Follow-up data across 2 years were obtained on 130 of 134 couples who were originally part of a randomized clinical trial comparing traditional versus integrative behavioral couple therapy (TBCT vs. IBCT; A. Christensen et al., 2004). Both treatments produced similar levels of clinically significant improvement at 2 years posttreatment (69% of IBCT couples and 60% of TBCT couples). Both treatments showed a "hockey-stick" pattern of change in which satisfaction dropped immediately after treatment termination but then increased for most of follow-up. The break point when couples reversed courses and gained in satisfaction occurred sooner for IBCT than TBCT couples, and those couples who stayed together generally fared better in IBCT than in TBCT. Finally, there was evidence of greater stability during follow-up in IBCT than in TBCT couples. There was little change in individual functioning over follow-up, but when change occurred it was strongly related to change in marital satisfaction. Given that this sample was selected for its significant and chronic distress, the data are encouraging about the long-term impact of behavioral couple therapy.
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