129: Couple, Marriage, and Relationship Education and Therapy
Ashley Walsdorf; Candice A. Maier
- Education & Enrichment
- Family Therapy
- Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Families
- Research & Theory
About the Session
Interactive Poster Sessions have a NEW LIVE INTERACTIVE approach this year to allow for more engagement between presenters and attendees. Posters listed below are included in this session. Each poster presenter will have 3 minutes to present an overview of their poster at the beginning of this session. Following all individual poster overviews, each poster presenter will move to a breakout room where attendees can have live discussions with the presenters (approximately 45 minutes). Attendees can move in and out of the breakout rooms to talk with presenters.
Posters will be available to view online beginning November 1.
Facilitator: Ashley A. Walsdorf
Presider: Candice A. Maier
129-01 RT: Dyadic Changes in Relationship Self-Regulation and Relationship Satisfaction Among Economically and Ethnically Diverse Couples in Relationship Education
Relationship education (RE) improves relationship quality for many couples with low income enrolled in federal RE programs. Couples often report improvements to mood, communication, and conflict management post-RE, which are behavioral strategies associated with relationship self-regulation (RSR). Therefore, we present findings from a quantitative study that applied dyadic analysis to examine the mediating effects of changes in RSR among diverse couples for improvements in relationship satisfaction post-RE intervention.
- To identify correlations between baseline relationship satisfaction, income, race, ethnicity, and education.
- To examine changes in self-reports of relationship self-regulation as an explanatory process for dyadic improvements in relationship satisfaction among couples completing a relationship education intervention.
- To examine changes in perceptions of a partner's relationship self-regulation as an explanatory process for dyadic improvements in relationship satisfaction among couples completing a relationship education intervention.
Subject Codes: relationship quality, ,
Population Codes: couples/coupled, low income,
Method and Approach Codes: mediation/indirect effects models, structural equation modeling (SEM),
129-02 RT: Evaluating the Benefits of Preparing For Marriage Program
Ruhama Tollossa, Ryan Guinee
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the Preparing for Marriage (PFM) premarital program as well as to compare their responses with a comparative group who have taken premarital counseling/education outside of Preparing for Marriage. Five PFM participants and six non-PFM participants were selected using research-developed personas and a comparative audience for the organization. Participants were interviewed for 30 minutes using a semi-structured interview guide. Interviews were recorded, sorted by theme, and organized into clusters capturing participants’ experience with a premarital course education. PFM evaluation provided insights on participants’ perceived value and material content. Furthermore, interviews with non-PFM participants found insightful explanations for why couples pursue premarital counseling, and two paralleling themes with PFM participants. We provide recommendations for how to position the premarital counseling resource and considerations for a multiplicity of experiences that lead to marriage apart from the traditional view presented in the current version.
- To evaluate the effectiveness of the Preparing for Marriage Program
- To analyze couples Preparing for Marriage experience
- To understand couples premarital counseling experience
Subject Codes: decision making, relationship formation, relationship quality
Population Codes: marriage and family therapists/clinicians, religious/religiosity, first married
Method and Approach Codes: program evaluation, relationship education, evidence-based practices/programs
129-03 EE: Quality Time as a Mediator of Outcomes For Low-Income Couples Attending Relationship Education
Ryan Carlson, Nakita Carroll, Sejal Barden, Dalena Dillman Taylor, Lauren Locklear
This study examined quality time as a mediator of relationship quality change for 1,367 low-income couples randomly assigned to receive relationship education immediately, or to a wait-list control group. We utilized an APIMeM to examine direct intervention effects for couples immediately at post assessment on dyadic coping and dyadic adjustment, as well as the indirect effects through a measure of quality time spent together. Results indicated no direct effects, but statistically significant indirect effects of quality time as being associated with positive change for dyadic coping and dyadic adjustment. Additionally, we found both actor and partner effects such that men and women's reports of increased quality time was associated with more positive dyadic adjustment and dyadic coping.
- Describe the current study and results
- Discuss the value of quality time spent together for couples attending relationship education
- Present implications for future research and implementation
Subject Codes: relationships, relationship quality, education
Population Codes: low income, couples/coupled, Family Scientists
Method and Approach Codes: quantitative methodology, relationship education, evaluation
129-04 EE: Culturally Responsive Evaluation: An Introduction For Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Programs
Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) programs that promote knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors associated with developing and maintaining healthy relationships are currently implemented in diverse communities across the United States. Yet, few studies have examined how the cultures of programs and families served by HMRE programs are considered either in the delivery of programming or the achievement of key program outcomes. When HMRE programs, or program-evaluator partnerships, prepare to conduct an evaluation, it is important to consider more than the technical steps of evaluation, especially in settings that are culturally diverse or focused primarily on underrepresented populations (e.g., economically disadvantaged, people of color). Culturally responsive evaluation (CRE) is a framework that can facilitate this process. This study describes a CRE framework and provides concrete steps for how HMRE programs and evaluation teams can use the CRE framework to inform the design and implementation of evaluations in various contexts.
