Awarded Grant to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury


Couple CARE for Parents is a dyad-based intervention that addresses interpersonal processes within relationships and promotes skills-based changes in behavior among couples with a newborn. Couple CARE for Parents uses an approach developed in Australia that is very easy and cost-effective to disseminate widely l (i.e., home-visitation and video- and telephone-assisted skills training). It has demonstrated efficacy for significantly enhancing couples’ relationship satisfaction in three Australian randomized trials (Halford, Petch, & Creedy, 2004; Halford, Moore, et al., 2004; Halford et al., 2001). Arresting the normal decline of satisfaction of new parents to near-clinical levels (Schulz et al., 2006) is noteworthy for the purpose of this announcement because relationship dissatisfaction is one of the strongest predictors of partner physical assault (Pan et al., 1994). Managing relationship conflict is critical to the health and well-being of both parents and their children (e.g., Cummings & Davies, 2002; Robles & Kiecolt- Glaser, 2003). Given the high prevalence in perinatal parents of partner physical and emotional aggression (a precursor to the more serious form labeled “intimate partner violence” [IPV]) in new parents), the need for efficacious prevention services is acute. This randomized, controlled trial will test if couples with a newborn who receive Couple CARE for Parents (n = 150) report significantly less IPV than control couples who do not receive the program (n = 150). No couple will report ever having experienced IPV. All couples will have three empirically documented risk factors for the development of IPV: youth (each couple will have at least one partner under 30 years of age), parenting a newborn, and psychological aggression in the past year. The project has the following aims: (1) Determine the outcomes of Couple CARE for Parents. We hypothesize that, among other positive outcomes, couples who receive Couple CARE for Parents, compared with those who do not, will report at follow-up (a) less IPV; and (b) less partner physical and emotional aggression. (2) Identify factors that may contribute to reduction in IPV and in physical and emotional aggression (e.g., communication skills, conflict behaviors, parenting expectations, , quality of adult attachment, partner attributions, child abuse potential, family income, marital status, parenting stress, infant difficultness).