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Behav Ther. 2012 Mar;43(1):99-112. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2011.01.006. Epub 2011 May 30.

Where's the action? Understanding what works and why in relationship education.

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  • 1University of Denver, Department of Psychology, 2155 South Race Street, Denver, CO 80208-3500, USA.


The field of couples relationship education has come to a critical junction. We have generally demonstrated that our interventions work (at least in the short run) but to what extent have we shown that the skills and processes we teach are in fact responsible for the success of the intervention? In this paper we review progress made in understanding mechanisms of change in relationship education, explore limitations of this body of research, explicate the barriers that interfere with progress in understanding mechanisms of change in intervention research, and present recommendations on how to proceed from here. Although our goal in this paper is to focus more on issues in the field rather than to present a comprehensive review of the literature, we provide overarching research summaries to illustrate some of our points. We conclude with offering recommendations for the next generation of research in the couples relationship education field.

Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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