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Trial registered on ANZCTR

Registration number
Ethics application status
Date submitted
Date registered
Date last updated
Type of registration
Prospectively registered

Titles & IDs
Public title
Evaluating Couple Relationship Education with Military Couples
Scientific title
Evaluating Couple Relationship Education with Australian Defence Force Personnel and their Partners; Effects of a Military-specific Intervention on Relationship Outcomes
Secondary ID [1] 279885 0
Universal Trial Number (UTN)
Trial acronym
Linked study record

Health condition
Health condition(s) or problem(s) studied:
Relationship Distress 285785 0
Condition category
Condition code
Mental Health 285961 285961 0 0
Other mental health disorders

Study type
Description of intervention(s) / exposure
An existing skills-training Couple Relationship Education program, Couple CARE, will be tailored to address the needs of military couples.

This intervention is designed to prevent couples from experiencing relationship distress; military couples are likely at higher risk of distress than civilian couples, due to the unique demands placed on their relationship such as postings, separations and deployments.

The program will consist of 6-7 units, each addressing a different aspect of couple relationships (e.g. communication, conflict management), aimed at teaching couples the skills required to maintain a mutually-satisfying relationship. The program will take approximately 7 weeks in total to complete.

Couples will complete the intervention in flexible delivery format. Couples are sent materials and instructed to complete each unit at home in their own time. For each unit, couples watch a short vignette on a DVD and complete exercises in a guidebook; some activities are completed individually, and some as a couple. Each unit takes approximately 50 minutes to complete. Couples then have a 50 minute telephone or Skype session with their educator, who revises the content and helps the couple apply the ideas to their own relationship. While the program is designed to fit around the busy military lifestyle, ideally couples will complete one unit (total 100 minutes) per week for 6-7 weeks (program yet to be finalised).
Intervention code [1] 284204 0
Intervention code [2] 284206 0
Intervention code [3] 284207 0
Comparator / control treatment
As this study is a randomised controlled trial, half of the participants will be assigned to a control group. The control group will receive a standard relationship enhancement intervention in the form of a book. This control allows couples the chance to benefit from their participation, but lacks the skills-training component that is key in Couple Relationship Education.
Control group

Primary outcome [1] 286452 0
Score on Couples Satisfaction Index R, assessing relationship satisfaction
Timepoint [1] 286452 0
Pre-trial, post-trial (7 weeks) and at 6-month follow-up
Primary outcome [2] 286453 0
Score on Relationship Status Inventory, assessing relationship stability
Timepoint [2] 286453 0
Pre-trial, post-trial (7 weeks) and at 6-month follow-up
Primary outcome [3] 286454 0
Level of couples' communication, assessed using a problem solving discussion task
Timepoint [3] 286454 0
Pre-trial, post-trial (7 weeks) and at 6-month follow-up
Secondary outcome [1] 295920 0
Score on Conflict Tactics Scale R, assessing Intimate Partner Violence
Timepoint [1] 295920 0
Pre-trial and at 6-month follow-up

Key inclusion criteria
At least one partner must be a currently-serving, full-time member of the Australian Defence Force; the couple will have been married, engaged or cohabiting for a period of six months or longer; both partners must have written and verbal fluency in English; both partners must reside in the Brisbane area, and each individual must consent to their participation in the study.
Minimum age
18 Years
Maximum age
No limit
Both males and females
Can healthy volunteers participate?
Key exclusion criteria
Couples will be excluded if initial assessment data suggest the couple are experiencing high levels of relationship distress; if the couple is currently undergoing couple therapy, or if either partner is currently receiving individual treatment for a psychological or psychiatric condition.

Study design
Purpose of the study
Allocation to intervention
Randomised controlled trial
Procedure for enrolling a subject and allocating the treatment (allocation concealment procedures)
Methods used to generate the sequence in which subjects will be randomised (sequence generation)
Masking / blinding
Open (masking not used)
Who is / are masked / blinded?

Intervention assignment
Other design features
Not Applicable
Type of endpoint(s)
Statistical methods / analysis

Recruitment status
Date of first participant enrolment
Date of last participant enrolment
Date of last data collection
Sample size
Accrual to date
Recruitment in Australia
Recruitment state(s)

Funding & Sponsors
Funding source category [1] 284652 0
Name [1] 284652 0
University of Queensland
Address [1] 284652 0
University of Queensland
St Lucia QLD 4072
Country [1] 284652 0
Primary sponsor type
University of Queensland
University of Queensland
St Lucia QLD 4072
Secondary sponsor category [1] 283560 0
Name [1] 283560 0
Address [1] 283560 0
Country [1] 283560 0

Ethics approval
Ethics application status
Ethics committee name [1] 286647 0
Ethics committee address [1] 286647 0
Ethics committee country [1] 286647 0
Date submitted for ethics approval [1] 286647 0
Approval date [1] 286647 0
Ethics approval number [1] 286647 0

Brief summary
Couple Relationship Education (CRE) is a preventative intervention for couples in intimate relationships, aiming to teach couples the skills required to maintain a mutually satisfying relationship before small issues become larger problems causing conflict and distress. Although CRE programs have been shown to be effective with civilian couples, few studies have looked at the effectiveness of CRE programs with military personnel and their spouses. The current study will tailor an existing CRE program for civilian couples, Couple CARE, to address the relationship challenges that may arise as a result of the unique military lifestyle; namely, postings, routine separations and deployments. Couples will complete measures of relationship satisfaction, stability, communication and individual adjustment, both before and after participation in the program, and again at a six month follow-up. Their scores on these outcomes will be compared to those of a control group, to assess whether CRE has a positive impact on relationship outcomes for military couples.
Trial website
Trial related presentations / publications
Public notes

Principal investigator
Name 33738 0
Prof W. Kim Halford
Address 33738 0
School of Psychology
The University of Queensland
St Lucia QLD 4067
Country 33738 0
Phone 33738 0
+61 7 3365 6375
Fax 33738 0
Email 33738 0
Contact person for public queries
Name 16985 0
Ms Ms. Melissa Bakhurst
Address 16985 0
School of Psychology
University of Queensland
St Lucia QLD 4072
Country 16985 0
Phone 16985 0
+61 7 3346 9510
Fax 16985 0
Email 16985 0
Contact person for scientific queries
Name 7913 0
Prof Prof. Kim Halford
Address 7913 0
School of Psychology
University of Queensland
St Lucia QLD 4072
Country 7913 0
Phone 7913 0
+61 7 3365 6375
Fax 7913 0
Email 7913 0

No information has been provided regarding IPD availability
Summary results
Have study results been published in a peer-reviewed journal?
Other publications
Have study results been made publicly available in another format?
Results – basic reporting
Results – plain English summary