W. Kim Halford

University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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Publications (84)140.53 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this study, using a national recruitment strategy, we tested the different factors that influence retention in four different types of relationship education (RE), a self-directed book, assessment and feedback, and a six session Couple CARE program delivered by email or by phone. Of all the factors considered, required program effort, highly valuing marriage, religiosity, education, and step-family status were able to predict with seventy percent accuracy which couples would complete or not complete their RE experience. Program effort was substantially better at predicting retention than all other variables. Retention was high in the book and assessment conditions but was much lower in the two Couple CARE conditions where more effort and time was required. Initial engagement was higher in the email based Couple CARE condition but overall retention was higher in the phone based condition. Important implications for current and future RE efforts are proposed.
    Journal of Child and Family Studies 01/2015; · 1.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Feedback to therapists based on systematic monitoring of individual therapy progress reliably enhances therapy outcome. An implicit assumption of therapy progress feedback is that clients unlikely to benefit from therapy can be detected early enough in the course of therapy for corrective action to be taken. To explore the possibility of using feedback of therapy progress to enhance couple therapy outcome, the current study tested whether weekly therapy progress could detect off-track clients early in couple therapy. In an effectiveness trial of couple therapy, 136 couples were monitored weekly on relationship satisfaction and an expert derived algorithm was used to attempt to predict eventual therapy outcome. As expected, the algorithm detected a significant proportion of couples who did not benefit from couple therapy at Session 3, but prediction was substantially improved at Session 4 so that eventual outcome was accurately predicted for 70% of couples, with little improvement of prediction thereafter. More sophisticated algorithms might enhance prediction accuracy, and a trial of the effects of therapy progress feedback on couple therapy outcome is needed.
    Behaviour Research and Therapy 12/2014; · 3.85 Impact Factor
  • W Kim Halford
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    ABSTRACT: The article by Dobson, Quigley, and Dozois on interpersonal model provides a very useful guide on how to extend cognitive behavioural models of depression to incorporate interpersonal vulnerabilities that influence how depressed people behave towards others. The point is made that interpersonal processes are very likely to influence the onset and course of depression. In this commentary, I extend this analysis further examining the evidence on how interactions within close relationships, particularly couple relationships, interact with individuals' depression. Evidence is also cited on the effectiveness of couple-based therapy in treating depression.
    Australian Psychologist 12/2014; 49(6). · 0.61 Impact Factor
  • Susan M Osgarby, W Kim Halford
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    ABSTRACT: Satisfied couples report that positive, intimate communication is central to their relationship. We developed the positive reminiscence task, in which couples discuss positive relationship moments to assess communication of positive intimacy. The behavior and heart rate of 28 satisfied and 25 distressed couples were assessed during positive reminiscence and problem solving. As predicted, satisfied couples demonstrated higher rates of positive affect and dyadic intimacy than distressed couples during positive reminiscence, and these positive behaviors occurred at much lower rates during problem solving than positive reminiscence. However, the differences between distressed and satisfied couples were more marked on most assessed behaviors during problem solving rather than positive reminiscence. Two notable exceptions were that dyadic intimacy and sadness differed more between distressed and satisfied couples during positive reminiscence than problem solving. The positive reminiscence task assesses intimate behaviors in a manner likely to be useful in research and practice.
    Behavior therapy 12/2013; 44(4):686-700. · 2.85 Impact Factor
  • W Kim Halford, Susie Sweeper
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    ABSTRACT: To test a stress-diathesis model of adjustment to separation, the current study describes the trajectories of different aspects of separation adjustment in people formerly married or cohabiting, and moderators of those trajectories. A convenience sample of 303 recently separated individuals (169 women; 134 men) completed assessments of their emotional attachment to the former partner, loneliness, psychological distress, and coparenting conflict at two time points 6 months apart. Multilevel modeling of the overlapping multicohort design was used to estimate the trajectories of these different aspects of adjustment as a function of time since separation, marital status, gender, presence of children from the relationship, who initiated separation, social support, and anxious attachment. Attachment to the former partner, loneliness, and psychological distress were initially high but improved markedly across the 2 years after separation, but coparenting conflict was high and stable. Adjustment problems were similar in men and women, and in those formerly married or cohabiting, except that reported coparenting conflict was higher in men than women. Low social support and high anxious attachment predicted persistent attachment to the former partner, loneliness, and psychological distress. Coparenting conflict is a common, chronic problem for many separated individuals, and individuals with certain psychological vulnerabilities also experience chronic personal distress.
