The Effectiveness of Couple Therapy Based on the Choice Theory on Marital Commitment and Burnout in Couples with Marital Conflicts

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Psychology, Bushehr Branch, Islamic Azad University, Bushehr, Iran

2 Department of Counseling, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Marital commitment helps couples save their marriage despite difficulties and painful events. The present study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of couple therapy based on the choice theory on marital commitment and burnout in couples with marital conflicts in Mahshahr (Iran).
Method: This quasi-experimental study was based on a pretest-posttest and follow-up with a control group design. The statistical population consisted of all couples who visited the couple therapy clinics of Mahshahr, Iran, in 2019. Using convenience sampling, 30 participants were selected and were randomly divided into experimental and control groups (n= 15 per group). The research instruments included the Marital Burnout Questionnaire (MBQ) and Marital Commitment Questionnaire. The repeated measures ANOVA was used to analyze the data.
Results: The mean ± SD of the post-test scores of marital commitment and marital burnout were 16.26±1.37, and 5.37±0.27 in the experimental group and 10.42±0.64 and 6.77±0.28 in the control groups. The results showed that there was a significant difference between the experimental and control groups in the post-test scores of marital commitment and marital burnout (P< 0.001).
Conclusion: Couple therapy based on the choice theory was effective in reducing couples’ marital burnout and improving their marital commitment. Therefore, this intervention is recommended to be used to reduce marital conflicts in couples.


  1. Ahmadi L, Panaghi L, Sadeghi MS, Zamani Zarchi MS. The Mediating Role of Personality Factors in the Relationship Between Family of Origin Health Status and Marital Adjustment. J Research Health. 2020;10(4):239-48.
  2. Dadfarnia S, Sadeghi M-S, Panaghi L. Investigating Couples' Interactive Patterns at Three Stages of the Family Life Cycle. International Journal of Behavioral Sciences. 2021;14(4):191-8.
  3. Fisher CA, Skocic S, Rutherford KA, Hetrick SE. Family therapy approaches for anorexia nervosa. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;10(10):Cd004780.
  4. Zakhirehdari N, Navabinejad S, Koraei A. Comparison of the Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral and Emotion- Focused Couple Therapies on Marital Intimacy of Couples. International Journal of Behavioral Sciences. 2019;13(3):111-7.
  5. Nejatian M, Alami A, Momeniyan V, Delshad Noghabi A, Jafari A. Investigating the status of marital burnout and related factors in married women referred to health centers. BMC Women's Health. 2021;21(1):25.
  6. Jafari A, Alami A, Charoghchian E, Delshad Noghabi A, Nejatian M. The impact of effective communication skills training on the status of marital burnout among married women. BMC Women's Health. 2021;21(1):231.
  7. Bagherzadeh R, Taghizadeh Z, Mohammadi E, Kazemnejad A, Pourreza A, Ebadi A. Relationship of work-family conflict with burnout and marital satisfaction: cross-domain or source attribution relations? Health Promot Perspect. 2016;6(1):31-6.
  8. Alsawalqa R. Marriage Burnout: When the Emotions Exhausted Quietly Quantitative Research. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. 2019;In Press.
  9. Hou Y, Jiang F, Wang X. Marital commitment, communication and marital satisfaction: An analysis based on actor-partner interdependence model. Int J Psychol. 2019;54(3):369-76.
  10. Ehsan-Niarmi A, Heydari H, Zare-Bahramabadi M, Davoudi H. A Structural Model of Marital Commitment Prediction based on Personality Traits by the Mediation of Attachment Styles and Self-differentiation. International Journal of Behavioral Sciences. 2019;12(4):183-92.
  11. Kheramin S, Sahebi A, Shirazi YG, Malekzadeh M, Mohseni S, Shirazi HRG. Construct and Psychometric Properties of a New Version Quality of Life Scale Based on Choice Theory. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. 2019;7(3):440-5.
  12. Safaei Nezhad A, Ebrahimi L, Vakili MM, Kharaghani R. Effect of counseling based on the choice theory on irrational parenthood cognition and marital quality in infertile women: A randomized controlled trial. Perspect Psychiatr Care. 2020;56(1):141-8.
  13. Pines A. Couple burnout: causes and cures. : London: Routledge; 1996.
  14. Heshmati R, Gharadaghi A, Jafari E, Gholizadehgan M. The prediction of marital burnout in couples seeking divorce with awareness of demographic features, mindfulness, and emotional resilience. Family Counseling and Psychotherapy. 2022;7(1):1-22.
  15. Adams JM, Jones WH. The conceptualization of marital commitment: An integrative analysis. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1997;72(5):1177-96.
  16. Mahmoudpour A, Farahbakhsh K, Balochzadeh E. Prediction of women’s marital commitment based on their attachment styles, self-compassion and distress tolerance. Family Counseling and Psychotherapy. 2018;8(1):65-84.
  17. Abbasi H, Ahmadi SA, Fatehizadeh M, Bahrami F. Effect of Couple Therapy Based on the Choice Theory on Social Commitment of Couples. J Educ Community Health. 2017;4(2):3-10.
  18. Glasser W. Control theory. : New York: Harper Collins. ; 1985.
  19. Ebadi Z, Pasha R, Hafezi F, Eftekhar Z. Effectiveness of Reality Therapy Based on Choice Theory on Marital Intimacy and Satisfaction. Journal of Midwifery and Reproductive Health. 2020;8(2):2230-9.
  20. Hojjati H, Habibi K, Alimohammadzadeh K. Effectiveness of Reality Therapy on Empathy of the Spouses of Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Military Caring Sciences Journal. 2020;7(1):1-7.
  21. Robey P, Burdenski TK, Britzman M, Crowell J, Cisse GS. Systemic Applications of Choice Theory and Reality Therapy: An Interview With Glasser Scholars. The Family Journal. 2011;19(4):427-33.
  22. Fereidouni H, Omidi A, Tamannaeifar S. The Effectiveness of Choice Theory Education on Happiness and Self-Esteem in University Students. Practice in Clinical Psychology. 2019;7(3):207-14.
  23. Zaheri F, Dolatian M, Shariati M, Simbar M, Ebadi A, Azghadi SB. Effective Factors in Marital Satisfaction in Perspective of Iranian Women and Men: A systematic review. Electron Physician. 2016;8(12):3369-77.
  24. Sorokowski P, Randall AK, Groyecka A, Frackowiak T, Cantarero K, Hilpert P, et al. Marital Satisfaction, Sex, Age, Marriage Duration, Religion, Number of Children, Economic Status, Education, and Collectivistic Values: Data from 33 Countries. Front Psychol. 2017;8:1199.