Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Marital Schism in Couples

  • Sara Villegas-BoykinsEmail author
  • Sarah A. B. Knapp
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_14

Name of Concept

Marital Schism in Couples


Marital schism is a concept of marital discord that can be seen across couples, regardless of cultural identities (Lidz et al. 1957; Reicher and Sani 1998). Marital schism is a state of imbalance and discord present within a couple (Lidz et al. 1957). In marital schism, there is a failure to accomplish mutual agreement, which often leads to desired separation from the relationship (Lidz et al. 1957). It occurs when mutual disagreement leads to rigid differences, thereby deterring compromise between each partner (Reicher and Sani 1998). Furthermore, marital schism can be seen as a lack of emotional support, coercion to conform to other spouse, and competition for children’s attention (Lidz et al. 1957).

Theoretical Context of Concept

Marital schism was termed by Theodore Lidz and his colleagues during their work regarding schizophrenia and the family (McHale and Sullivan 2008). Lidz and colleagues were among the first to look at...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California School of Professional PsychologyAlliant International UniversityLos AngelesUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam R. Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA