The Effect of Emotional Focused Intervention on Spousal Emotional Abuse and Marital Satisfaction among Elderly Married Couples: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Document Type : Original article


1 Department of Nursing Geriatric, Nursing and Midwifery School, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz Iran

2 Malaysian Research Institute on Ageing, Faculty of Human Ecology, University Putra Malaysia, Malaysia

3 Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology, Faculty of Educational Studies, University Putra Malaysia, Malaysia

4 Community Based Psychiatric Care Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

5 Department of Biostatistics, Medical School, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences. Shiraz Iran


Background: This study examined the impacts of an Emotional Focused Intervention on emotional abuse behaviors and marital satisfaction among the elderly married couples. Methods: This randomized controlled trial study was carried out in Shiraz-Iran, during September 2013-2014. The elderly couples were invited to join an emotional focused intervention, following the advertisement and announcement on bulletin boards in the elderly day clinic centers and all governmental primary health care centers. Then, 57 couples (114 participants) who were eligible for study were assigned in two groups by block randomization (29 in the experimental and 28 in the control group(.The couples in the experimental group received intervention twice a week for four weeks. Each session lasted 90 minutes. The control group didn’t receive any intervention and the subjects were put in the waiting list. The outcome measures were evaluated by Multidimensional Measure of Emotional Abuse Questionnaire (MMEAQ) and Marital Satisfaction Questionnaire for Older People (MSQFOP). Repeated measurement ANOVA was used to detect any significant changes between groups in their mean scores of emotional abuse behaviors and marital satisfaction from pre- to post-test, and 3 months after the intervention. Analysis of data was performed using SPSS, version 19, and P≤0.05 was measured as significant.Results: The mean duration of marriage was 39.56±9.64 years. In the experimental group, the abusive behaviors decreased significantly (P<0.001) at times 2 and 3 compared with time 1, and marital satisfaction improved significantly only at time 3 (P<0.001). These differences were not significant in the control group.Conclusion: Emotion-focused couple-based interventions are helpful in reducing the spousal emotional abuse and improving marital satisfaction in among the elderly couples.Trial Registration Number: 2013111715426N1