Long-Term Effectiveness of Treatment-as-Usual Couple Therapy for Military Veterans

Kathryn M. Nowlan, Emily J. Georgia, Brian Doss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Despite the fact that veterans face increased psychological and relationship distress as a result of their service-related experiences, no study to date has explored the long-term effectiveness of couple therapy for veterans. In the present investigation, 238 individuals (113 couples and 12 additional individuals) completed assessments 18 months after termination of treatment-as-usual couple therapy at two Veteran Administration Medical Centers. From pretreatment to 18-month follow-up, couples experienced significant increases in relationship satisfaction (d = 0.59) and significant decreases in both psychological distress (d = -0.31) and presence of intimate partner violence (d = -0.47). Overall, pretreatment demographic, psychological, and relationship characteristics did not significantly moderate maintenance of gains across 18 months. However, African American individuals (d = -0.58) and individuals not reporting intimate partner violence at pretreatment (d = -0.46) experienced smaller improvements in relationship satisfaction through 18-month follow-up. Further, older participants showed smaller reductions in psychological symptoms 18 months after treatment (d = 0.16). Thus, for many veterans and their spouses, treatment-as-usual couple therapy is effective at intervening in psychological and relationship distress long-term. Moreover, the long-term effectiveness of couple therapy with veterans appears to generalize across many demographic, intrapersonal, and interpersonal factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBehavior Therapy
StateAccepted/In press - Sep 14 2016


  • Couples therapy
  • Mental health
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Veterans
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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