    Family Process 06/2013; 52(2):228-43. · 1.73 Impact Factor
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    W Kim Halford, Guy Bodenmann
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    ABSTRACT: Couple relationship education (RE) is the provision of structured education intended to promote healthy couple relationships, and prevent future relationship distress. There is a well-replicated finding that 9-20hours of curriculum-based RE produces short-term improvements in couple communication and relationship satisfaction, but that established finding does not test whether RE helps couples maintain high relationship satisfaction. The current paper summarizes 17 published studies evaluating RE that have follow up assessments of at least 1year, of which 14 studies found RE helped maintenance of relationship satisfaction. Couples with elevations of modifiable risk factors benefit substantially from RE, while benefits for couples with low risk have not yet been reliably demonstrated. Couples with elevations on risk factors not readily modified by current forms of RE are likely to show little or no benefit. Future research needs to clarify the mediators of RE effects, and how those mediators are moderated by couple risk profiles.
    Clinical psychology review 02/2013; 33(4):512-525. · 7.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study evaluated if the transition to parenthood is a window of opportunity to provide couple relationship education (CRE) to new parents at high risk for future relationship problems. Fifty-three percent of eligible couples approached agreed to participate in CRE and of these 80% had not previously accessed CRE. Couples were a broad representative of Australian couples having their first child, but minority couples were underrepresented. A third of couples had three or more risk factors for future relationship distress (e.g., cohabiting, interpartner violence, elevated psychological distress, unplanned pregnancy). Low education was the only risk factor that predicted drop out. The transition to parenthood is a window of opportunity to recruit certain types of high-risk couples to CRE.
    Family Process 12/2012; 51(4):498-511. · 1.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Assessment and feedback of relationship strengths and challenges is a widely used brief approach to couple relationship education (CRE). It can be fully automated through the internet, with couples self-interpreting the feedback. This study assessed whether therapist guidance of couples to interpret the report and develop relationship goals enhanced the benefits of the feedback. Thirty-nine couples seeking CRE were randomly assigned to either self-interpretation of an internet-based relationship assessment report (RELATE), or therapist-guided interpretation of the same report (RELATE+). Participants were assessed on relationship satisfaction and psychological distress pre- and post-CRE, and at 6-month follow-up. RELATE and RELATE+ were not reliably different in outcome. Couples in both conditions sustained high relationship satisfaction and showed an overall decline in psychological distress. However, consumer satisfaction was substantially higher for the RELATE+ condition than the RELATE condition.
    Behaviour Change. 12/2012; 29(04).
  • Christopher A. Pepping, W. Kim Halford
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    ABSTRACT: Individual differences in attachment are well established as a correlate of couple relationship satisfaction. However, less is known about the role of attachment in predicting satisfaction at specific milestone points in couple relationships. The present study explored the role of attachment in predicting relationship satisfaction during couples’ first pregnancy, and the mediating role of relationship enhancing behaviors. Male and female attachment anxiety and avoidance predicted their own low relationship satisfaction, and this was partially mediated by relationship enhancing behaviors. Male attachment anxiety and avoidance predicted low female satisfaction, and this was fully mediated by relationship enhancing behaviors. This study is the first to highlight the important role of male attachment during pregnancy, and the mediating role of relationship enhancing behaviors.
    Journal of Research in Personality 12/2012; 46(6):770–774. · 2.00 Impact Factor
  • Douglas K. Snyder, W. Kim Halford
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    ABSTRACT: Several approaches to couple therapy produce large and clinically significant reductions in relationship distress. However, 25 to 30 per cent of couples show no benefit from couple therapy. Adapted forms of couple therapy can effectively treat some psychological disorders and enhance adjustment to physical health problems. The specific mechanisms underlying the effects of couple therapy on relationship distress are unclear. Current attempts to enhance the efficacy of couple therapy have three foci: (1) identifying the common factors that might account for change across approaches, (2) integrating different approaches to address specific needs of particular partners and couples and (3) monitoring the progress of couples during therapy and using that information to modify couple therapy as required. Given the high prevalence of relationship distress and its association with other problems, clinicians should routinely screen for relationship distress in adults. Couple therapy needs to be considered as the focus, or part of the focus, of treatment for a wide range of adult emotional and behavioural problems.
