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The current chapter reviews the array of relationship-strengthening interventions that have been developed and evaluated in the literature to address this issue. These programs typically target couples satisfied in their relationships (screening out couples for extreme levels of relationship discord and distress), with the hope of preventing relationship discord and dissolution before it has truly taken hold within relationships. We conclude by presenting some new directions involving an intervention that couples can engage on their own in the comfort of their own homes.
This chapter explores the promise and pitfalls of using the Internet as a tool to collect data, with a focus on practical and conceptual concerns relevant to social-personality psychologists. It discusses some of the benefits and challenges of collecting data over the Internet, and focuses primarily on using the Internet to recruit participants and collect data. The chapter reviews a practical guidance for implementing online studies. It provides detailed examples of how common study designs within social-personality psychology can be successfully implemented via the Internet. Using an experimental design in an Internet-based study requires translating the random assignment process and the experimental manipulation(s) to a Web-based format. The chapter highlights a few unique options and challenges of Internet-based study design. It also discusses a few but unique ethical concerns which the Internet data collection presents before ending with a discussion on the future opportunities for Internet use in research.
The last 30 years have witnessed an explosion of research on marriage and marital dysfunction. Building on seminal cross-sectional studies contrasting happy couples with distressed couples (for reviews see Bradbury & Fincham, 1987, 1989), one central question has begun to guide the course of marital research: How do marriages change? In contrast to the earlier cross-sectional literature, a large proportion of current marital research seeks to explain how couples can begin their marriages with high levels of satisfaction and then, with surprising regularity, grow to become unhappy in a relatively short period of time. Examining the factors associated with shifts in marital satisfaction is a pragmatic and direct approach to address the problem of marital discord and divorce, and this line of research holds great promise. However, in this chapter we adopt the view that looking at deterioration of marital satisfaction over time is only one facet of understanding change. We believe that relationships can undergo shifts in their basic nature without necessarily demonstrating corresponding changes in satisfaction and that relationships can even experience improvements in satisfaction over time. Focusing too exclusively on deterioration of satisfaction over time precludes the study of these processes. In an effort to expand the focus in this domain, we review previous research within a framework that views change in relationships as a multifaceted process. This will allow us to clarify the strengths and limitations of previous work and to highlight a number of new directions for research.
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