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Psychometrics for the Relationship Checkup

The Gottman Relationship Checkup measures specific strengths and challenges that couples face in their relationship and in their individual lives. Dr. Gottman's lab began designing many of these assessment questionnaires in 1980 and it has taken decades of diligent research to harness this knowledge into a streamlined assessment tool.

Before this tool was built, Dr. Gottman needed to know that The Sound Relationship House questionnaires, which are included in the Gottman Relationship Checkup, accurately measure what they purport to measure. For example, if there is a challenge in Fondness and Admiration for one partner but not the other, he needed to be confident that we would actually see less respect and more contempt in a SPAFF coding of the couple’s Conflict Interaction and/or a Buehlman Coding of the couple’s Oral History Interview. He is delighted to report that this is indeed the case.

The Gottman Relationship Checkup contains several additional questionnaires, some of which are in the process of being tested and validated. Below is a chart, with a list of the questionnaires used in the Gottman Relationship Checkup, which show whether cutoff scores are based on psychometric data or on clinical experience while normative data is being collected. Cutoff scores may change as new data is collected. An asterisk indicates that the questionnaire is a Gottman Sound Relationship House scale. Every questionnaire needs to be interpreted in the context of all the other information gained during the assessment process.

Relationship Checkup Questionnaire

* Gottman Sound Relationship House scales. Psychometric properties are available at
Cut off scores are based on:Subsection
Psychometric DataClinical Experience
Global Relationship Satisfaction Inventory
Weiss-Cerreto Relationship Status Inventory
* Love Maps
* Fondness and Admiration System
* Turning Towards or Away
Satisfaction with Passion and Romance in Your Relationship
Satisfaction with the Quality of Your Sex Life
Satisfaction with the Frequency of Sex in Your Relationship
* Emotional Disengagement and Loneliness
The Detour Scales Subsection
Chaos and Control
Trust in the Relationship
The Conflict Scales Subsection
* Harsh Startup
* The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
* Flooding
* Accepting Influence
* Compromise
* Negative Sentiment Override
* Repair Attempts
My Family History
Areas Scale One: Emotional Connection
Areas Scale Two: Stress
Areas Scale Three: Relatives and Extended Family
Areas Scale Four: Jealousy
Areas Scale Five: Emotional or Sexual Affairs
Areas Scale Six: Basic Values and Goals
Areas Scale Seven: Housework and Childcare
Areas Scale Eight: Financial Issues
Areas Scale Nine: Having Fun Together
Areas Scale Ten: Spirituality, Religion, Ethics
Areas Scale Eleven: Children
Areas Scale Twelve: Distressing Events
*Gridlock On Perpetual Issues
Shared Meaning Subsection
*Rituals of Connection
*Shared Meaning - Roles in Life
*Shared Meaning - Goals
*Shared Meaning - Symbols
Individual Areas of Concern Subsection
Drug & Alcohol Abuse
Drug & Alcohol Frequency Screening
Suicide Potential
Domestic Violence Situational
Domestic Violence Characterological
Social Isolation
Degradation and Humiliation
Sexual Coercion
Property Damage
Interpersonal Sensitivity
Phobic Anxiety
Paranoid Ideation
Poor Appetite
Trouble Falling Asleep
Awakening Early Morning
Restless or Disturbed Sleep
Thoughts of Death or Dying
Feelings of Guilt

Psychometric properties may be found in the following references:

Connor JP, Grier M, Feeney GF, Young RM. (2007). The validity of the Brief Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (bMAST) as a problem drinking severity measure. J Stud Alcohol Drugs, 68(5), 771-79.

Derogatis LR, Lipman RS, Covi L. (1973). SCL-90: an outpatient psychiatric rating scale--preliminary report. Psychopharmacology Bulletin, 9(1), 13-28.

Gottman, John. The reliability and validity of the sound relationship house questionnaires. Unpublished document. The article is available here.

Whiting, J.B. & Crane, D.R. (2003). Distress and Divorce: Establishing Cutoff Scores for the Marital Status Inventory. Contemporary Family Therapy, 25(2), 195 – 205.