May 6, 2019
December 17, 2020
The purpose of this study is to test the efficacy of the 8-week Healing Hearts Together (HHT) program to improve relationship quality, mental health, quality of life (QoL), and cardiovascular health. This is a randomized controlled trial in which couples are randomly assigned to the HHT group or usual care. Changes in the outcomes of interest will be assessed at the end of the intervention (8 weeks) and 6 months later.
|Experimental: Healing Hearts Together
Other: Healing Hearts Together
Participants in the HHT group will be assembled in groups and attend 8 weekly 2-hr sessions at UOHI led by 2 facilitators with psychology training. Sessions: 1) focus on understanding love, attachment, and their relationship to heart health; 2) provide an opportunity to share experiences related to cardiovascular disease with partners and peers; and 3) assist in identifying and improving communication patterns that may inhibit positive interactions and healthy behaviours. Participants are introduced to concepts through didactic presentations, videos, group and couple discussion and homework exercises. Participants will receive a folder containing copies of in-session and take-home exercises as well as the Hold Me Tight book to review between sessions.
1. University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) patients and their partners
2. Participants in a romantic relationship who are cohabiting (married, common-law or
committed relationship for ≥1 year). No restrictions will be placed on sexual
3. Participants are ≥ 18 years of age
4. Participants are able to read and understand English (HHT materials are only available
in English; once efficacy has been established, all materials will be translated to
5. Patients and partners are available to participate for the next 6 months (intervention
6. Patients and partners are able to provide informed consent.
1. Participants who, in the opinion of the study psychologist, manifest psychiatric
illness or cognitive impairment that would preclude participation in HHT (i.e. unable
to benefit from the intervention; to prevent disruption of other participants).
2. Participants who are engaging in couples therapy or plan to engage in couples therapy
in the next 6 months.
Contact: Heather Tulloch, PhD 613-696-7000 email@example.com
University of Ottawa Heart Institute
Ottawa Heart Institute Research Corporation