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Immediate effect of couple relationship education on low-satisfaction couples: a randomized clinical trial plus an uncontrolled trial replication


Halford, Kim W; Pepping, Christopher A; Hilpert, Peter; Bodenmann, Guy; Wilson, Keithia L; Busby, Dean; Larson, Jeffry; Holman, Thomas (2015). Immediate effect of couple relationship education on low-satisfaction couples: a randomized clinical trial plus an uncontrolled trial replication. Behavior Therapy, 46(3):409-421.

Abstract

Couple relationship education (RE) usually is conceived of as relationship enhancement for currently satisfied couples, with a goal of helping couples sustain satisfaction. However, RE also might be useful as a brief, accessible intervention for couples with low satisfaction. Two studies were conducted that tested whether couples with low relationship satisfaction show meaningful gains after RE. Study 1 was a three-condition randomized controlled trial in which 182 couples were randomly assigned to RELATE with Couple CARE (RCC), a flexible delivery education program for couples, or one of two control conditions. Couples with initially low satisfaction receiving RCC showed a moderate increase in relationship satisfaction (d=0.50) relative to the control. In contrast, couples initially high in satisfaction showed little change and there was no difference between RCC and the control conditions. Study 2 was an uncontrolled trial of the Couple Coping Enhancement Training (CCET) administered to 119 couples. Couples receiving CCET that had initially low satisfaction showed a moderate increase in satisfaction (g=.44), whereas initially highly satisfied couples showed no change. Brief relationship education can assist somewhat distressed couples to enhance satisfaction, and has potential as a cost-effective way of enhancing the reach of couple interventions.

Abstract

Couple relationship education (RE) usually is conceived of as relationship enhancement for currently satisfied couples, with a goal of helping couples sustain satisfaction. However, RE also might be useful as a brief, accessible intervention for couples with low satisfaction. Two studies were conducted that tested whether couples with low relationship satisfaction show meaningful gains after RE. Study 1 was a three-condition randomized controlled trial in which 182 couples were randomly assigned to RELATE with Couple CARE (RCC), a flexible delivery education program for couples, or one of two control conditions. Couples with initially low satisfaction receiving RCC showed a moderate increase in relationship satisfaction (d=0.50) relative to the control. In contrast, couples initially high in satisfaction showed little change and there was no difference between RCC and the control conditions. Study 2 was an uncontrolled trial of the Couple Coping Enhancement Training (CCET) administered to 119 couples. Couples receiving CCET that had initially low satisfaction showed a moderate increase in satisfaction (g=.44), whereas initially highly satisfied couples showed no change. Brief relationship education can assist somewhat distressed couples to enhance satisfaction, and has potential as a cost-effective way of enhancing the reach of couple interventions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Date:May 2015
Deposited On:30 Apr 2015 11:34
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:14
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0005-7894
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2015.02.001
PubMed ID:25892175

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