52(4), 553–566.Google Scholar
  42. Hahlweg, K., Baucom, D., and Markman, H. J. (In press). Recent advances in behavioral marital therapy and in preventing marital distress. In J. R. H. Fallon (Ed.), Handbook of behavioral family therapy,NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  43. Haley, J. (1967). Speech sequences of normal and abnormal families with two children present. Family Process, 6, 81–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Hartup, W. (1979). Levels of analysis in the study of interaction: An historical perspective. In M. Lamb, S. Summit, and G. Stephenson (Eds.), Social interaction analysis: Methodological issues. Madison: University of Wiscons in Press.Google Scholar
  45. Hauser, S., Powers, S., Weiss, B., Follansbee, D., and Bernstein, E. (1983a). Family constraining and enabling coding system (CECS) manual. Unpublished manuscript, Boston.Google Scholar
  46. Hauser, S. T., Jacobson, A., Noam, G., and Powers, S. (1983b). Ego development and self-image complexity. Archieves of General Psychiatry, 44, 325–332.Google Scholar
  47. Hauser, S., Powers, S., Noam, G., Jacobson, A., Weiss, B., and Follansbee, D. (1984). Familial contexts of adolescent ego development. Child Development,pp. 195–213.Google Scholar
  48. Heatherington, E. M., and Martin, B. (1979). Family interaction. In H. Quay and J. Werry (Eds.), Psychological disorders of childhood. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  49. Hooley, J. ( 1985, September). Familial factors predictive of relapse in depression. Paper presented at International Conference on the Impact of Family Research on our Understanding of Psychopathology, Tegensee, West Germany.Google Scholar
  50. Hops, H., Wills, T. A., Patterson, G. R., and Weiss, R. L. (1972). Marital interaction coding system. Eugene: University of Oregon Research Institute.Google Scholar
  51. Hutt, S. J., and Hutt, C. (1970). Direct observation and measurement of behavior. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas.Google Scholar
  52. Jacob, T. (1975). Family interaction in disturbed and normal families: A methodological and substantive review. Psychological Bulletin, 82, 33–65.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Jacobson, N. S. (1977). Problem solving and contingency contracting in the treatment of marital discord. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 45, 442–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Jacobson, N. S., and Margolin, G. (1979). Marital therapy: Strategies based on social learning and behavior exchange principles. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  55. Jacobson, N. S., Elwood, R., and Dallas, M. (1981). The behavioral assessment of marital dysfunction. In D. Barlow (Ed.), Behavioral assessment of adult dysfunction. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  56. Jones, R. R., Reid, J. B., and Patterson, G. R. (1975). Naturalistic observations in clinical assessment. In P. McReynolds (Ed.), Advances in psychology assessment (Vol 3.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Julien, D., Markman, H. J., Johnson, H., and VanWidenfelt, B. (1986). Interaction Dimensions Scoring System (IDS). Unpublished manuscript, University of Denver, Denver.Google Scholar
  57. Kelley, H. (1978). Personal relationships: Their structure and processes. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Kohlberg, L. ( 1969 ). Stage and sequence: The cognitive-developmental approach to socialization. InGoogle Scholar
  58. D. A. Goslin (Ed.), Handbook of socialization theory and research. Chicago: Rand McNally. Leary, T. (1957). Interpersonal diagnosis of personality. New York: Ronald Press.Google Scholar
  59. Levenson, R., and Gottman, J. (1985). Physiological and affective predictors of changes in relationship satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 85–94.Google Scholar
  60. Lidz, T., Cornelison, A., Fleck, S., and Terry, D. (1957). The intrafamilial environment of schizophrenic patients: 2. Martial schism and marital skew. American Journal of Psychiatry, 114, 24 1248.Google Scholar
  61. Margolin, G., and Wampold, B. (1981). Sequential analysis of conflict and accord in distressed and nondistressed marital partners. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 49, 554–567.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Markman, H. J., Notarius, C. I., Stephen, T., and Smith, T. (1981). Behavioral observation systems for couples: The current status. In E. Filsinger and R. Lewis (Eds.), Assessing marrage: New behavioral approaches. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  63. Minuchin, S. (1974). Families and family therapy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Mishler, E. G., and Waxler, N. W. (1968). Interaction in Families: An experimental study of family processes and schizophrenia. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  65. Mishler, E., and Waxler, N. W. (1975). The sequential patterning of interaction in normal and schizophrenic families. Family Process, 14, 17–50.Google Scholar
  66. Moos, R. (1974). The social climate scales: An overview. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  67. Notarius, C.I., and Markman, H. J. (1981). The couples interaction scoring system. In E. Filsinger and R. Lewis (Eds.), Assessing marriage: New behavioral approaches. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  68. Notarius, C. I., and Pellegrini, D. (1984). Marital processes as stressors and stress mediators: Implications for marital repair. In S. Duck (Ed.), Personal relationships: Vol. 5. Repairing personal relationships. London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  69. Notarius, C. I., and Pellegrini, D. (1986). Family adaption to parental dysfunction: A pilot study. Unpublished manuscript, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  70. Notarius, C. I., Krokoff, L., and Markman, H. (1981). Analysis of observational data. In E. Filsinger and R. Lewis (Eds.), Assessing marriage: New behavioral approaches. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  71. Notarius, C. I., Markman, H., and Gottman, J. (1983). Advances in the couples interaction scoring system. In E. Filsinger (Ed.), Handbook of marital and family assessment. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  72. Olson, D.H., and Ryder, R. G. (1970). Inventory of marital conflicts (IMC): An experimental interaction procedure. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 32, 443–448.Google Scholar
  73. Parsons, T., and Bales, R. F. (1955). Family, socialization, and interaction process. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.Google Scholar