    Journal of Family Therapy 08/2012; 34(3). · 0.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study evaluated the effectiveness of couple relationship education in assisting couples to sustain relationship functioning and parenting sensitivity, and whether benefits were moderated by risk of maladjustment in the transition to parenthood ("risk"). Two hundred fifty couples expecting their first child were assessed on risk and randomly assigned to either the Couple CARE for Parents (CCP), a couple relationship- and coparenting-focused education program (n = 125), or the Becoming a Parent Program (BAP), a mother-focused parenting program (n = 125). Couples completed assessments of their couple relationship during pregnancy, after intervention at 4 months postpartum, and at 16 and 28 months postpartum. Observed parenting and self-report parenting stress were assessed at 4 months postpartum, and parenting stress was assessed again at 16 and 28 months postpartum. Risk was associated with greater relationship and parenting adjustment problems. Relative to BAP, CCP women decreased their negative communication and showed a trend to report less parenting stress irrespective of risk level. High-risk women receiving CCP reported higher relationship satisfaction, and were less intrusive in their parenting, than high-risk women receiving BAP. There were no effects of CCP on sensitive parenting and parenting intrusiveness for women. High-risk men in CCP showed a trend for higher relationship satisfaction than high-risk BAP men, but there were no effects of CCP for men on any parenting outcomes. CCP is a potentially useful intervention, but benefits are primarily for high-risk women.
    Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 06/2012; 80(4):662-73. · 4.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Systematic monitoring of individual therapy progress, coupled with feedback to the therapist, reliably enhances therapy outcome by alerting therapists to individual clients who are off track to benefit by the end of therapy. The current paper reviews the possibility of using similar systematic monitoring and feedback of therapy progress as a means to enhance couple therapy outcome, including what measures of therapy progress are most likely to be useful, how to structure feedback to be most useful to therapists, and the likely mediators of the effects of therapy progress feedback. One implicit assumption of therapy progress feedback is that clients unlikely to benefit from therapy can be detected early enough in the course of therapy for corrective action to be taken. As a test of this assumption, midtherapy progress was examined as a predictor of final couple therapy outcome in a sample of 134 distressed couples. Either a brief 7- or 32-item assessment of couple therapy progress at midtherapy detected a substantial proportion (46%) of couples who failed to benefit by the end of therapy. Given that failure to benefit from couple therapy is somewhat predictable across the course of therapy, future research should test whether systematic monitoring and feedback of progress could enhance therapy outcome.
    Behavior therapy 03/2012; 43(1):49-60. · 2.85 Impact Factor
  • W. Kim Halford, Douglas K. Snyder
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    ABSTRACT: Across nearly all cultures, sharing a lifelong committed relationship with an intimate partner comprises an almost universal and strongly held ambition. Nevertheless, cross-national data reliably indicate a high prevalence of relationship distress and dissolution, with adverse emotional and physical health consequences for adult partners and their children. This introduction to the special section summarizes findings regarding the effectiveness of couple therapy for treating general relationship distress, couple-based interventions for individual mental or physical health problems, and couple relationship education programs aimed at helping couples sustain a healthy committed relationship. Within each of these approaches, evidence regarding potential mediators of interventions’ effectiveness is reviewed, and critical unanswered questions are highlighted. Discussion concludes with a brief introduction to each of the articles comprising this special section on universal processes in couple therapy and relationship education.
    Behavior therapy 03/2012; 43(1):1–12. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Stepfamily couples experience specific challenges early in their relationships, (e.g., reaching agreement on the role of the stepparent in parenting). The Oral History Interview for Stepfamilies (OHI-S) was developed to assess spouses' cognitive representations of their adaptation to these challenges. It was hypothesized that their responses would predict future relationship satisfaction and stability. One-hundred and 22 stepfamily couples completed the OHI-S and were assessed on relationship satisfaction and stability at Time 1 and 2.5 years later (Time 2). Time 2 relationship satisfaction and stability were both predicted by the OHI-S at Time 1. Couples' perceptions of the stepfamily and couple relationship predict separation, and suggest there is an opportunity for early intervention to enhance stepfamily couple relationships.
    Journal of Family Psychology 08/2011; 25(4):560-9. · 1.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Supervision of professional practice is mandated in the training of clinical psychologists and consensually agreed to be central in such training. Supervision is intended to serve three related, but somewhat conflicting, functions: (1) normative functions of monitoring and ensuring client well-being, and monitoring and evaluating supervisee competence; (2), restorative functions of supporting supervisee personal and professional well-being; and (3) formative functions of educating and guiding supervisee's professional practice. Research suggests supervision as currently practised can achieve the restorative—and to some extent, the formative—functions of supervision. However, current supervision practice has not been demonstrated to be effective in its normative functions. Recommendations on how to enhance supervision practice are described, which include systematic assessment of supervisee competence and client outcome and options for reconciling the normative function of supervision with the other functions.
