Married or cohabiting adults seeking psychotherapy at the clinics listed above were contacted by a research assistant about a study on “relationships and stress.” Students were contacted if they endorsed being married or living with a significant other. All prospective participants were administered a telephone screening interview by a master’s-level clinician to inquire about the presence of anxiety disorder symptoms and to evaluate exclusion criteria. Those who endorsed clinically significant anxiety disorder symptoms in this phone interview were invited to complete a face-to-face diagnostic interview with a master’s-level clinician.
Couples who met study criteria and provided informed consent were given baseline questionnaires and 14 diary reports. Partners were instructed to complete diary reports separately at the end of each day, to refrain from discussing their responses, and to return each report in a prestamped envelope after completion. Compliance was monitored in two ways: (a) Couples were phoned once at the end of each study week to remind them to complete questionnaires separately, give them an opportunity to ask questions, and encourage consistent mailing of reports; (b) on each diary, participants were asked to indicate whether they completed the report on a day other than the one designated on the form. At study completion, couples were debriefed and given $100.00 remuneration.
Of 34 couples (i.e., 68 participants) enrolled, 91.2% (n = 31) of wives and 91.2% (n = 31) of husbands provided 14 daily reports. The mean number of data points provided was 13.8 (range = 12–14; SD = 0.41) for wives and 13.76 (range = 10–14; SD = 0.81) for husbands. Baseline questionnaires were completed by all participants. One couple was eliminated because more than half of their reports were noncompliant (completed on an incorrect day). Eight additional couples had noncompliant reports (M = 2, range = 1–3). Rather than eliminate their data, we omitted from our analyses their noncompliant days (19 total). Our final sample was therefore 33 couples.