Baylor Researcher Offers Free Marriage Assessments

Sept. 25, 2006
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by Frank Raczkiewicz

As part of continuing research and the success of the spring program, Dr. Keith Sanford, a clinical psychologist and an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University, is again offering free marriage assessments to any central Texas couple. This includes couples who would like to make a contribution to research, couples in a happy marriage who would like to enhance their relationship or couples who may be facing some distress.

The free marriage assessment is unique because it provides couples with research-based feedback that can be used in different ways by different types of couples. Most other programs for couples are either different forms of marital therapy or educational programs, in which all couples are given the same basic instruction. But Sanford said these types of programs are only helpful when couples lack knowledge, or when they are experiencing problems. In contrast, all couples can benefit from receiving feedback on their specific relationship. Additionally, the marriage assessment uses research-based instruments and the feedback it provides is not available to couples elsewhere.

"The marriage assessment is designed to be useful for a broader range of couples," Sanford said. "It responds better to the goals and needs that each couple has and it's more flexible than other existing programs."

Sanford and his research team are studying what makes marriages work and the degree couples benefit from relationship feedback. Sanford said the data collected will help develop more effective marriage therapy programs.

Each married couple will complete a questionnaire and a communication exercise measuring how the couple communicates through a conflict. After the private assessment, each couple will be given feedback, which could help identify any areas in need of improvement or it could highlight unrecognized strengths. Each couple also will receive a free dinner for two at a local restaurant for participating.

A free children's activity will be offered to couples with children during each assessment session.

For more information or to register for the free marriage assessment, contact Dr. Sanford at (254) 710-2256.

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