When Relationship Maintenance Flounders, Then Blossoms
Iboro F A Ottu
University of Uyo, Nigeria
John O Ekore
University of Ibadan, Nigeria


Relationship Maintenance
Integrative Behavioural Couple Therapy
Acceptance-Change Dialectics

How to Cite

Ottu, I., & Ekore, J. (2019). When Relationship Maintenance Flounders, Then Blossoms. Nigerian Journal of Social Psychology, 2(2). Retrieved from https://nigerianjsp.com/index.php/NJSP/article/view/31


The study investigated the efficacy of the Integrative Behavioural Couple Therapy (IBCT) among marital couples in the Ibibio socio-cultural setting of Nigeria using a quasi experimental design. The conception was driven by a framework of behavioural and cognitive theories that draw on participants’ self-construal, self-evaluation and perspective taking within the context of a pre-marital cultural socialization process known as Mbopo, perceived to be helpful in equipping would-be brides with relevant skills to sustain their marital relationship. Based on the outcome of a cross-sectional study that evaluated the influence of performance ecology, dialectical harmony, empathic accuracy and alternative partner perceptions of relationship maintenance among 664 couples, 36 couples who scored low in relationship maintenance and empathic accuracy were randomly selected for therapeutic intervention using the Integrative Behavioural Couple Therapy. Results indicate that the integrative Behavioural Couple Therapy improved relationship maintenance among empathically accurate (F (2, 17) = 25.57; p<.05) and empathically-inaccurate (F(2,17) = 6.63; p<.05) participants. Since all empathically-inaccurate participants that attended therapy were spouses with poor relationship maintenance scores from the cross-sectional survey, the significant results represents a proof of the therapeutic approach at enhancing relationship maintenance. However, a comparison of the efficacy of IBCT and TBCT sub-sections of the therapy showed that they were not significantly different therapies within the population. The test for impact of marriage duration and spouse-type (gender) on relationship maintenance showed no significant results. It was concluded that both IBCT and TBCT were useful in resolving marital distress depending on the distress levels of client treated. On the whole empathic accuracy played important role in how couples shaped their worldview about marriages.