Galena K. Rhoades's research while affiliated with University of Denver and other places

Publications (129)

Article
Full-text available
Youth sex and relationship education programs aim to improve adolescent well-being by changing their knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes regarding sex and their health. However, there is a gap in existing research linking these cognitive targets to relevant behaviors, and a particular dearth of data on links with sexual behaviors. The current study t...
Article
This study examined differences by sexual orientation in romantic relationship and marriage attitudes, and relationship skills, among a large, diverse sample of high school youth. The romantic relationships of sexual minority youth have been understudied, particularly factors related to their relationship quality, such as attitudes and skills. Swee...
Article
Full-text available
Mixed-gender couples presenting for couple therapy are at 2-3 times higher risk for physical intimate partner violence (IPV) than community couples. However, it is unclear if this elevation of relative risk is the same in the general population because relationship distress and treatment-seeking are often confounded. We used archival data from thre...
Article
The current study investigated changes in couple, parenting, and individual functioning following participation in Family Expectations, a relationship and parenting education program for new or expectant parents. The sample comprised 339 couples who participated in most sessions of the Family Expectations program and completed assessments at three...
Article
The focus of this special section is impact studies that were conducted as part of the Administration for Children and Families' Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood initiative. This initiative has led to more than 2 million people receiving relationship education and fatherhood programs across the United States over the last two decades. Co...
Article
This study explores whether household income moderates the predictive association from adaptive processes (positive and negative interactions and commitment), enduring vulnerabilities (psychological distress), and stressors (financial strain) to future relationship satisfaction? Theory and research have long conceptualized socioeconomic status as a...
Article
Research into adolescent pornography use has identified numerous individual-level behavioral and attitudinal correlates. However, associations between adolescents' pornography viewing and their romantic relationships remain understudied. Furthermore, very little is known about adolescents' watching pornography with their romantic partners (i.e., jo...
Article
Sexual activity occurs among a large portion of young adults and adolescents, including high school students. While about 40% of high school students nationwide have engaged in sexual intercourse, more information is needed about how individual characteristics may relate to larger patterns of adolescent sexual behavior. This exploratory study utili...
Article
The federal government, through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), has funded community‐based relationship education programs for couples, individuals, and families, with a strong focus on serving economically disadvantaged and racially diverse families. This study evaluated the impact of a 36‐hour, workshop‐based couple relationsh...
Article
Objective: Relationship education programs have proven effective in promoting relationship quality and preventing divorce among married couples. However, according to theories of Environmental Sensitivity, people differ for genetic reasons in their sensitivity to environmental influences with some more affected by both negative and positive experi...
Article
The field of relationship science has called for more research on the impact of relationship education on child outcomes, yet studies in this area remain sparse, particularly regarding maternal and infant health at birth. Research on group prenatal care demonstrates that individual‐oriented group interventions have a positive impact on infant birth...
Article
This study tested moderated mediation-that is, whether the mechanisms of program impacts are different for different groups of people-in the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) study of relationship education (RE) programs for low-income married couples. Large-scale evaluations of RE programs have yielded small effects in community settings. Understa...
Article
en The current study presents implementation and impact data from a cluster randomized trial of a youth relationship education curriculum. High school students (n = 1,135) were randomized at the school level to receive curricula-as-usual or a healthy relationships program delivered by facilitators who were not employed by the high schools. Program...
Article
Full-text available
This article systematically reviewed 34 rigorous evaluation studies of couple relationship education (CRE) programs from 2010 to 2019 that met the criteria for Level 1 well‐established interventions. Significant advances include reaching more diverse and disadvantaged target populations with positive intervention effects on a wider range of outcome...
Article
Decades of research have documented the apparent health benefits of marriage, but the dynamics of how health may change across the transition to marriage are not fully understood. In two studies, we compared being unmarried or married on several indices of mental and physical health. In Study 1, we used a national sample of 1,078 individuals in dif...
Article
Low-income couples are at increased risk for relationship instability and divorce. In response, online relationship education programs such as ePREP and OurRelationship have been developed to more easily reach this population. A previous trial indicated that these programs promote relationship functioning (Doss et al., 2020) and individual well-bei...
Article
Associations between higher religiosity and positive marital outcomes are well documented (e.g., Mahoney et al., 1999; Olson et al., 2015), but less attention has been paid to religiosity in unmarried relationships. This study examines associations between religiosity and relationship quality in a sample of individuals in early adulthood (N = 354)...
Article
Although most sexting among adolescents occurs in the context of romantic relationships, researchers have not fully investigated how relationships involving sexting differ from those that do not. This study assessed how individual and relationship characteristics differ by whether adolescent dating partners sext (N = 269). Adolescents in sexting re...
