Immediate Effect of Couple Relationship Education on Low-Satisfaction Couples: A Randomized Clinical Trial Plus an Uncontrolled Trial Replication Academic Article uri icon

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.

authors

  • Kim Halford, W
  • Pepping, CA
  • Hilpert, P
  • Bodenmann, G
  • Wilson, KL
  • Busby, D
  • Larson, J
  • Holman, T

publication date

  • 2015