- To introduce the concept of culturally responsive evaluation.
- To synthesize literature on culturally responsive healthy marriage and relationship education programs.
- To provide guidance for conducting culturally responsive evaluations of healthy marriage and relationship education programming.
Subject Codes: relationships, cultural competence,
Population Codes: non-clinical practitioners, ,
Method and Approach Codes: evaluation, applied research,
129-05 FH: Associations Between Health Support and Control and Exercising Together on Exercise Self-Efficacy in Heterosexual Married Couples
Josh Novak, Menglin Wei, Kylie Seaton
While the provision of health support and control from the significant other can encourage people to stay on track with their exercise plans, the pathways to change remain unclear. Utilizing dyadic data from 234 heterosexual couples, the present study aims to examine how does the provision of health support and control associated with one’s own and their partner’s exercise self-efficacy via emotional distress (depression, anxiety, and stress). We controlled for several important covariates—education, age, income, number of children, and BMI—and tested our model against several plausible alternative models. Results revealed differential indirect effects for men and women: men’s provision of health support to their partner’s exercise self-efficacy and women’s provision of health control to their partner’s exercise self-efficacy with both occurring through the partner’s emotional distress. These findings highlight the unique pathways for heterosexual couples and have important implications for intervention.
- Participants will identify the dyadic and differential pathways that health support and control are associated with exercise self efficacy
- Participants will identify aspects of emotional health that are relevant in the associations between support/control and exercise self efficacy
- Participants will know how the study’s findings can be used to tailor and enhance health promotion and education in couple relationships
Subject Codes: relationships, physical health, health
Population Codes: romantic partners, heterosexual, middle adulthood
Method and Approach Codes: dyadic analysis, structural equation modeling (SEM), mediation/indirect effects models
129-06 FT: TGCSQ Coding of Therapist Behaviors and Client Alliance
Kalyn Warren, Brian Gillis, Scott Ketring, Brandon Jacobs
Therapist variability accounts for 5-15% of change in couple therapy (Friedlander, et al., 2006), with notable variability for male and female clients (Allgood & Crane, 1991). Focusing on within-session therapist behaviors could aid MFT master’s programs in molding therapeutic skills, therapeutic alliance, and promoting change for in couple therapy (Baker, 2017). The TGCSQ (Evans, Epstein, & McDowell, 2009) measures the therapist’s actions focused on common factors. Couple therapy sessionsat a therapy clinic were macro-coded to determine if factors of the TGCSQ were related to the therapy alliance as rated by community clients. Higher therapist warmth was associated with higher male client perception of alliance, controlling for session number and therapist. Greater validation by the therapist predicted higher female client perception of the alliance. Programs wanting to incorporate connection to within-session alliance for students’ training would benefit from measures like the TGCSQ for evidence-based training.
- To identify the within session behaviors related to the therapeutic alliance
- To identify how the TGCSQ is used to track therapist-in-training behaviors
- To identify different therapist actions eliciting increased alliance for male and female partners
Subject Codes: relationships, family processes, well-being
Population Codes: marriage and family therapists/clinicians, graduate students, couples/coupled
Method and Approach Codes: family therapy, program development,
129-07 FT: Couple Healing From Infidelity: A Grounded Theoryof Personal and Relational Healing
Stephen Fife, Jacob Gossner, Alex Theobald, Ariana Rivero, Emma Allen, Heather Koehl, Jordan Harrell
This study examined the process of relational and personal healing following infidelity for couples who choose to stay together. To accomplish this, we used constructivist grounded theory to analyze dyadic semi-structured interviews.Our results indicate that healing the couple relationship and each partner’s healing are distinct yet interconnected. Central to relationship healing was communicating deeply, including expressing emotions, asking for needs, and seeking connection. Supportive themes included committing to the relationship; seeking external support; addressing precursors to the infidelity; rebuilding trust; and focusing on the relationship. Central to individual healing was doing the work, with supportive themes of practicing empathy, being honest, finding self, and forgiving self (straying partners) and practicing compassion, establishing boundaries,meeting own needs,and forgiving partner (non-straying partners). Two primary clinical implications are the importance of attending to each partner and the relationship in therapy and the role of therapy in facilitating deep couple conversations.