    Australian Psychologist 06/2011; 46(2):101 - 112. · 0.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a prevalent and common problem yet is rarely screened for, or addressed in, couple relationship education (CRE). The current study examined the prevalence of IPV in 250 couples expecting their first child who were recruited into a study of CRE across the transition to parenthood. The couples were generally highly satisfied with their relationship, yet 32% reported at least one incident of IPV in the past 12 months, and 7% reported that at least one spouse had been injured by IPV. The majority of violence was of low severity (pushing, slapping, or shoving), and the most common pattern was of reciprocal aggression between the partners. Given that even low-severity IPV is associated with significant risk of inury and predicts risk of relationship separation, these high rates of IPV are concerning. CRE providers for expectant couples need to attend to prevention of IPV within their programs.
    Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy 04/2011; 10(2):152-168.
  • Bronwyn Watson, W Kim Halford
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    ABSTRACT: The current study assessed if childhood sexual abuse (CSA) can be meaningfully classified into classes, based on the assumption that abuse by a close family member differs in important ways from other abuse, and whether abuse classes were differentially associated with couple relationship problems. The childhood experiences and adult relationships of 1335 Australian women (18-41 years) were assessed. Latent class analysis identified three classes of CSA: that perpetrated by a family member, friend, or stranger, which differed markedly on most aspects of the abuse. Family abuse was associated with the highest risk for adult relationship problems, with other classes of CSA having a significant but weaker association with adult relationship problems. CSA is heterogeneous with respect the long-term consequences for adult relationship functioning.
    Violence and Victims 08/2010; 25(4):518-35. · 1.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Research in the United States shows that relationship violence occurs in a substantial minority of newlywed couples, and is associated with a range of risk factors such as family-of-origin violence. Few of the associated risk factors, however, are potentially modifiable through early intervention to prevent violence. In the current study self-reported aggression and violence were assessed in 379 Australian newlywed couples. Consistent with US-based research, >20% of newlywed Australian couples reported at least one incident of relationship violence in the past year. A range of correlates of relationship violence and aggression was assessed, including the construct of relationship self-regulation, which is the extent that partners report being able to enhance their relationship with their partner. Low relationship self-regulation was correlated with relationship aggression and violence. It was concluded that the aggression and violence are common problems in Australian newlywed couples, and that enhancing relationship self-regulation might help reduce the prevalence of aggression.
    Australian Journal of Psychology 06/2010; · 1.08 Impact Factor
  • Source
    W Kim Halford, Jemima Petch
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    ABSTRACT: The transition to parenthood is a substantial challenge for many couples, and the extent to which the partners can support each other and their relationship is strongly related to the sensitivity and responsiveness of their parenting of their infant. This paper critically analyses the links between the couple relationship and parenting of infants and reviews the research evaluating couple psychoeducation (CP) to assist couples' parenting of their infant. It is concluded that CP has considerable potential to enhance couples' adaptation to parenthood and enhance the sensitivity and responsiveness of parenting of new infants.
    Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 04/2010; 13(2):164-80. · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the effective components of couple relationship education, 59 newlywed couples were randomly assigned to one of two couple relationship programs (CRE): (1) RELATE, which involved receiving feedback on their relationship based on the on-line RELATE assessment; or (2) RELATE + Couple CARE, which was RELATE plus completing the 6 unit Couple CARE relationship skill training program. Relative to RELATE, RELATE + Couple CARE produced more improvement in couple communication, and high relationship satisfaction across the next 12 months in women. Men sustained high and similar relationship satisfaction in either condition. Skill training CRE has additional benefits for couples beyond assessment and feedback.
    Journal of Family Psychology 04/2010; 24(2):188-96. · 1.89 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
140.53 Total Impact Points


  • 1988–2013
    • University of Queensland
      • • School of Psychology
      • • Department of Occupational Therapy
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • 2012
    • Relationships Australia
      Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  • 1995–2010
    • Griffith University
      • School of Applied Psychology
      Southport, Queensland, Australia
  • 2004
    • University of Southern Queensland 
      Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
  • 1993
    • Royal Brisbane Hospital
      Brisbane, Queensland, Australia