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Department of Psychology Clinical Psychology for Children/Adolescents and Couples/Families

Improving Relationship by a Self-Directed Approach


Objective: Prevention programs for couples are promising. However, the reach of couples is limited because of numerous barriers (e.g. time constraints, financial restraints, lacking childcare opportunities, or lack of anonymity). An option to overcome many of these barriers might be to use a DVD-based prevention approach allowing broad dissemination. The aim of this study was to examine the efficacy of a DVD-based stress-prevention program for couples. Method: 320 couples were randomly assigned two intervention groups and a waiting control group. Couples completed questionnaires at pre-test, post-test and 3 and 6 months after completion of the intervention. Results: Couples of the intervention groups showed significant improvement in relationship satisfaction and skills (dyadic coping, communication) and reduced significantly the intensity of their arguments in comparison with the waiting list control group. Subjects with lower skills reported better improvement. Conclusions: The results show first time that a purely DVD-based approach is a valuable option to improve relationship functioning; many common barriers (e.g., geographical distances to prevention provider, time constraints, and financial restraints) can be overcome and it allows simple, inexpensive, and broad dissemination.

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