The Effect of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy on Emotion Dysregulation in Couples

Ahmed Rady1, *
, Tarek Molokhia1
, Nehal Elkholy1
, Ahmed Abdelkarim1

1 Department of Psychiatry, Alexandria University School of Medicine, Alexandria, Egypt

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 370
Abstract HTML Views: 304
PDF Downloads: 318
Total Views/Downloads: 992
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 161
Abstract HTML Views: 80
PDF Downloads: 110
Total Views/Downloads: 351

Creative Commons License
© 2021 Rady et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Psychiatry, Alexandria University School of Medicine, Alexandria, Egypt;
Tel: +2 01282441053; E-mails:,



Divorce rates have increased during the last decade, leading to a greater focus of marital scholars on the importance of understanding couple-maintaining strategies within marital life. Distresses in couples are attributable to difficulties controlling felt, experienced, and expressed emotions; thus, emotion dysregulation is a core stressor in couples with maladaptive responses.


The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) on outpatient couples to treat emotion dysregulation.


We recruited 20 couples with marital distress in which partners presented emotion dysregulation. We offered the couples the opportunity to join a couple DBT group at their convenience and based on the immediate availability of treatment slots. We measured the treatment efficacy using psychometric tools (the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) and the Dyadic Adjustment Ccale (DAS) at baseline and after DBT therapy.


Both male and female partners presented significant improvements in marital adjustment DAS and emotion regulation scores. Female partners showed significantly greater amplitude changes in both scales. Female partners showed significant improvement in most DERS subscales (except the GOALS subscale); on the other hand, male partners showed significant improvements in impulse, awareness, strategies, and clarity subscales. We found significant improvements in most DAS subscales in both sexes; only affectional expression remained unchanged before and after therapy.


DBT for couples is an effective approach to treat emotion dysregulation.

Keywords: Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Couple therapy, Emotion dysregulation, Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), Marital therapy, Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS).