Consensus and relationship distress before and after a brief couples' intervention
Understanding how partners' perceptions of their relationships predict couple distress and treatment outcomes can inform relationship interventions, because consensus on pretreatment relationship concerns has previously been related to better treatment outcomes. However, whether consensus specifically about relationship concerns is beneficial, or whether consensus more generally (e.g., about couples' strengths) is also related to distress and treatment outcomes, is unknown. Therefore, to replicate and extend previous findings, the present study examined how 740 couples' consensus regarding their relationship strengths and concerns was associated with their relationship distress and satisfaction from pre- to postintervention after completing the Relationship Checkup (an adaptation of the Marriage Checkup). Couples who presented with greater initial consensus on relationship concerns were less likely to be clinically distressed pre- and postintervention. Broadly, there were similar significant gains in relationship satisfaction from pre- to postintervention regardless of couples' initial level of consensus on concerns. However, when distress was modeled categorically, couples with lower initial consensus on concerns showed greater improvement in distress levels than did those with higher consensus. There were no associations between partners' consensus on strengths and their distress or satisfaction pre- or postintervention. Results indicate that a brief integrative relationship intervention can decrease relationship distress, even for couples that present with very different opinions about their relationship concerns. Implications of brief and acceptance-based models in couple education and therapy are discussed.
Journal of Family Psychology
Reyes, Lucia M.; Lenger, Katherine A.; Rauer, Amy; Roberson, Patricia N.E.; Cordova, James V.; Gray, Tatiana; and Gordon, Kristina C., "Consensus and relationship distress before and after a brief couples' intervention" (2020). Psychology. 35.