Article
Objective: In this study, we isolated primary messaging strategies of sexuality education curricula to improve tailored delivery of group-based interventions. Specifically, our aim was to define single-message programs (eg, messaging about avoiding sexual risk or messaging about reducing sexual risk) and multiple-message programs (eg, avoiding sexu...
Article
Full-text available
Relationship science contends that the quality of couples’ communication predicts relationship satisfaction over time. Most studies testing these links have examined between-person associations, yet couple dynamics are also theorized at the within-person level: For a given couple, worsened communication is presumed to predict deteriorations in futu...
Article
Cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (CBCT for PTSD) is associated with improvements in patients' PTSD symptoms, partners' psychological distress, and relationship satisfaction. However, little is known about whether CBCT for PTSD is associated with changes in other relationship domains that have theoretical and c...
Article
A large and diverse literature has shown that parent-child relationship quality shapes development to affect later romantic relationship functioning. Guided by the developmental psychopathology framework, the current systematic review aimed to characterize the links between two major subtypes of parent-child relationship quality (parent-child attac...
Article
Children exposed to maltreatment are at risk of experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) and behavioral problems. This study examined different forms of family violence that co-occur and their relationship to children’s externalizing behaviors across developmental stages (early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence). Longitudinal data ( N =...
Article
When service members manifest symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), intimate partners may engage in behaviors to accommodate their partners’ experiences (e.g., helping service members avoid situations that could make them uncomfortable, not expressing own thoughts and feelings to minimize PTSD‐related conflict), which may inadvertently...
Article
Monitoring alternative partners may be associated with engaging in behaviors that undermine relationship fidelity and/or stability. For example, paying attention to romantic alternatives has been shown to be associated with lower relationship quality. Studies have investigated the association between alternative monitoring and relationship outcomes...
Article
Pornography viewing has been cross-sectionally and longitudinally linked to poorer romantic relationship quality. However, only a few studies have looked at (1) the associations of changes in pornography viewing over time with relationship characteristics, (2) differential impacts of watching alone and watching with one's partner, and (3) how gende...
Article
In general, a sense of understanding and connection is an important aspect of marital relationships. In the context of military couples in which a service member may have symptoms of PTSD, spouses' understanding of the nature and causes of service member PTSD symptoms may be protective for both partners' marital satisfaction. However, partners may...
Article
Given the powerful implications of relationship quality for health and well-being, a central mission of relationship science is explaining why some romantic relationships thrive more than others. This large-scale project used machine learning (i.e., Random Forests) to 1) quantify the extent to which relationship quality is predictable and 2) identi...
Article
Full-text available
The current study evaluates the effects of having a baby on relationship quality and stability, contrasting married and unmarried cohabiting parents (N = 179; 38% unmarried cohabiting). Participants provided several waves of data, including time points before, during, and after pregnancy. Results indicated that cohabiting parents broke up at a sign...
Article
Although there are studies on voting similarity in mate selection, very little research has examined party identification and relationship quality. We assessed associations between reports of personal and partner voting behavior (Democrat, Republican, or Independent) and both relationship adjustment and commitment to one's partner. We used a nation...
Article
Full-text available
“Defining the relationship” (DTR) conversations are a topic of interest among lay people, yet have been the focus of little empirical research, leaving a gap in the psychological literature on romantic relationship development. This article presents descriptive data from two studies about the characteristics and correlates of DTR talks in adolescen...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Although low-income couples experience greater relationship challenges, they have limited access to effective relationship interventions. Furthermore, most previous efforts to improve low-income couples' relationships have yielded very small effects (Hawkins & Erickson, 2015). In an effort to overcome these limitations, this study inves...
Article
Background: Partner Assisted Smoking Cessation Treatment (PACT) was designed to improve smoking abstinence rates by integrating evidence-based relationship education strategies to build effective couple support into standard cognitive behavioral smoking cessation treatment (CBT). Methods: This small randomized clinical trial examined the feasibilit...
Article
Full-text available
Relationship distress is a pervasive problem in the USA that disproportionally impacts couples with low-income levels. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of two online relationship interventions, OurRelationship and ePREP, both of which were supported by a paraprofessional coach, in improving mental health and physical...
Article
Relationship education is widely used to help people develop and sustain healthy romantic relationships. We first provide a review on the current state of evidence and key issues in the field, laying a foundation for suggesting specific best practices in relationship education. We focus on services provided to couples but also address the burgeonin...
Article
Cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (CBCT for PTSD; Monson & Fredman, 2012) is efficacious in improving PTSD symptoms and relationship adjustment among couples with PTSD. However, there is a need for more efficient delivery formats to maximize engagement and retention and to achieve faster outcomes in multiple do...
