Despite the potential of parent training as a prevention and behavioral family intervention strategy, there are a number of important issues related to implementation (e.g., recruitment and retention of families). This paper presents recruitment and retention data from families enrolling in a randomized controlled universal prevention trial for child behavior problems conducted in Germany. The recruitment rate averaged 31% (general project participation), with families of lower socioeconomic status (SES) participating at a lower rate. Project-declining families most often reported intrusion of privacy as their primary concern. In contrast, once parents were enrolled in the project, participation among those randomized to the parent training group averaged 77% (program/intervention participation); non-participation was mostly due to logistical issues. Parents accepting the offer of parent training were more likely to report child behavior problems than did declining parents. Although parents from more disadvantaged areas had a lower overall level of participation in the project once recruited, parents with children having higher levels of behavior problems indeed were more likely to participate in the intervention. Different recruitment methods may be required to engage high-risk families from socioeconomically disadvantaged areas to further improve community-level impact on child mental health.
This article uses meta-analyses to determine the effectiveness of behavioral marital therapy (BMT) and premarital intervention (BPI) studies. The effect size for the 17 BMT studies was .95 and for the 7 BPI studies was .79, and these gains were generally maintained over time. Cross-cultural comparisons of BMT indicated equal benefits for couples in Europe and the United States. For BMT, effect sizes were higher for comparisons with no treatment versus placebo control groups, whereas the reverse was true for BPI. For BMT, effect sizes were similar for observational and self-report measures, whereas for BPI, effect sizes were larger for observational versus self-report measures.
This article reports on the development and long-term evaluation of a marital distress prevention program for German couples, the Ein Partnerschaftliches Lernprogramm (EPL, A Couple's Learning Program). The EPL is a 6-session program designed to teach couples effective communication and problem-solving skills. In the current article, the EPL is evaluated in a prospective, quasi-experimental, controlled trial. The results of the 3-year follow-up are reported, contrasting 55 EPL couples with a control group of 17 couples. Significant diiferences emerged with regard to the couples' dissolution rates, relationship satisfaction, and positive and negative communication behavior favoring the EPL couples. These results demonstrate the utility of the EPL program in assisting happy couples who are preparing for marriage. The implications of the findings for prevention research and for the dissemination of prevention programs are discussed.As highlighted in a recent National Institute of Mental Health report on prevention, marital distress and destructive marital conflict (rather than divorce, per se) are major generic risk factors for many forms of dysfunction and
This article examines the interaction patterns of relatives of young, recent onset schizophrenic patients classified as displaying either high or low expressed emotion (EE) by two measures, the original Camberwell interview method and a recently developed brief method. The former was administered during the hospitalization period and the latter was administered approximately 2 months later when the patient was in the community. Family interactions were coded with an observational coding system that permitted sequential patterns to be analyzed as a function of the EE status of the family. No relation between the Camberwell EE rating and interactional behavior was found. However, high EE-critical relatives, defined by the brief EE method, were more negative in direct interactions than low EE relatives or high EE relatives classified as emotionally overinvolved. Sequential analyses indicated that high EE-critical relatives showed extreme negative escalation patterns. Patients' reactions to high EE-critical relatives were characterized by self-justification and negative nonverbal behavior.
The human voice is one of the sounds most frequently experienced by human beings. During couple conflict, higher fundamental frequency (f0), a physical property of human speech, has been linked to an increased risk of divorce, less beneficial response to couple therapy, and higher levels of dysfunctional communication behavior. F0 is generally considered to be a measure of emotional arousal, but it is not currently clear whether this interpretation is appropriate for understanding spouses' f0 during couple interaction. The goal of the current article is to clarify what forms of information are encoded in f0 during couple conflict by examining the relations between f0 range, physiological variables, and communication behavior during the conflict discussions of 67 German couples. In line with evolutionary models of speech production, associations emerged in the expected directions between f0 and: (a) physiological variables (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol); (b) self-reported communication behavior; and (c) observationally coded communication behavior. Additionally, simultaneous examination of physiological variables and observationally coded communication behaviors revealed that associations between both sets of variables and f0 range were largely independent of one another. Furthermore, women's range of f0 was significantly greater than men's range of f0. With regard to social signaling theories, f0 range can be understood as a nonverbal transmission of distress. Implications for future research on and use of f0 are discussed.
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