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Current Projects in the Lab

Tailoring Couple Interventions to Couple Needs

Co-PI: Dr. Erika Lawrence

Historically, couple prediction models and prevention programs target conflict resolution and communication skills almost exclusively. These models only predict a small proportion of the variance​ and prevention programs are marginally effective. Through this project, we developed and validated the Relationship Quality Interview (RQI) to assess five different domains of couple functioning: emotional intimacy​, partner support, sexuality, respect and acceptance and conflict management. Clinicians conduct semi-structured interviews yielding interviewers' scores of the quality of couple functioning on each domain.

Through a series of multi-wave longitudinal studies, we found that different domains of couple functioning at the time of marriage predict different relationship satisfaction trajectories for men versus women, and for couples in community versus clinical samples, suggesting that different couples need help with different types of relationship skills to prevent dysfunction. We have translated the content of each domain in the RQI into skills workshops for couples. Feasibility testing of the workshops has already been completed. Next, we will be conducting pilot testing of this novel prevention program in which couples are administered the RQI, given feedback on their strengths and limitations, offered the workshops relevant to their specific needs and then followed longitudinally to assess outcomes.

Hayley Fivecoat, Ph.D.