Measuring couple relationship quality in a rural African population: Validation of a Couple Functionality Assessment Tool in Malawi.
ABSTRACT: Available data suggest that individual and family well-being are linked to the quality of women's and men's couple relationships, but few tools exist to assess couple relationship functioning in low- and middle-income countries. In response to this gap, Catholic Relief Services has developed a Couple Functionality Assessment Tool (CFAT) to capture valid and reliable data on various domains of relationship quality. This tool is designed to be used by interventions which aim to improve couple and family well-being as a means of measuring the effectiveness of these interventions, particularly related to couple relationship quality. We carried out a validation study of the CFAT among 401 married and cohabiting adults (203 women and 198 men) in rural Chikhwawa District, Malawi. Using psychometric scales, the CFAT addressed six domains of couple relationship quality (intimacy, partner support, sexual satisfaction, gender roles, decision-making, and communication and conflict management), and included questions on intimate partner violence. We used exploratory factor analysis to assess scale performance of each domain and produce a shortened Relationship Quality Index (RQI) composed of items from five relationship quality domains. This article reports the performance of the RQI. Internal reliability and validity of the RQI were found to be good. Regression analyses examined the relationship of the RQI to outcomes important to health and development: intra-household cooperation, positive health behaviors, intimate partner violence, and gender-equitable norms. We found many significant correlations between RQI scores and these couple- and family-level development issues. There is a need to further validate the tool with use in other populations as well as to continue to explore whether the observed linkages between couple functionality and development outcomes are causal relationships.
Project description:Heterosexual transmission of HIV often occurs in the context of intimate sexual partnerships. There is mounting evidence that couple-based HIV prevention interventions may be more effective than individual-based interventions for promoting risk reduction within such relationships. Yet, concerns have been raised about the safety of couple-based prevention approaches, especially with regard to the risk of intimate partner violence against women. Although several international studies have examined the potential for adverse consequences associated with couple-based interventions, with inconsistent results, there is little data from U.S. studies to shed light on this issue. The current study analyzed data from a randomized trial conducted in New York City with 330 heterosexual couples to examine whether participation in couple-based or relationship-focused HIV counseling and testing (HIV-CT) interventions resulted in an increased likelihood of post-intervention breakups, relationship conflicts, or emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, compared with standard individual HIV-CT. Multinomial logistic regression was used to model the odds of experiencing change in partner violence from baseline to follow-up by treatment condition. A high prevalence of partner-perpetrated violence was reported by both male and female partners across treatment conditions, but there was no conclusive evidence of an increase in relationship dissolution or partner violence subsequent to participation in either the couple-based HIV-CT intervention or relationship-focused HIV-CT intervention compared with controls. Qualitative data collected from the same participants support this interpretation. HIV prevention interventions involving persons in primary sexual partnerships should be sensitive to relationship dynamics and the potential for conflict, and take precautions to protect the safety of both male and female participants.
Project description:Distinctions have been made between the two main forms of intimate partner violence: intimate terrorism (IT) and situational couple violence (SCV), depending on whether the violence is part of a general pattern of control. Differential effects also exist between IT and SCV. However, the IT/SCV distinction and their differential effects have yet to be demonstrated in violent intimate relationships in China. We aimed to identify IT and SCV among Chinese women who reported partner violence in Hong Kong and to differentiate the effects of IT and SCV on their mental health outcomes.A mixed-method design was used in a cross-sectional study to collect quantitative and qualitative data from women 18 years of age or older who had been victims of intimate partner violence in the past year. Six hundred and thirteen women were recruited from 18 districts in Hong Kong. Quantitative instruments were administered to assess intimate partner violence, control by an intimate partner, and mental health outcomes. Individual face-to-face interviews were conducted with 200 of the women to capture their experiences of intimate partner violence and the context in which it occurred.Of the 613 women, 215 (35.1%) were identified as victims of IT and 324 (52.9%) as victims of SCV. Compared to SCV victims, IT victims reported significantly more violence-related physical injury (p < 0.001), higher use of medical services (p < 0.001), and more symptoms of depression (p < 0.001) and posttraumatic stress disorder (p < 0.001). The interviews revealed two broadly different pictures with IT victims describing their relationship problems as serious and life-threatening, and physical violence was part of the controlling behaviors used by their partners. Such details were not reported by those in the SCV group.Our findings indicate that violence in intimate relationships in China is not a unitary phenomenon, and it has at least two forms, IT and SCV, which were shown to have differential effects on Chinese women. The findings regarding the IT/SCV distinction and their differential effects on mental health outcomes have implications for policy, research and practice.Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01206192.
