Counteracting Negative Effects of Cohabitation for Couples and Children Through RE

By Hailey Palmer and Alan J. Hawkins

 The bottom line first: A recent study found that children born to less educated mothers were more likely to be exposed to cohabitation, which led to more family transitions throughout childhood and adverse effects. Researchers also recently found that couples who cohabited before marriage had significantly lower rates of breakup in the first year after marrying but higher divorce rates after that compared to married couples who never cohabited. Relationship educators may be able to play a role in reducing the potential negative effects of premarital cohabitation. Continue reading “Counteracting Negative Effects of Cohabitation for Couples and Children Through RE”

Is Relationship Education for Individuals At-risk for Intimate Partner Violence a Good Idea?

by Alan J. Hawkins

   The Bottom-line First. Researchers consistently are finding that individuals and couples who are at greater risk for experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) are participating in relationship education (RE) in significant numbers. A recent study found that individuals who began a RE program with higher risk for IPV reported greater relationship equality and reduced controlling violence and relational violence at the end of the RE program. Continue reading “Is Relationship Education for Individuals At-risk for Intimate Partner Violence a Good Idea?”

Buffering the Effects of Stress on Health through Relationship Education: The Important Role of Improving Relationship Confidence

by Alan J. Hawkins

The Bottom-line First: Relationship education programs that help couples disconnect stresses in their lives, like financial hardship, from their relationships build confidence in the future of their relationship. In turn, this improves their reports of physical health. Continue reading “Buffering the Effects of Stress on Health through Relationship Education: The Important Role of Improving Relationship Confidence”

Different Ways to View Program Effectiveness

A Person-Oriented Approach to Evaluating Couple Relationship Education

by Jennifer Griffith

The Bottom-Line (at the Top): There are different ways to gauge whether RE programs are working. The most typical way is to measure the average change of participants. But another valuable way is to focus on variation in how participants change or stay the same, identifying different patterns of change of participants and those who benefit more or less. A recent study with a large, mostly Hispanic sample of couples looked at change with both approaches. It was couples who started the program in the mid-range of communication skills and relationship satisfaction who benefitted the most from the RE program.  Continue reading “Different Ways to View Program Effectiveness”