  74. Patterson, G. R. (1982). Coercive family process. Eugene, OR: Castilia.Google Scholar
  75. Patterson, G. R., Ray, R. S., Shaw, D. A., and Cobb, J. A. (1969). Manual for coding of family interactions (rev. ed.). New York: Microfiche Publications.Google Scholar
  76. Pederson, F. (1980). Research issues related to fathers and infants. In F. Pederson (Ed.), The father-infant relationship. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  77. Raush, H., Marshall, K., and Featherman, J. (1970). Relations at three early stages of marriage as reflected by the use of personal pronouns. Family Process, 9, 69–82.Google Scholar
  78. Raush, H. L., Barry, W. A., Hertel, R. K., and Swain, M. A. (1974). Communication, conflict, and marriage. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  79. Riskin, J., and Faunce, E. E. (1972). An evaluative review of family interaction research. Family Process, 11, 365–455.Google Scholar
  80. Robinson, E. A., and Eyberg, S. M. (1981). The dyadic parent-child interaction coding system: Standardization and validation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 49, 245–250.Google Scholar
  81. Rodnick, E. H., Goldstein, M. J., Lewis, J. M., and Doane, J. A. (1984). Parental communication style, affect and role as precursors of offspring schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. In N. F. Watt, J. Anthony, L. Wynne, and J. E. Rolf (Eds.), Children at risk for schizophrenia: A longitudinal perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  82. Rotter, J. B. (1970). Some implications of a social learning theory for the practice of psychotherapy. In D. J. Levis (Ed.), Learning approaches to therapeutic behavior change. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  83. Royce, K., and Weiss, R. (1975). Behavioral cues in the judgment of marital satisfaction: A linear egression analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 43, 816–824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Schultz, W. C. (1960). The interpersonal underworld: FIRO-B. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books.Google Scholar
  85. Singer, M., and Wynne, L. (1966). Principles for scoring communication defects and deviances in parents of schizophrenics: Rorschach and TAT scoring manuals. Psychiatry, 29, 260–288.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  86. Steinglass, P. (1976). Home observation assessment method. Unpublished manuscript, Center for Family Research, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  87. Steinglass, P. (1979). The home observation assessment method (HOAM): Real-time observations of families in their homes. Family Process, 18, 337–354.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Steirlin, H. (1974). Separating parents and adolescents. NY: Quadrangle.Google Scholar
  89. Straus, M. (1964). Measuring families. In H. T. Christensen (Ed.), Handbook of marriage and the family. Chicago: Rand McNally.Google Scholar
  90. Strodtbeck, F. (1951). Husband and wife interaction over revealed differences. American Sociological Review, 16, 468–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Strodtbeck, F. (1954). The family as a three-person group. American Sociological Review, 19, 23–29. Stuart, R. (1980). Helping couples change: A social learning approach to marital therapy. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  92. Valone, K., Norton, J., Goldstein, M., and Doane, J. (1984). Parental expressed emotion and affective style in an adolescent sample at risk for schizophrenia spectrum disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 93, 448–457.Google Scholar
  93. Vaughn, C. E., and Leff, J. P. (1976). The influence of family and social factors on the course of psychiatric illness. British Journal of Psychiatry, 129, 125–137.Google Scholar
  94. Vincent, J., Friedman, L., Nugent, J., and Messerly, L. (1979). Demand characteristics in observations f marital interaction. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 47, 557–566.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Watzlawick, P., Beavin, J., and Jackson, D. (1967). Pragmatics of human communication. New York: orton.Google Scholar
  96. Wegener, C. Revenstorf, D., Hahlweg, K., and Schindler, L. (1979). Empirical analysis of communication in distressed couples. Behavior Analysis and Modification, 3, 178–188.Google Scholar
  97. Weick, K. E. (1968). Systematic observational methods. In G. Lindzey Sc E. Aronson (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (rev. ed., Vol. 2 ). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  98. Weiss, R. L. (1980). Strategic behavioral marital therapy: Toward a model for assessment and intervention. In J. P. Vincent (Ed.), Advances in family intervention, assessment, and theory (Vol. 1 ). Greenwich, NY: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  99. Weiss, R. L. and Margolin, G. (1977). Assessment of marital conflict and accord. In A. R. Ciminero, K. S. Calhoun, and H. E. Adams (Eds.), Handbook of behavioral assessment. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  100. Weiss, R. L., and Summers, K. (1983). Marital interaction coding system: 3. In E. Filsinger (Ed.), Marriage and family assessment. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  101. Weiss, R. L., Hops, H., Sc Patterson, G. R.(1973). A framework for conceptualizing marital conflict: A technology for altering it, some data for evaluating it. In F. W. Clark and L. A. Hamerlynck (Eds.), Critical issues in research and practice: Proceedings of the Fourth Banff International Conference on Behavior Modification. Champaign, IL: Research Press.Google Scholar
  102. Wieder, G. B., and Weiss, R. L. (1980). Generalizability theory and the coding of marital interaction. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 48, 469–477.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Wynne, L. C. (1984). Communication patterns and family relations of children at risk for schizphrenia. In N. F. Watt, E. J. Anthony, L. C. Wynne, and J. E. Rolf (Eds.), Children at risk for chizophrenia: A longitudinal perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  104. Wynne, L. C., Ryckoff, I., Day, J., and Hirsh, S. (1958). Pseudomutuality in the family relations of chizophrenics. Psychiatry, 21, 205–220.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard J. Markman
    • 1
  • Clifford I. Notarius
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of DenverDenverUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyCatholic University of AmericaUSA

Personalised recommendations