There has been an increasing momentum in the field of marriage and family therapy to attune the therapy process to the client’s socio-culture influences; however when this socio-cultural influence includes spirituality there is often a restraint in the attuning. While there are several explanations for this, two rationales rise to the surface: therapist not feeling adequately trained to attune to spirituality and lack of validated tools to effectively measure this socio-cultural influence of spirituality. When working with couple’s this can be even more complicated as validated dyadic measures are limited and those that exist usually measure spirituality through a global measure such as church attendance. Additionally, these measures were created and are often operationalized as individual assessment of spirituality/religion. The Marital Selflessness Scale (MSS) is a dyadic measure that was validated through an exploratory factor analysis revealing three latent factors: Relational Expectations; Relational Empowerment; Relational Selflessness. A therapist can utilize the MSS with confidence when working with a couple who are part of a Christian socio-cultural influence. The results of the dyadic MSS attune the therapist to the couple’s values of unconditional love and selflessness in the marriage, provides direction for developing couple goals, and gives the therapist a language into creating effective interventions.

LLU Discipline

Marital and Family Therapy


Counseling and Family Sciences


School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Distelberg, Brian

Second Advisor

Baker-Oloo, Winetta

Third Advisor

Moline, Mary

Fourth Advisor

Wilson, Colwick

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Self Psychology; Marriage - Psychology; Interpersonal Relations; Religion and Psychology; Personality Inventory; Self-Assessment; Spirituality; Self Concept

Subject - Local

Socio-culture Influences; Marital Selflessness Scale (MSS); Relational Expectations; Relational Empowerment; Relational Selflessness



Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives