Can skills training prevent relationship problems in at-risk couples? Four-year effects of a behavioral relationship education program

J Fam Psychol. 2001 Dec;15(4):750-68. doi: 10.1037//0893-3200.15.4.750.


Eighty-three couples were stratified into groups at high and low risk for relationship distress and randomized to either the Self-Regulatory Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (Self-PREP) or a control condition. As predicted, there were differential effects of Self-PREP on high-risk and low-risk couples. Because of low statistical power, results must be interpreted cautiously, but at 1-year follow-up high-risk couples in Self-PREP showed trends toward better communication than control couples. However, there was no difference in the communication of Self-PREP and control low-risk couples. High-risk couples receiving Self-PREP exhibited higher relationship satisfaction at 4 years than control couples, but in low-risk couples relationship satisfaction was higher in the control condition. High-risk couples seemed to benefit from skills-based relationship education, but low-risk couples did not.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Therapy*
  • Marriage*
  • Risk
  • Treatment Outcome