Beier-Sternberg Discord Questionnaire (DQ)


To measure marital conflict and unhappiness.


Ernest G. Beier and Daniel P. Sternberg


The DQ is a 10-item instrument designed to measure two dimensions of amarital relationship: discord or conflict and the degree of unhappiness attached to such discord. The items on the DQ were selected based on a review of literature that revealed these topics to be major sources of marital disagreement. Each respondent first scores each topic with regard to the amount of conflict it generates in the marriage and then evaluates the extent to which such discord produces unhappiness. The items are scored individually. Although there is not a great deal of psychometric information available about the DQ, its utility stems from the ability to analyze separately each relevant dimension of a couple’s relationship.


The data for the DQ were generated from a series of studies involving newly married couples who responded to letters soliciting their cooperation. The couples were heterogenous in background, and were contacted shortly after marriage and one year later. Means are available for each item in the DQ for these couples at both time periods. There was a slight increase in conflict for the couples over the period of a year with an overall conflict mean of 33.92 shortly after marriage and 36.55 a year later. SCORING Each item is scored separately on a 7-point scale with higher scores indicating more conflict and more unhappiness. The individual items can be summed for a total score, but the meaning of that score is not clear.


No information is available.


The DQ has some degree of concurrent validity in that conflict ratings are significantly correlated with unhappiness ratings, and there is some correlation between scores on the DQ and a range of intimate behavior ratings. Also, there is a significant change over the first year of marriage for wives (total mean moved from 19 to 25.33), suggesting some degree of predictive validity for the DQ. PRIMARY REFERENCE

Beier, E. G., and Sternberg, D. P. (1977). Marital communication, Journal of Communication , 27, 92–100. Instrument reproduced with permission of Ernest G. Beier and Daniel P. Sternberg. AVAILABILITY Dr. Daniel P. Sternberg, 150 S 600 E Ste 4C, Salt Lake City, UT 841021999

With these scales, we want to find out what you believe are the areas of agreement or disagreement in your marriage. We also want to find out if these areas of agreement and disagreement make you feel happy, sad, or indifferent. For example, if money is a topic of much disagreement in your marriage, you could make a mark in Scale 1: Degree of Agreement under the numbers 5, 6, or 7 depending on the extent of your disagreement. If you were to make a mark under the number 7, this would mean that you feel there is much disagreement about money in your marriage. If you were to mark under the number 5, this means you feel there is some disagreement about money. With Scale 1 we want to find out how you differ from your spouse in looking at things. In Scale 2 we want to find out how you feel about these differences. If, for example a disagreement were to make you very unhappy, as in the “Money” example given above, you would mark 6 or 7 on Scale 2: Results of Agreement or Disagreement . Please check each item in both scales. Remember, the higher the number the more disagreement or conflict over a particular topic, the lower the number, the more agreement.