Project description:Alcohol Behavioral Couple Therapy (ABCT) has emerged over the last 30 years as a highly efficacious treatment for those with alcohol use disorders. This review highlights the historical and conceptual underpinnings of ABCT, as well as the specific treatment elements and structure. Proposed active ingredients, moderators, and mediators of treatment outcome are discussed. Efficacy is evaluated for reductions in identified patient drinking, improved relationship functioning, and reductions in intimate partner violence. Adaptations of ABCT for substances other than alcohol are described. Other adaptations, including brief interventions, interventions addressing PTSD and TBI along with alcohol use, and interventions deliverable via technology platforms are described. Additional cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness findings supporting the economic value of ABCT are noted. Future directions for research in this area include possible adaptations for female identified patients, nontraditional couples, LGBT partners and dyads involving nonintimate partner relationships. The development of more flexible models and enhanced dissemination strategies may improve clinical uptake and utility as well as increasing the feasibility of this treatment for integrated healthcare settings.
Project description:This paper examines concurrence of self-reported love, trust, and dyadic quality experiences between partners in 293 male couples. Significant yet poor concurrence was observed for all three self-reported relationship measures, but varied by relationship characteristics. Using an actor-partner interdependence model (APIM), actor and partner characteristics were shown to be associated with self-reported relationship concerns, such as satisfaction and intimate partner violence. This knowledge is important in the development and delivery of couples-based health interventions, such as couples HIV testing and counseling, for interventions that respect the unique relationship dynamics of each couple are needed to effectively address dyadic health.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:It has been reported that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with secondary spouse/partner (S/P) emotional distress and relationship violence. OBJECTIVE:To investigate the relationships between PTSD, S/P emotional distress and relationship violence among police recruits using a prospective design. METHODS:Two hypotheses were tested in 71 S/Ps: (1) Police officer reports of greater PTSD symptoms after 12 months of police service will be associated with greater secondary trauma symptoms among S/Ps; (2) Greater secondary trauma symptoms among S/Ps at 12 months will be associated with S/P reports of greater relationship violence. METHODS:71 police recruits and their S/Ps were assessed at baseline and 12 months after the start of police officer duty. Using linear and logistic regression, we analyzed explanatory variables for 12 month S/P secondary traumatic stress symptoms and couple violence, including baseline S/P variables and couple violence, as well as exposure and PTSD reports from both S/P and officer. RESULTS:S/P perception of officer PTSD symptoms predicted S/P secondary traumatic stress. OS/P secondary trauma was significantly associated with both total couple violence (.34, p?=?.004) and S/P to officer violence (.35, p?=?.003). CONCLUSIONS:Although results from this relatively small study of young police officers and their S/Ps must be confirmed by larger studies in general populations, findings suggest that S/P perception of PTSD symptoms may play a key role in the spread of traumatic stress symptoms across intimate partner relationships and intimate partner violence in the context of PTSD.