Article
This study examines the ways in which collecting data from individuals versus couples affects the characteristics of the resulting sample in basic research studies of romantic relationships. From a nationally representative sample of 1,294 individuals in a serious romantic relationship, approximately half of whom were randomly selected to invite th...
Article
The current study examined trajectories of relationship confidence, defined as the belief that oneself and the partner together have the skills needed to navigate conflict and maintain a partnership into the future. This study uses data from a sample of 1,294 partnered but unmarried young adults to examine trajectories of relationship confidence ac...
Article
Full-text available
Objective To measure the proportion of women screened for IPV during prenatal care; to assess the predictors of prenatal IPV screening. Methods We use the CDC’s 2012 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, representative of births in 24 states and New York City (N = 28,581). We calculated descriptive and logistic regressions, weighted to deal...
Article
Couple therapy has been shown to be a meaningful way to improve couples' relationships. However, less information is known about couples' functioning prior to entering treatment in community settings, as well as how their relationship functioning changes from initiating therapy onward. This study examined 87 couples who began community-based couple...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined characteristics of individuals that are associated with being in asymmetrically committed relationships (ACRs), defined as romantic relationships in which there was a substantial difference in the commitment levels of the partners. These ACRs were studied in a national sample of unmarried, opposite-sex romantic relationships (N...
Article
Full-text available
Despite a growing number of female same-gender (FSG) relationships, couples-based research and interventions have focused primarily on mixed-gender couples. Consequently, research has applied a heteronormative lens to understanding some relationship factors, including sexuality. The current study sought to provide descriptive data regarding frequen...
Article
en This study examined the within‐family and between‐family associations between fathers’ military‐related PTSD symptoms and parent ratings of children's behavioral and emotional problems. The sample included married couples (N = 419) with children composed of a civilian wife and an active‐duty husband serving in the U.S. Army. Results indicate tha...
Article
In recent decades, there has been a dramatic increase in the ability of service members and their intimate partners to communicate while the service member is deployed to a combat zone. Communication among partners is a crucial aspect of intimate relationships that has been demonstrated to be highly associated with couples’ satisfaction. In additio...
Article
Using data from 570 male service members and their wives, the current study investigated over-time associations between male service members’ self-report of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and marital functioning (marital satisfaction, positive bonding, conflict behavior) as perceived by both spouses. Analyses spanned 5 time points ov...
Article
This special issue presents a collection of reports that highlight recent advances in methods and measurement and also shed light on the complexity of family psychology. The importance of theory in guiding solid family science is evident throughout these reports. The reports include guides for researchers who incorporate direct observation into the...
Article
Full-text available
Although there is a large body of research addressing predictors of relationship infidelity, no study to our knowledge has specifically addressed infidelity in a previous relationship as a risk factor for infidelity in a subsequent relationship. The current study addressed risk for serial infidelity by following adult participants (N = 484) longitu...
Article
Full-text available
Extradyadic sexual involvement (ESI) is associated with negative consequences for individuals and threatens couple stability. Research on ESI in unmarried samples has been marked by methodological limitations, such as examining only mean levels of sexual satisfaction or frequency to predict later ESI as opposed to changes in various aspects of the...
Article
After completing a relationship education program, collecting participant evaluations of the program is common practice. These are generally used as an index of “consumer satisfaction” with the program, with implications for feasibility and quality. Rarely have these ratings been used as predictors of changes in marital quality, although such feedb...
Article
This study compared romantic relationships in which there was a substantial difference (>1 SD) in the commitment levels of the two partners to those with more equal levels. These asymmetrically committed relationships (ACRs) were studied in a national, longitudinal sample of unmarried, opposite-sex romantic relationships (N = 315 couples); 64.8% (n...
Article
Full-text available
This study clarifies within-family and between-family links between marital functioning and child well-being. Expanding on existing prospective research, this study tests whether changes in parents' marital functioning are associated with corresponding changes in their children's well-being, independent from associations that exist when comparing d...
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the relation between employee engagement, decisions to be in a relationship with a co-worker, and commitment uncertainty in a sample of adults who identified they were currently working with their romantic partner. Design/methodology/approach – Because workplace romance can be a taboo topic among w...
Article
The birth of the first baby - often referred to as the transition to parenthood (TTP) - is both a time of great joy and great stress for new parents. Although the literature is mixed, the preponderance of evidence suggests that the TTP has a negative effect on relationship functioning for most couples. However, as children age, the relationship fun...
Article
Full-text available
Commitment uncertainty represents an ongoing state of conflicted feelings or thoughts about the future of a relationship. It is currently an underexplored dynamic within romantic relationships and may be a key component of young adult relationships that may influence the likelihood of relationship termination. When commitment is uncertain, individu...
