Circumplex Model of Marital Systems: An Empirical Study of Clinic and Non‐clinic Couples

Douglas H. Sprenkle, David H.L. Olson

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51 Scopus citations


The interaction processes of twenty‐five couples receiving marriage counseling were compared with a control group of twenty‐five couples not receiving counseling. The study was a partial test of a circumplex model of marital and family systems. The major variable was adaptability. Creativity and support were also examined. The study also sought to evaluate the usefulness of the principal instrument, SIMFAM, as a behavioral indicator of marital adjustment and an assessment tool for marriage and family counselors. Under stressful circumstances, there was evidence that better adjusted couples have a more equalitarian leadership (relative control) pattern. A combination of high support and equalitarian leadership was especially characteristic of NC (non‐clinic) couples. NC couples were significantly more creative, more supportive and more responsive to each other's attempts to influence each other (control efficiency) than clinic couples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-74
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of marital and family therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1978


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