Marital Problems and Relationship Difficulties and Integrated Care Among Hispanic Populations
Although Hispanic couples experience marital distress at similar rates when compared to non-Hispanic couples, there is a disparity in the field in terms of access to evidence-based interventions for Hispanic couples. Given known associations between marital distress and individual emotional and physiological symptomatology, and barriers to obtaining behavioral health care, improving access to marital interventions through primary care services, using an integrated care model, is promising. A key component to an integrated behavioral health care approach would be to teach physicians about screening tools for marital distress. Many empirically supported, brief screening measures exist, and through routine use by medical professionals, marital distress could be more easily detected and treated. Once risk for marital distress is determined, the next step for low-distress couples would be for health professionals to provide information and education about marital health, including marital distress prevention programs. If this step is not sufficient, the second step would be to provide couples with information about brief or web-based interventions. Finally, for more severely distressed couples, an appropriate referral would be to empirically supported, in-person treatment. There are a variety of evidence-supported options for treating couple/marital distress. Few programs are directly tailored to the needs of Hispanic couples, but suggestions for possible modifications or specific issues to be addressed are reviewed in this chapter. Future research is needed to make adaptations to empirically supported interventions that are more culturally sensitive.
KeywordsIntegrated care Couples Interventions Hispanic
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