Observed Communication and Associations With Satisfaction During Traditional and Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy

Mia Sevier, Kathleen Eldridge, Janice Jones, Brian D. Doss, Andrew Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


To investigate changes in couple communication and potential mechanisms of change during treatment, 134 distressed couples, who were randomly assigned to either traditional or integrative behavioral couple therapy (TBCT; IBCT), were observed in relationship and personal problem discussions prior to and near the end of treatment. Analyses were conducted using the Hierarchical Linear Modeling program. Over the time in therapy, during relationship problem discussions, positivity and problem solving increased while negativity decreased. Compared to IBCT, TBCT couples had the largest gains in positivity and reductions in negativity. During personal problem discussions, negativity decreased, while withdrawal increased and positivity decreased. TBCT couples had larger declines in negativity. In both discussion types, increases in marital satisfaction were associated with increases in positivity and problem solving. Declines in marital satisfaction were associated with increased negativity during relationship problem interactions and increased withdrawal during personal problem interactions. However, no treatment differences in these associations were found. Differences in rule-governed and contingency-shaped behavior change strategies between the two therapies and implications of findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-150
Number of pages14
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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