Conversations for Connection: An Outcome Assessment of the Hold Me Tight Relationship Education Program for Couples

Title: Conversations for Connection: An Outcome Assessment of the Hold Me Tight Relationship Education Program for Couples
Authors: Kennedy, Nikki
Date: 2017
Abstract: Hold Me Tight: Conversations for Connection is a relationship education program based on Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT; Johnson 2004), an empirically supported model of couple therapy with roots in attachment theory. Currently, relationship education is mostly provided through skills-based programs with a focus on teaching communication, problem-solving and conflict resolution skills from the social-learning perspective. The HMT program is different; it targets attachment and emotional connection – aspects central to relationship functioning as identified in the literature. The present study is the first outcome study of the HMT program. The purpose of the study was to examine the trajectory of change for relationship satisfaction, trust, attachment, intimacy, depressive symptoms and anxiety symptoms. Couples who participated in this study were from several cities across Canada and the United States. The trajectory for the outcome variables were modeled across baseline, pre-program, post-program and follow-up in a sample of 95 couples participating in 16 HMT program groups. Results of a four-level Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM: Raudenbush & Bryk, 2002) analysis demonstrated a significant cubic growth pattern for relationship satisfaction, trust, attachment avoidance, depressive and anxiety symptoms demonstrating no change from baseline to pre-program and improvements from pre-program to post-program. Scores returned to pre-program levels at follow-up. Follow-up analyses demonstrated that the changes from pre- to post-program were significant with a large effect size. We also looked at couples’ reported ability to engage in the conversations from the program and found that mean scores declined from post-program to follow-up. The results of this initial pilot study suggest that the HMT program is a promising alternative to existing relationship education programs with results comparable to skills-based relationship education programs. The decrease in scores from post-program to follow-up suggests that booster sessions following the completion of the program could be necessary to help couples maintain gains. Limitations and areas for further study are discussed.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -