The Role of Relational Instability on Individual and Partner Outcomes Following Couple Relationship Education Participation


Actor–partner interdependence model, couple and relationship education, couple quality, depressive symptoms, evaluation methods, family harmony


Some scholars have suggested that distressed populations may benefit more from couple and relationship education (CRE) than do their nondistressed counterparts. We examined this hypothesis using actor–partner interdependence models to explore the relationship between baseline relational instability and change for individuals and their partners (379 couples; 758 individuals) who participated in a CRE program for 6 to 8 weeks. Findings indicated that a higher level of relational instability on the part of women was associated with greater positive change in depressive symptoms. Furthermore, respondents' and partners' baseline relational instability moderated the change in women's couple quality, such that women reported greater positive change in relationship quality when reporting higher instability and higher relationship quality before CRE participation, and when their partners reported higher instability and lower quality before CRE participation. Men appear to benefit from CRE participation regardless of baseline relational instability. Suggestions for researchers and facilitators are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

McGill, J.*, Adler-Baeder, F., Bradford, A.B., Kerpelman, J., Ketring, S., & Sollie, D. (2016). The role of relational instability on individual and partner outcomes following couple and relationship education participation. Family Relations, 65, 407-423. DOI: 10.1111/fare.12201

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Family Relations




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor