Over the past decade, there has been increased focus on targeting couples in HIV prevention efforts, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where HIV transmission primarily occurs through heterosexual contact, in the context of intersecting alcohol use and intimate partner violence (IPV). However, little is known about couples' general relationship functioning. This understanding is needed to augment couple-based HIV prevention programs and address risk for IPV. This paper presents data on domains of relationship functioning with 300 South African couples who were recruited for an HIV prevention study. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to determine the relevance of 17 individual items, as well as the overall factor structure of the questions. Results revealed three independent factors of relationship functioning: relationship satisfaction, arguing, and open communication; an overarching construct of relationship functioning for these three domains was not observed in the data. Results provide insight into the structure of relationship functioning questions and subscales that can be used to assess South African adult romantic relationships. This may allow for a greater focus on aspects of relationships within couple-based HIV prevention programs going forward.
Measuring relationship functioning in South African couples
A strategy for improving HIV prevention efforts