Project description:Intimate partner violence is defined by the World Health Organization as "any behavior within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological, or sexual harm to those in the relationship" and it refers to a specific relationship dynamic. In recent decades, an increasing number of studies have focused on this phenomenon, considering its exponential growth over time. Many studies have focused on risk factors for violence within the couple relationship. This paper specifically analyses the association between violence and separation or divorce. Although many interventions have been developed over the years, the effectiveness of extant interventions on violent behaviors is not yet empirically supported. Since clinical experience allows to affirm that both partners can be involved in treatment for intimate partner violence especially during mandated proceedings, the present study focuses on domestic violence in separated couples involved in a child custody evaluation process. In this case, literature supports the need for individualized assessment in order to promote the best intervention according to the specific conditions of each partner, whether the battered one or the perpetrator. However, little research has been done on child custody evaluation in the presence of violent couples. The aim of the present study is to present a model of couple clinical intervention with a separated violent couple in the context of a child custody evaluation. This model can be defined as relational-intergenerational and its main aim is to understand the exchange between familial generations and to search for factors that safeguard and care for family relations. Furthermore, according also to the therapeutic assessment approach, there is an intrinsic connection between assessment and "family transformative potential." This paper presents the specific working methodology underlying this model, through the description of a single clinical case. In particular, the proposed model provides a multi-dimensional assessment comprising three levels: individual, evaluating parents' history through representations, thoughts, and feelings; interpersonal, investigating the different relations; discussion and dialogue with the parental couple about findings.
Project description:Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a prevalent condition associated with intimate relationship problems, and intimate relationship factors have been shown to affect individual PTSD treatment outcomes.To compare cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy for PTSD (a manualized couple therapy delivered to patients with PTSD and their significant others to simultaneously treat PTSD symptoms and enhance relationship satisfaction) with a wait-list condition.Randomized controlled trial of heterosexual and same-sex couples (n = 40 couples; n = 80 individuals) in which one partner met criteria for PTSD according to the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale, conducted from 2008 to 2012 in a Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient hospital setting in Boston, Massachusetts, and a university-based research center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Symptoms of PTSD, comorbid conditions, and relationship satisfaction were collected by blinded assessors at baseline, at mid treatment (median, 8.00 weeks [range, 1.71-20.43 weeks] after baseline), and at posttreatment (median, 15.86 weeks [range, 7.14-38.57 weeks] after baseline). An uncontrolled 3-month follow-up (median, 38.21 weeks [range, 28.43-50.57 weeks] after baseline) was also completed.Couples were randomly assigned to take part in the 15-session cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy for PTSD protocol immediately (n = 20) or were placed on a wait list for the therapy (n = 20).Clinician-rated PTSD symptom severity was the primary outcome and was assessed with the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale. Intimate relationship satisfaction, assessed with the Dyadic Adjustment Scale, patient- and partner-rated PTSD symptoms, and comorbid symptoms were secondary outcomes.PTSD symptom severity (score range, 0-136) was significantly more improved in the couple therapy condition than in the wait-list condition (mean change difference, -23.21; 95% CI, -37.87 to -8.55). Similarly, patients' intimate relationship satisfaction (score range, 0-151) was significantly more improved in couple therapy than in the wait-list condition (mean change difference, 9.43; 95% CI, 0.04-18.83). The time × condition interaction effect in the multilevel model predicting PTSD symptoms (t37.5 = -3.09; P = .004) and patient-reported relationship satisfaction (t68.5 = 2.00; P = .049) revealed superiority of the couple therapy compared with the wait list. Treatment effects were maintained at 3-month follow-up.Among couples in which one partner was diagnosed as having PTSD, a disorder-specific couple therapy, compared with a wait list for the therapy, resulted in decreased PTSD symptom severity and patient comorbid symptom severity and increased patient relationship satisfaction.clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00669981.
