Faculty Articles

Relative Cost Effectiveness of In-Person and Internet Interventions for Relationship Distress.

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Family Process




While the efficacy of couple therapy has been repeatedly demonstrated, most distressed couples do not seek treatment. To improve reach and overcome barriers to therapy, Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy (IBCT) was translated into a web-based program, OurRelationship (OR). While both IBCT and OR have been shown to improve relationship and individual functioning, the goal of the present study was to compare the relative cost effectiveness of these two treatment modalities. In IBCT, 74% of couples experienced reliable improvement, compared to 55% of couples in OR. Within-group Cohen's d effect sizes during treatment for relationship satisfaction were d = 0.87 for IBCT and d = 0.96 for OR. Relative cost effectiveness analyses revealed that even at the highest expense estimates for OR and the lowest expense estimates for IBCT, OR was more cost effective in creating reliable improvement once at least 229 couples were served and was more cost effective in creating large-size effects once at least 153 couples were served. Cost-effectiveness increases for both IBCT and OR as more couples are served; however, this cost savings occurs at a much more rapid rate for OR. These findings demonstrate that despite higher initial development costs, Internet programs are a cost-effective option for dissemination either as a stand-alone service or as an initial intervention in a stepped care model with more intensive in-person services.



PubMed ID


Peer Reviewed

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