- Attendees will be able to describe salient components of personal healing for non-straying and straying partners and how these components interact to propel relational healing
- Attendees will learn to apply principles of relational healing, including the role of communicating deeply, when working with couples seeking treatment for infidelity.
- Attendees will increase in their confidence in treating couples and individuals working to heal from infidelity
Subject Codes: infidelity, healing
Population Codes: couples/coupled, inclusive of adults
Method and Approach Codes: grounded theory, dyadic analysis
129-08 FT: A Review of Internet-Delivered and Text Message Interventions For the Treatment of Mental Health
Nick Frye-Cox, Catherine O'Neal, Mallory Lucier-Greer
Although asynchronous interventions have been studied for almost three decades, there has been ongoing skepticism about its merit. Recent technological advances, however, have made asynchronous mental health interventions more common. This article reviews research on asynchronous internet-delivered and text message interventions with a focus on conceptualization, effectiveness, and implementation. More specifically, asynchronous internet-delivered and text message interventions are conceptualized with a focus on four elements, including communication purpose, medium, type, and degree of engagement. Then, research on the effectiveness of asynchronous internet-delivered and text message interventions is summarized and potential factors that may alter its effectiveness are highlighted. Last, research highlighting logistical and ethical considerations that factor into the implementation of asynchronous internet-delivered and text message interventions intervention is reviewed. This literature review can shape the future of asynchronous mental health interventions in an increasingly technology-based society.
- To conceptualize technology-mediated therapies, with a specific emphasis on those that rely on asynchronous communication.
- To evaluate the effectiveness of technology-mediated therapies.
- To identify and describe practical considerations when implementing asynchronous.
Subject Codes: technology, mental health,
Population Codes: Family Life Education, marriage and family therapists/clinicians, non-clinical practitioners
Method and Approach Codes: systematic literature review, therapy, best practices
129-09 REDF: “George Floyd Really Opened My Eyes”: Reexamining Racial Attitudes Among Partners in Interracial Relationships
Adrienne Edwards, Marie Aimee Habiyaremye, I. Joyce Chang, David Knox
In this qualitative study, we examined how the death of George Floyd influenced the racial attitudes of partners in interracial relationships. We collected focus group data from 11 partners in interracial relationships and analyzed it using thematic analysis. Two major themes emerged from data analysis: reexamining racism and rethinking how to parent biracial children. Findings suggest that high-profile racialized events can influence the racial attitudes of partners in interracial relationships and catalyze them to reexamine their perspectives on racism. White partners in interracial relationships were compelled to negotiate issues of power and powerlessness in keeping their partners safe. Further, the death of George Floyd impacted how partners in interracial relationships approached their role as parents or future parents of biracial children. Implications for family life educators, family life coaches, and family therapists who work with interracial couples are provided.
- To examine how the death of George Floyd influenced racial attitudes among partners in interracial relationships.
- To analyze conversations about the death of George Floyd among interracial couples.
- To explore how historical events influence relationship processes among interracial couples.
Subject Codes: relationships, race, racism
Population Codes: couples/coupled, romantic partners,
Method and Approach Codes: qualitative methodology, thematic analysis, theory [identify specific theory below]
129-10 FT: Ethical Considerations for MFTs as Mental Health Influencers
Alexia Kingzette, Lauren Slivinski, Nicholas Triplett, Tzu-Chi Liang
The increase in social media usage contributes to a greater number of Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) using social media to grow their professional outreach and to increase awareness about mental health by engaging with online audiences. Although existing literature has discussed how MFTs can remain ethical on personal social media, no literature at this time has explored the potential ethical issues faced by MFTs seeking to build public presence on social media as a “mental health influencer.” This presentation intends to provide a definition of mental health influencers (MHIs) and reviews ethical concerns relevant to MHI-MFTs. Particular consideration is given to ethical dilemmas and conflicts-of-interest which may emerge via parasocial relationships developed through social media. A selection of prescient issues are examined by identifying relevant ethical standards set forth by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy’s (AAMFT) Code of Ethics.
- To discuss the increasing utilization of social media by marriage and family therapists and provide a definition for the term mental health influencer.
- To contribute to the established guidance of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy’s (AAMFT) Code of Ethics by addressing potential ethical concerns for marriage and family therapists who engage with online audiences.
- To encourage MFTs to take a relational ethics perspective as part of their decision-making process when acting as a mental health influencer.
Subject Codes: social media, ethics and values, technology
Population Codes: marriage and family therapists/clinicians, ,
Method and Approach Codes: ethics and values, best practices,