Couple resilience inventory: Two dimensions of naturally occurring relationship behavior during stressful life events

Keith Sanford, Lindsey M. Backer-Fulghum, Chelsea Carson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


A series of 3 studies using samples of married or cohabiting people were conducted to develop a new scale for measuring resilience in couples. Resilience involves the extent to which couples engage in behaviors that help each partner cope during stressful life events. In the first study, 525 people responded to open-ended questions, and a qualitative analysis identified 49 different potential types of resilience behavior that people naturally experience and notice in their relationships. In the second study, 320 people completed a questionnaire assessing the 49 resilience behaviors. Several items were correlated with measures of well-being and quality of life, and results suggested that the domain of resilience items could be reduced to 2 factors: 1 pertaining to positive behavior and the other to negative. In the third study, 18 items were selected to create a new measure of couple resilience, and the measure was tested with a sample of 568 people. The new measure fit an expected 2-dimensional factor structure. Scales measuring positive and negative behavior were nearly orthogonal, but both correlated with measures of quality of life and well-being, and most effects remained significant after controlling for relationship satisfaction. The resilience scales had moderate cross-partner correlations when 2 partners reported on the same stressful event. These results provide preliminary validity evidence for use of the new measure of couple resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1243-1254
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Coping
  • Couples
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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