Reducing Situational Violence in Low-Income Couples by Fostering Healthy Relationships


  • This study was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF) (90OJ2022). The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ACF. We express our gratitude to the following people who helped make this project possible: Julie Gottman and others who assisted with the intervention, Robin Dion, Dan Yoshimoto, Daniel Friend, and all of the staff and volunteers at the Relationship Research Institute who worked on the CTAV project.

Address correspondence to Renay P. Cleary Bradley, The University of Georgia, Family and Consumer Sciences, Department of Child and Family Development, 114 Dawson Hall, Athens, GA 30602; E-mail:


This work evaluated a psycho-educational intervention designed to reduce intimate partner violence (IPV) in low-income situationally violent couples. The primary objective was to evaluate the mechanism through which violence was reduced. It was hypothesized that IPV would be reduced via use of therapeutic skills taught during the intervention (i.e., friendship, sex/romance/passion, shared meaning, and conflict management skills). One-hundred-fifteen couples were randomly assigned to a treatment or no-treatment control group. Couples self-reported attitudes reflecting healthy relationship skills and IPV at multiple time points (baseline, post-intervention, and long-term post-intervention). Results support the notion that violence was reduced via an increase in intervention-based skills. Findings suggest that IPV can be safely reduced in low-income situationally violent couples via conjoint treatment focused on building healthy relationship skills.