EFFECTS OF THE RELATIONSHIP CHECK UP ON EARLY ADULTS’ ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP ADJUSTMENT AND SUBSTANCE USE: A PILOT STUDY
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Early adults pursue romantic relationships at differing rates and in varying patterns than previous generations. Successful negotiation of intimate partnerships and family development are essential for long-term health of early adults and that of their families. Formation of a healthy romantic relationship is also a positive factor in reducing risky behavior and promoting successful social adaptation among early adults (Bachman et al., 2002; D’Amico et al., 2005; Schulenberg et al., 2005). Preventive interventions to help early adult couples form healthy relationships could have substantial public health impact. This pilot study introduces the Relation-ship Check Up (RCU) (Chronister, Nagra, & Dishion, 2013), a preventive, three-session intervention that utilizes individual and couple assessments, feedback, and motivational interviewing techniques to reduce couples’ risk for substance use and partner violence and increase overall romantic relationship adjustment and individual wellbeing. Thirty-six high-risk couples (n=18 control, n=18 intervention) between the ages of 18 and 30, from the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, participated in a randomized control treatment study. Study findings did not reveal treatment main effects on early adult target adults’ or their romantic partners’ reports of substance use, individual wellbeing, relationship quality, intimacy or conflict at follow-up. Significant interaction effects of treatment group and time for target adults’ report of relationship conflict and partners’ report of relationship quality were found. In addition, study findings suggest that the Relationship Check-Up is an intervention format that is of interest and relevance for early adults. Findings also add to the dearth of intervention research with early adult couples, specifically, and the use of brief, indicated prevention intervention programs for this population.