Development of a multilevel prevention program for improved relationship functioning in active duty military members

Richard E. Heyman, Amy M. Smith Slep, C. Sabathne, Ann C. Eckardt Erlanger, Teresa T. Hsu, Douglas K. Snyder, Christina Balderrama-Durbin, Jeffrey A. Cigrang, Gerald W. Talcott, Jolyn Tatum, Monty T. Baker, Daniel Cassidy, Scott M. Sonnek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relationships and families of active duty (AD) service members have been tremendously strained by deployments and high operations’ tempo. This study involves the first steps in developing a multilevel approach to preventing relationship problems that integrates universal, selective, and indicated prevention/intervention. Such an approach has tremendous empirical support for parenting problems, but no similar program exists for couple problems. We conducted two studies with U.S. Air Force Security Forces members. Study 1 elicited the target population’s topics of highest interest. For almost all topics, 70% to 95% of participants who desired information reported being underserved by current prevention offerings (i.e., not receiving needed information). Using the top topics generated in Study 1, we developed prevention information/action planning sheets on 18 relationship issues. In Study 2, we had AD members who gave feedback on the form and content of the sheets. Overall, AD members believed that the sheets were moderately to very useful and were presented well, had pithy but comprehensive information and conveyed the content well. Results imply that a multilevel approach may be a useful complement to formal services in meeting underserved military members’ needs and that further research and development of this dissemination vector for evidence-based information is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-696
Number of pages7
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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