Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Thorana S. Nelson


Thorana S. Nelson


Ann Austin


Kathy Piercy


Solution-focused therapy is one of the models of brief family therapy that has come into prominence during the 1980s and 90s. Whereas earlier forms of family therapy concentrated on problems and the behaviors that maintained them, solution-focused therapy places its emphasis on "exceptions" to the problem--times when it is not happening--and seeks to elaborate on and amplify these exceptions.

A solution-focused therapy model has been used with individuals, couples, and groups of individuals, but a search of the relevant literature revealed no information on its use with couples' groups. The purpose of this study was to develop a solution-focused treatment plan for a couples ' group and to test its effectiveness. A single-case research design was used with a multiple baseline assessment strategy across subjects. Participants' improvement on measures of overall marital satisfaction and specific goal achievement was considered in evaluation of effectiveness.

Five couples completed the program. Marital satisfaction was measured using the Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale (RDAS) and the Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scale (KMS) . On both measures 7 of the 10 participants showed improvement between baseline and intervention scores. Two participants showed little change in scores and 1 subject recorded a decline in score.

A self-report goal sheet utilizing a 0-10 scale was used to record progress toward individual and couple goals. Eight participants reported progress, 1 no change, and 1 a decline on both types of goals. The results of this study lend support to the supposition of positive out comes from solution-focused couples ' group work and suggest the need for further study.