We propose to compare the efficacy of two treatments for marital discard: traditional behavioral couple therapy (TBCT); and a new integrative behavioral couple treatment (IBCT). One hundred eighty couples will be randomly assigned to one of these treatment conditions, resulting in 90 couples per treatment condition. This study will be done at two sites: University of Washington and UCLA, with 90 couples (or 45 per treatment condition) run at each site. Professor Andrew Christensen at UCLA is submitting an identical proposal with the same title, under the R10 mechanism. One primary purpose of the study is to evaluate the utility of a new integrative treatment for marital problems which builds on TBCT but includes an emphasis an emotional acceptance (EA) which is not part of TBCT. A secondary purpose of the study is to evaluate the change mechanisms associated with the various treatments. We are hypothesizing that, to the extent that TBCT effects marital satisfaction, it does so via promoting accommodation, compromise, and collaboration (i.e., behavior change). In contrast, the primary mechanism by which EA increases marital satisfaction is through promoting """"""""acceptance"""""""" of partner behavior as is. We will be evaluating the extent to which components of each treatment operate by virtue of the processes ascribed to it. Thus, the study will not only answer clinical questions, but will enlighten us regarding the mechanisms by which couples change in marital therapy. A third purpose of the study is to identify predictors of who responds to couples therapy in general and these treatments in particular. A fourth purpose is to investigate the dynamics of marital discord, especially the roles of acceptance and change. Divorce is one of life's most stressful events, and is associated with almost every conceivable physical and psychological disorder. These mental disorders can in turn have deleterious effects on marital quality, effects which often continue despite recovery from the mental disorder. It is often easier to prevent disorders than to treat them successfully once they have emerged. Marital therapy is a problem-focused treatment that has wide applicability and has demonstrated great promise, not only in the treatment of marital problems but also as an approach to major mental disorders. However, in its present form, it also has significant limitations. The purpose of this project is to contribute to the development of effective marital therapy, to help realize its promise and overcome some of the present limitations.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Unknown (R10)
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Treatment Assessment Review Committee (TA)
Program Officer
Pearson, Jane L
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University of Washington
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Baucom, Katherine J W; Baucom, Brian R; Christensen, Andrew (2015) Changes in dyadic communication during and after integrative and traditional behavioral couple therapy. Behav Res Ther 65:18-28
Baucom, Brian R; Atkins, David C; Rowe, Lorelei Simpson et al. (2015) Prediction of treatment response at 5-year follow-up in a randomized clinical trial of behaviorally based couple therapies. J Consult Clin Psychol 83:103-14
Baucom, Brian R; Sheng, Elisa; Christensen, Andrew et al. (2015) Behaviorally-based couple therapies reduce emotional arousal during couple conflict. Behav Res Ther 72:49-55
Benson, Lisa A; Sevier, Mia; Christensen, Andrew (2013) The impact of behavioral couple therapy on attachment in distressed couples. J Marital Fam Ther 39:407-20
Baucom, Katherine J W; Baucom, Brian R; Christensen, Andrew (2012) Do the naïve know best? The predictive power of naïve ratings of couple interactions. Psychol Assess 24:983-94
Atkins, David C; Rubin, Timothy N; Steyvers, Mark et al. (2012) Topic models: a novel method for modeling couple and family text data. J Fam Psychol 26:816-27
Baucom, Brian R; Atkins, David C; Eldridge, Kathleen et al. (2011) The language of demand/withdraw: verbal and vocal expression in dyadic interactions. J Fam Psychol 25:570-80
Baucom, Katherine J W; Sevier, Mia; Eldridge, Kathleen A et al. (2011) Observed communication in couples two years after integrative and traditional behavioral couple therapy: outcome and link with five-year follow-up. J Consult Clin Psychol 79:565-76
Christensen, Andrew; Atkins, David C; Baucom, Brian et al. (2010) Marital status and satisfaction five years following a randomized clinical trial comparing traditional versus integrative behavioral couple therapy. J Consult Clin Psychol 78:225-35
Baucom, Brian R; Atkins, David C; Simpson, Lorelei E et al. (2009) Prediction of response to treatment in a randomized clinical trial of couple therapy: a 2-year follow-up. J Consult Clin Psychol 77:160-73

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