Article
There is a high degree of overlap in the goals and strategies of couple and relationship education (CRE) and the practice of marriage and family therapy (MFT). Given these similarities, there is great potential benefit for the integration of MRE into the formal training of future MFTs. In this article, the authors focus on how CRE can complement bo...
Article
This study tested whether relationship education (i.e., the Prevention and Relationship Education Program; PREP) can mitigate the risk of having cohabited before making a mutual commitment to marry (i.e., "precommitment cohabitation") for marital distress and divorce. Using data from a study of PREP for married couples in the U.S. Army (N = 662 cou...
Article
This study examined the effectiveness of a couple-based relationship education program, Within Our Reach. Secondary data (n = 3,609) were analyzed from the federal Supporting Healthy Marriage project. Couples were randomly assigned to receive Within Our Reach and associated services or to a no-treatment (treatment-as-usual) control group. Those ass...
Article
To help address the relationship needs of service members, there have been a number of programs offered within active duty and veteran contexts. One program, offered within the Strong Bonds portfolio delivered by Army Chaplains, is PREP for Strong Bonds (PREP = the Prevention and Relationship Education Program). PREP has a number of empirically bas...
Article
Full-text available
This article provides a conceptual overview of commitment uncertainty and fluctua-tions in commitment. In doing so, we distinguish commitment uncertainty from related concepts, such as ambivalence about commitment and doubt. In addition, we describe the onset and course of commitment uncertainty. Finally, we highlight several issues regarding the t...
Article
This study examined the association between changes in commitment uncertainty and couple therapy outcomes. Thirty couples participated in couple therapy at a university training clinic. The results demonstrated that changes in commitment uncertainty explained approximately 8% of the variance in posttreatment relationship satisfaction and approximat...
Article
Fluctuations in self-reported commitment (dedication) to a romantic relationship were examined among adults in well-established, but mostly unmarried, opposite sex relationships (N = 616) over a period of 3 years, and the associations between individuals’ own dedication fluctuations and relationship outcomes at a later time point were analyzed. Gre...
Article
The current study investigated therapeutic interventions in couple therapy with 3 couples, 2 who experienced higher levels of commitment uncertainty. A multiple case study design was used to analyze couples’ reactions to interventions within and between sessions of therapy. Four sessions for each couple were coded, selected from the first, second,...
Article
The current authors evaluated perceived barriers to relationship education services for female same-sex couples as well as possible content and process changes for these programs to better serve this population. Data were collected and qualitatively analyzed from focus groups with 32 women who had been or were in same-sex relationships. Results ind...
Article
This study examined the effectiveness of an evidence-based, community-delivered adaptation of couple relationship education (CRE) program (specifically, The Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program [PREP]) delivered at two Army installations. The study is a randomized controlled trial with 2 years of follow-up examining marital quality and s...
Article
Associations between conflict in the family of origin and children’s adjustment are well documented. This study examined the extent to which the positive and negative emotions college students feel when they think about their families mediates the association between family conflict and social adjustment. College students (N = 174) completed measur...
Article
Full-text available
Post-traumatic distress after military combat is a major cost of war. One under-investigated factor potentially associated with PTSD symptoms is specific beliefs about one's military service. This study examined post-deployment self-reports from 272 active-duty U.S. Army soldiers, to investigate potential associations between military-related PTSD...
Article
Depressive symptoms are related to a host of negative individual and family outcomes; therefore, it is important to establish risk factors for depressive symptoms in order to design prevention efforts. Following studies in the marital and psychiatric literatures regarding marital factors associated with depression, we tested two potential predictor...
Article
This study examined how the degree of within-person variation (or temporal fluctuation) in relationship quality over time was associated with well-being (psychological distress and life satisfaction). A national sample of 18- to 34-year-old men and women in unmarried, opposite-sex relationships completed six waves of surveys every 4 months (N = 748...
Article
Full-text available
Theorists agree that commitment has different components, but the interaction between two fundamental aspects of commitment—dedication (interpersonal commitment) and constraint (external pressures to stay together)—has not been examined to our knowledge. The effects of the interaction between dedication and constraint on several measures of discomf...
Article
Using a nationally representative sample (N = 870), the present study compared long-distance romantic relationships to close-proximity romantic relationships in terms of relationship quality, commitment, and stability. Individuals in long-distance relationships generally reported higher levels of relationship quality on a number of relationship qua...
Article
Full-text available
The study presents findings from interviews of 52 divorced individuals who received the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) while engaged to be married. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the study sought to understand participant reasons for divorce (including identification of the "final straw") in order to unders...
Article
We examined associations between positive interactions and avoidant and anxious representations in relationships with parents, friends, and romantic partners. Two hundred adolescents completed questionnaires, observations, and attachment interviews. From a between-person perspective, those adolescents with more positive interactions overall had les...