Relationship Interventions During the Transition to Parenthood: Issues of Timing and Efficacy

Tea Trillingsgaard, Katherine J.W. Baucom, Richard E. Heyman, Ask Elklit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study evaluated the efficacy of the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) adapted for Danish couples expecting their first child. Couples were recruited consecutively through a public maternity ward (N = 290). On the basis of due dates, they were allocated to (a) PREP, (b) an information-based control group (INFO), or (c) naturally occurring care. Approximately half of the couples accepted program invitations. Across 24 months, all 3 groups declined in relationship satisfaction, and no significant differences were found between PREP and INFO or between PREP and the natural condition. Negativity decreased from pre- to posttest for women in the PREP condition, but this was not significantly different from the women in the INFO condition. Findings revealed that communication skills training was not effective during pregnancy, and no intervention was successful at preventing the decline in satisfaction during the transition to parenthood. This study suggests that pregnancy may not be an optimal time for relational interventions like PREP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)770-783
Number of pages14
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Couple education
  • Couple relationship
  • Prevention
  • Skills training
  • Transition to parenthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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