Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Scot M. Allgood


Scot M. Allgood


The purpose of this study was to explore how therapist and client gender are associated with communication behaviors of males and females in marital therapy. The majority of research on therapist gender issues has been conducted with individual clients. Few data exist on the effects of therapist gender within marital therapy. This study examined the communication patterns of couples within a marital therapy setting and the influence of therapist gender on those patterns. Forty-six I 0-minute videotape segments of marital therapy were coded for communication patterns. Coded verbal statement categories included the verbal behaviors of agreement, supportive, solution of problems, and structuring. The results indicated that female clients used more problem description, solution of problem, and structuring statements than did males. In the context of marital therapy, stereotypic patterns of communication were not observed. This held true for therapists of both genders. Possible explanations include the experience of the therapists and therapist supervision.