Person-oriented approaches in couple education research

Date

2015-08

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Abstract

Couple education is a promising intervention for preventing distress in marriage or other committed relationships. Like much of social science research, the field of couple education has predominantly focused on establishing evidence-based practices through randomized clinical trials. While this research is valuable, this research can provide misleading conclusions when depending on aggregated or variable-oriented research alone. A combination of aggregated and disaggregated data analysis can help to correct misleading conclusions. Advances in person-oriented methods of research and analysis have provided tools to help researchers disaggregate data and find important subgroups within populations. Finding these important subgroups can help show how people respond differently to couple education interventions, and what might explain these differences between reactions to the intervention. Variable-oriented research leads to misleading conclusions when these important subgroups exist undiscovered. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the effectiveness of couple education for diverse couples using a combination of variable-oriented and person-oriented methods. This will involve two studies using data from a large-scale couple education grant. The first study will use data from workshops attended by individuals, and the second study will use data from workshops attended by couples. Both studies will include a variable-oriented analysis to assess the effectiveness of the workshops from pre- to post-workshop, and a person-oriented analysis to find important subgroups of participants who responded differently to the workshops.

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Keywords

Couple Education, Relationship Education, Person-oriented Research

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