Predicting program retention in a flexibly-delivered relationship education program for low-income, unmarried parents

Lisanne J. Bulling, Katherine J.W. Baucom, Richard E. Heyman, Amy M.Smith Slep, Danielle M. Mitnick, Michael F. Lorber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Participation rates in couple relationship education (CRE) programs for low-income couples are typically low. We examined predictors of session attendance and early dropout (i.e., dropout after 1 session) among a sample of low-income, unmarried parents of a newborn (N = 467 couples) enrolled in an evidence-based CRE program. Predictors included demographics and socioeconomic status, as well as baseline indicators of relationship commitment, family and individual functioning, infant health, preventive health care utilization, and CRE coach perceptions of participant engagement and alliance in the first session of the program. Couples attended an average of 4.4 (SD = 2.5) of the 7 sessions, with nearly a quarter of couples dropping out after the first session. Attendance at fewer sessions was predicted by younger age. Early dropout was predicted by lower ratings of females’ engagement and both partners’ therapeutic alliance and, unexpectedly, by commitment. We discuss considerations for engaging low-income couples in CRE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-256
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Family Social Work
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 26 2020

Keywords

  • Low-income couples
  • couple CARE for parents
  • couple relationship education
  • dropout
  • session attendance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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