Category: Couples / Close Relationships


Symposium 111 - Relationship Health Care: Disseminating and Implementing the Marriage Checkup Across Diverse Settings

Saturday, November 18
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom CDGH Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Couples / Close Relationships | Couple Therapy | Dissemination
Presentation Type: Symposium

The history of cognitive-behavioral relationship health interventions is one that reveals continual progress in the ongoing dialogue between empirical research and clinical practice. Though the efficacy and effectiveness of cognitive behavioral approaches to tertiary relationship interventions have received continual empirical support, significant barriers to treatment have limited the reach of these therapies. The same has also been true for CBT approaches to preventing relationship health deterioration. While relationship education has also received robust empirical support, it reaches only a small proportion of couples in need. Consequently, a significant gap remains between primary prevention approaches and tertiary couple therapy. The Marriage Checkup (MC) was developed in an effort to fill this gap and address the need for providing regular, brief, easily accessible relationship healthcare to a wide-range of couples across diverse settings. The MC is designed to be the relationship health equivalent of the annual physical or dental health checkup.  In this symposium we will present recent work on the implementation and dissemination of the Marriage Checkup model within a variety of specific health care contexts. First, James Cordova will present the results of the first NIH-funded full-scale randomized controlled trial of the Marriage Checkup. He will discuss the theory of change, general and specific outcomes, and the premise that catalyzed several resulting adaptations and dissemination studies of the relationship checkup model.  Next, Kristina Coop-Gordon will present results of an ACF-funded project to adapt the Marriage Checkup as a home-visitation program for use with low-income and underserved populations in rural Tennessee. Third, Jeffrey Cigrang, Ph.D. will discuss the results of an implementation pilot study adapting the Marriage Checkup for use in primary care settings within the Air Force’s Behavioral Health Optimization Program. He will also present on the current DoD-funded RCT implementing the MC at four different Air Force bases. Lastly, Tea Trillingsgaard, Ph.D. will present findings from the Lego Foundation-funded Danish randomized controlled trial adapting the Marriage Checkup for use within private practice settings.

This symposium will be relevant to researchers, students, and clinicians interested in studying brief relationship checkups. Each presentation addresses a unique approach to meeting the needs of and lowering barriers to couples within a variety of contexts. The series will close with discussant Andrew Christensen, Ph.D.  Dr. Christensen’s work focuses on couple therapy, relationship conflict, and treatment outcomes.  He has extensive experience studying and treating couples in a variety of contexts, and he is committed to translating empirical intervention research into effective theories and guidelines for clinicians. As a co-founder of Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy, which deeply informs the heart and practice of the Marriage Checkup, Dr. Christensen is uniquely and exceptionally suited to provide overview and analysis of the presentations within the context of applying cognitive-behavioral relationship interventions to diverse settings. 

Learning Objectives:

Tatiana D. Gray

Doctoral Student
Clark University


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    Andrew Christensen

    University of California Los Angeles


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    James Cordova

    Clark University


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    Kristina Coop Gordon

    University of Tennessee, Knoxville


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    Jeffrey Cigrang

    Wright State University School of Professional Psychology


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    Tea Trillingsgaard

    Aarhus University


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    Symposium 111 - Relationship Health Care: Disseminating and Implementing the Marriage Checkup Across Diverse Settings

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