Up and Down or Down and Up? The Process of Change in Constructive Couple Behavior during Traditional and Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy

Mia Sevier, David C. Atkins, Brian D. Doss, Andrew Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Observed positive and negative spouse behavior during sessions of Traditional (TBCT) and Integrative Behavioral Couples Therapy (IBCT) were compared for couples with successful outcomes and their unsuccessful counterparts. One hundred and thirty-four married chronically and seriously distressed couples (on average in their forties and 80% Caucasian) were randomly assigned to TBCT or IBCT. Trained observers made ratings of 1224 segments from approximately 956 sessions sampled from the course of up to 26 sessions. Multilevel modeling was used to examine change over time. TBCT treatment responders demonstrated a boost-drop pattern, increasing in constructive behaviors early (more positive behaviors and less negative behaviors) but decreasing later. IBCT responders demonstrated an opposite, drop-boost pattern, decreasing in constructive behaviors early and increasing later. Patterns were significant for positive behaviors (p < .05) and approached significance for negative behaviors (p = .05). In both treatments, nonresponders showed a significant pattern of decline in positive and increase in negative behaviors over time, although a trend (p = .05) indicates that TBCT nonresponders initially declined in negative behaviors. This study helps clarify the different process of change in two behavioral couple therapies, which may assist in treatment development and provide a guide for therapists in considering behavioral markers of change during treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-127
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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