The Online OurRelationship Program for Relationally Distressed Individuals: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Relationship distress has deleterious effects on mental health, physical health, and quality of life. Although many couples report relationship distress, one barrier to seeking services is that one member of a couple may be too busy or refuse to participate. Relationship interventions offered to individuals have shown promising efficacy, but, as most are offered in-person, barriers to their reach remain. To increase the reach of such interventions, the present pilot study examined the efficacy of a fully web-based relationship intervention for individuals (OR-I). The program was adapted from the couple version of the OurRelationship program (OR-C), which is effective in improving relationship and individual functioning (Doss et al., 2016). Results indicated that couples randomized to the OR-I program, compared with couples in a waitlist control group, saw significant improvement in quality of life (d = 0.69), work functioning (d = 0.44), and perceived health (d = 0.49) during treatment. Furthermore, gains in quality of life and perceived health for the intervention group were maintained over short-term follow-up. However, there were no significant improvements in relationship functioning or symptoms of depression or anxiety. When comparing the efficacy of OR-I and a demographically matched subsample of OR-C, results showed that change in outcomes did not significantly differ by program. Overall, with some adaptations, OR-I may be a viable option for individuals seeking relationship help. Limitations, potential adaptations, and future directions are discussed in-depth.

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