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13 - Effective interventions for optimal relationships

from Part III - Effective interventions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2016

C. Raymond Knee
Affiliation:
University of Houston
Harry T. Reis
Affiliation:
University of Rochester, New York
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Summary

Although a range of dyadic processes promote optimal relationship development, maintaining these processes over time proves elusive for many couples, as marital satisfaction declines on average and many marriages result in divorce. Scholars have thus worked over the past several decades to prevent and remediate these adverse outcomes through a variety of interventions. In this chapter we review the state of the literature for two different models of intervention: prevention programs focused on helping couples low in distress maintain their satisfaction and avoid deterioration, and couple therapy focused on helping couples high in distress regain their satisfaction and improve their relationship. This review highlights stronger evidence for the long-term effectiveness of couple therapy than it does for prevention programs. We argue that more of a focus on helping couples harness their existing strengths will be helpful in enhancing the long-term efficacy of prevention programs, as will new models of delivery that are more consistent with an emphasis on relationship maintenance.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2016

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