Representation of Diverse Populations in Couple and Family Therapy Intervention Studies: A Systematic Review of Race/Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, Age, and Income in the United States from 2014 to 2019

Chi Fang Tseng, Morgan E. PettyJohn, Patricia Huerta, Debra L. Miller, Juan Carlos Agundez, Meng Fang, Andrea K. Wittenborn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Disparities in mental health care among marginalized populations have been well-documented. Without research designed to study interventions for diverse populations, disparities in the quality of services will persist. A systematic review of articles evaluating couple and family therapy (CFT) interventions was conducted to evaluate the representation of diverse populations. More specifically, researchers sought to examine race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, income level, and age of sample participants. One hundred ninety-six studies evaluating CFT interventions in the United States in ten journals were included in the analysis. Findings indicate that family therapy research is more representative of racial minority and low-income participants compared with studies of couple interventions. Couple therapy research is often still conducted with predominately white, middle- to high-income samples. Following whites, African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos were the most common racial/ethnic groups included in both couple therapy research and family therapy research. Participants in same-sex relationships were absent from family intervention research and under-researched in couple intervention studies. Only one couple therapy study recruited a sample in which the average age was late adulthood. These findings are cause for concern given the widening mental health disparities in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-440
Number of pages17
JournalFamily Process
Volume60
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Couple and family therapy intervention research
  • Diverse population
  • Sample representation
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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