Couple CARE (Commitment and Relationship Enhancement) for Parents

Placement on the Continuum of Evidence Unclear Ø Download icon Download PDF
Target Population: 
Communication, Emotional Competency, Parenting, Relationships
Target Audience 

This program was for couples who are expecting a baby.


The Couple CARE (Commitment and Relationship Enhancement) for Parents program was designed to encourage couples to strengthen their relationship and improve their parenting abilities through skills training.


Two randomized controlled trials conducted on the program found mixed results.  One study found significant decreases in negative communication rates for both partners and improvements in relationship adjustment and self-regulation for female partners.  However, no significant improvements in parenting stress were found for either partner.  Another study found significant decreases in negative communication and parenting stress for female partners but demonstrated no changes in sensitive parenting and parenting intrusiveness for female partners and no changes on parenting outcomes for male partners.


The Couple CARE for Parents program was intended to increase a couples' relationship satisfaction and their baby's well-being.  This program utilized a combination of group workshops; home visits with trained educators; and self-directed, home-based exercises presented on DVD and used in conjunction with workbook exercises and telephone consultations to distribute and teach information.  Couples participated in six sessions that provided information on proper infant care and promoted relationship skills through instruction as couples adjusted to parenthood.

  • Session 1:  Six weeks before birth, couples attended a group workshop that focused on parenting expectations and couple communication.
  • Session 2:  Four weeks before birth, couples had a home visit with a trained educator who further discussed couple communication and conflict management.
  • Session 3:  Three weeks postpartum, couples received a second home visit. Topics included infant care and stress management.
  • Session 4:  Six weeks postpartum, couples completed a self-directed activity that involved caring for each other, affection, and sexuality.
  • Session 5:  Nine weeks postpartum, couples completed a self-directed activity that emphasized mutual partner support; social support; and shared, positive couple activities.
  • Session 6:  Twelve weeks postpartum, couples completed a self-directed activity that highlighted ways to manage stressful change, prevent problems, and sustain a relationship.

Because this program is currently not available, facilitators who wish to utilize the program should contact the parent program, CoupleCARE, to inquire about future opportunities for program implementation.

Previous Use 

Previous use information was not located.  


Training is not currently available for this program.


Considerations for implementing this program include understanding this program is not actively disseminated, recognizing program topics could be of a sensitive nature, finding mutually convenient times for home visits, and recruiting participants who are willing to attend sessions and have home visits shortly after having a new baby.

The Clearinghouse can help address these considerations. Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email


If you are interested in implementing Couple CARE for Parents or a program that is similar to this one, the Clearinghouse is interested in helping you! Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email


The program consisted of six sessions implemented over an 18-week period; each session lasted up to 6 hours.


No information on implementation costs was located.

Evaluation Plan 

To move the Couple CARE for Parents program to the Promising category on the Clearinghouse Continuum of Evidence, at least one evaluation should be performed demonstrating positive effects for both partners lasting at least six months from program completion.

The Clearinghouse can help you develop an evaluation plan to ensure the program components are meeting your goals. Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email


Contact the Clearinghouse with any questions regarding this program.
Phone: 1-877-382-9185 Email:

You may also contact the developers of the parent program, Couple CARE, by email or visit


Halford, Petch, and Creedy (2010).

No longer available
References - Used For Placement 

Halford, W. K., Petch, J., & Creedy, D. K. (2010). Promoting a positive transition to parenthood: A randomized clinical trial of couple relationship education. Prevention Science, 11, 89-100.

Petch, J. F., Halford, W. K., Creedy, D. K., & Gamble, J. (2012).  A randomized controlled trial of a couple relationship and coparenting program (Couple CARE for Parents) for high- and low-risk new parents.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80, 662.

*Resources and associated costs reflect those identified at the time of fact sheet publication.