Project description:Financial inclusion is an area of growing global interest in women's empowerment policy and programming. While increased economic autonomy may be expected to reduce the prevalence of intimate partner violence, the mechanisms and contexts through which this relationship manifests are not well understood. This analysis aims to assess the relationship between women's financial inclusion and recent intimate partner violence using nationally-representative data from 112 countries worldwide. Levels of both financial inclusion and recent intimate partner violence varied substantially across countries (ranging from 2-100%, and 1-46%, respectively), and across regions. In multivariate global analyses, increased levels of women's financial inclusion were associated with lower levels of recent intimate partner violence after accounting for asset-based enablers of economic autonomy and gender norms; this relationship was lost upon the inclusion of measures of national context (i.e., development and fragility). These results underscore that the relationship between financial inclusion and recent intimate partner violence is complex, follows many pathways, and is affected by context. In low and middle income countries, asset-based enablers of economic autonomy, gender norms and national context explained much of the relationship between financial inclusion and recent intimate partner violence. In those low and middle income countries with high levels of controlling behavior by male spouses, financial inclusion was associated with higher levels of recent intimate partner violence. These findings further suggest that initiatives that aim to prevent intimate partner violence by way of increased economic autonomy may be ineffective in the absence of broader social change and support, and indeed, as seen in countries with higher levels of men's controlling behavior, backlash may increase the risk of violence. Efforts to improve women's financial inclusion need to recognize that its relationship with intimate partner violence is complex, and that it requires an enabling environment supportive of women's rights and autonomy.
Project description:Introduction:Couple violence (CV) affects many, and the consequences of those actions are grave, not only for the individual suffering at the hand of the perpetrator but also for the other persons in the family. Violence often happens among more than just the adults within one family. Even if CV has been thoroughly investigated in the general population very few studies have investigated this objective on a clinical sample, and none of these have included family violence. Aim:This article identifies and describes the group of clients that have issues of physical couple and family violence. It analyses a model that can help to discover physical violence and help therapists to assess what actions to take in therapy to prevent further physical violence. Methodology:Descriptive analysis, t-tests, and structural equation modeling (SEM) are used on a sample of clients receiving couple and family therapy (CFT) in Norway (N = 830). Family violence is modeled by the partner's expectations toward each other, levels of anger, sexual satisfaction, and self-control. Results:One-in-five clients experienced physical CV in their current relationship and one-in-four experienced physical family violence. The group of clients who experienced CV differed from those without such experiences in having lower income, more prior experience with psychotherapy, more experience with alcohol abuse in childhood, and far more physical family violence in their current family. Our model predicting physical couple and family violence explained as much as 53% of family violence and had three positive, significant predictors (expectation, anger, and sexual satisfaction) and one, significant negative predictor (self-control). Somewhat unexpected, sexual satisfaction was a positive, and not a negative, predictor of violence. Conclusion:Our study identified one-in-four clients in CFT experience physical CV. Unreasonable expectation from one partner toward the other, anger and sexual satisfaction were positive predictors of physical violence, while self-control was found to be a negative predictor of physical violence. Implications for therapeutic work and the prevention of physical violence are discussed.
Project description:We draw on structured and qualitative data to examine relationship dynamics associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) that occurs during the young adult period. Relying on a symbolic interactionist perspective, we identify specific contested domains associated with what has been called 'situational couple violence,' and explore the degree to which certain forms of communication about contested areas ('verbal amplifiers') exacerbate the risk of violence. Consistent with this relational focus, measures index respondent as well as partner concerns and use of these negative forms of communication. Results of analyses of interview data from a large, diverse sample of young adults show that net of family background, history of antisocial behavior, and other controls, concerns about the partner's or individual's own economic viability, disagreements about time spent with friends, and issues of infidelity are significantly related to IPV perpetration. Yet the analyses indicate that infidelity is particularly central as a source of conflict associated with violence, and the use of verbal amplifiers explained additional variance. Further, while research has highlighted important differences in the meaning and consequences of male and female IPV, findings point to some areas of overlap in the relationship concerns and communication processes associated with variations in self-reports of the use of violence. In-depth "relationship history narratives" elicited from a subset of respondents and a sample of their partners support the quantitative results, but also highlight variations within the sample, the sequencing of these interrelated processes, and ways in which gender may have influenced respondents' perspectives and behavior.