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Table 1 Research aims, methods of addressing these, and potential benefits

From: Short and long-term effectiveness of couple counselling: a study protocol

Research aim Methods Benefit
1. To map profiles of clients seeking agency-based couple counselling vs. relationship enhancement programs in terms of relationship indicators, as well as socio-demographic factors, health and health service use. Statistical comparison of pre-counselling data from couple counselling vs relationship education groups. Multi-level modelling to describe relationships between variables controlling for dyadic (couple) data. To increase knowledge of ‘who’ attends counselling and relationship education programs, and presenting issues. This will guide development of clinical and educational approaches, and professional training. Comparative analyses will determine whether couples attending the two services differ on key variables. Such knowledge can better inform clinicians about couples’ needs.
2. To determine whether couple counselling improves 3 and 12-month outcomes for relationship satisfaction, commitment, and depression, using statistical analyses appropriate to couple data. Multi-level modelling to determine pre-post differences, controlling for dyadic (couple) level. To contribute to the literature assessing the effectiveness of community-based couple counselling. The results will assist clinical decision-making in community-based relationship service settings, and professional training.
3. To determine the relative contributions of client/couple and therapy factors to outcomes at 3- and 12-months, and to sustainability of outcomes over time. Multilevel statistical modelling of key predictors of relationship and individual outcomes controlling for dyadic data. To increase knowledge of factors influencing relationship services outcomes. This information will inform the training and development of clinicians and educators, and tailoring of relationship treatments to couples.