Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of written paradoxical directives on problem resolution and level of intimacy in selected married couples.;The population selected was married couples participating in selected churches in the geographical region of Williamsburg, Virginia. Volunteer couples completed a survey questionaire stating one problem in their relationship they would like to see changed. The sample consisted of 32 married couples with 11 couples randomly assigned to paradoxical directive and attention-placebo treatment groups and 10 couples to a no-treatment control group.;Couples in the paradoxical group were sent a four-paragraph paradoxical letter encouraging them to continue or exaggerate the stated problem. Couples in the attention-placebo group received structurally identical letters but without the paradoxical component. The control group received no letter.;It was hypothesized that couples in the paradoxical group would show greater (1) perceived problem relief, (2) perceived problem-solving ability, (3) level of perceived intimacy, (4) level of expected intimacy, (5) favorable perception of the mate, and (6) quality of the relationship than couples in the attention-placebo and control groups.;It was concluded that no statistical evidence existed to support the hypotheses.;Further study is needed to investigate the effectiveness of paradoxical directives on marital problem-solving and the several dimensions of intimacy.



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