Date of Award:

5-1-2014

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Kay Bradford

Abstract

Though distress in couple relationships is common, many partners are resistant to formal interventions (e.g., couple therapy; couple and relationship education) due to time constraints, financial costs, and stigma. The relationship checkup offers a new alternative developed to address these concerns, but the limited research of this format warrants additional exploration. This study presents findings from qualitative research of couples’ and their clinicians’ experience with this format. Using a convenience sample, ten couples were recruited along with the six clinicians who administered the intervention. Partners were interviewed together and their clinicians individually using a semi-structured interview. Using a phenomenological approach, each interview was then analyzed and coded to explore couple process in the intervention. Prevalent themes that epitomized couples’ experience as identified by the couples include couple motivation, therapeutic environment, internal and external change, and program response. Themes that emerged among clinicians included couple characteristics, couple motivation, therapeutic relationship, and therapeutic change. Themes between couples and clinicians were compared, and considerable agreement was found between participant and clinician themes. These themes indicate that the intervention was successful in a number of ways, including facilitating change in couple relationships, attracting couples in various states of distress, allowing couples to overcome the typical obstacles to treatment, while fostering a more positive attitude towards future treatment. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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