Category: Couples / Close Relationships

Symposium

Development of Effective Relationship Education for Same-Sex Couples: Rainbow Couple CARE

Friday, November 17
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: Aqua Salon E & F, Level 3, Aqua Level

Keywords: Couples / Close Relationships | L / G / B / T
Presentation Type: Symposium

Same sex couples face similar challenges as heterosexual couples in sustaining a mutually satisfying relationship, and face additional challenges as the result of homophobic discrimination (minority stress). The aim of the current research was to test the feasibility of developing effective online relationship education (RE) for gay and lesbian couples that could address issues of minority stress. We conducted two studies. The first was an online consumer consultation survey of gay and lesbian adults on their views about RE. Most respondents reported they had never accessed RE, but would like such access. Barriers to accessing RE were seen to be time, and possible homophobic discrimination. In study 1, 519 gay or lesbian adults in committed relationships completed an online survey asking about experience of RE, and perceived benefits and barriers to RE attendance. The second study was a small pre- and post-RE evaluation of Rainbow Couple CARE, a modified version of the evidence based Couple CARE program that included addressing minority stress.  Participants completed measures of relationship satisfaction, and individual well-being before and after RE. Rainbow Couple CARE was associated with moderate to large increases in relationship satisfaction, d = .63, relationship dedication, d = 1.05, and positive affirmation of gay identity, d = .78. In conclusion, there is a desire for access to RE in the gay and lesbian community, and a suitably tailored RE program shows promise in enhancing same sex relationships.

W. Kim Halford

Professor
University of Queensland

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