Using Intent-to-Attend to Predict Attendance in Community-Based Relationship Education

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Government-supported relationship education has provided resources for inclusion of economically vulnerable and ethnically diverse participants; however, many grantees and programs struggled to retain couples in longitudinal studies, which has likely influenced study effects and threatened internal validity. In the present study, we assessed 1,056 couples’ baseline relationship satisfaction and intent-to-attend their next scheduled visit while participating in a randomized controlled trial of relationship education and evaluated the predictive ability of their responses to remain in the six-month study. We conducted actor-partner interdependence models for couples, using a probit cross-lagged regression with a structural equation modeling framework, to test the dyadic influence of intent-to-attend on future couple attendance. We also examined the influence of higher or lower baseline relationship satisfaction between partners and group assignment (treatment or wait-list control) on attendance. Intent-to-attend scores were associated with attendance for couples at the one-month follow-up, and early attendance was the biggest predictor of later attendance. Additionally, baseline intent-to-attend scores predicted later intent-to-attend scores for all follow-up time points. However, we found no partner effects, and no effects for the influence of baseline relationship satisfaction or group assignment. We discuss practical suggestions for including intent-to-attend in future studies, relationship education programming, and general therapy practice.

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Family Process

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