Date of Conferral

2014

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Thomas Russo

Abstract

Previous research has indicated the importance of providing marriage education to ethnic minority couples who are struggling with their marital relationships. Despite this known importance, significantly fewer resources are available for Latino couples, who have a high rate of divorce. The purpose of this quantitative, randomized, wait-list control group trial design was to determine whether Couples in Contact, a culturally-based, psychoeducational intervention group program for Latino couples, increases marital satisfaction, as measured by the Marital Satisfaction Inventory, Revised (MSI-R). This study drew on cognitive behavioral therapy applied to couples, and the supportive theories underlying family systems theory and Gottman's theory. This study included 50 Latino married couples who were primarily Spanish speaking and either first- or second-generation immigrants. They were randomly assigned to the experimental or wait list control condition. Marital satisfaction was assessed before and after the experimental group participated in the intervention. A 2-way ANOVA was used to analyze the data. Results indicated that Couples in Contact yielded significant results for 3 out of the 4 of the research questions assessed. The findings suggest positive changes in the individual couple level, and an effective tool for mental health providers to use when working with Latino couples. This evidence-based program can be used to help reduce the divorce rate, foster the quality of married life, promote a healthier family life, and build a stronger community.