Important, Rigorous Government Study Finds Positive Impacts of RE Programs

The bottom-line (at the top): There has been a healthy debate over how effective relationship education (RE) programs for disadvantaged couples have been. Over the 12 years, the Administration for Children and Families has been pursuing a policy of support for RE programs to improve couple relationships and family stability. The mixed results so far call for more research. That’s why I have been anxiously awaiting the results of the Parents and Children Together evaluation study, another rigorous test of the effectiveness of RE. Good news! This study found positive effects on a range of important outcomes. Continue reading “Important, Rigorous Government Study Finds Positive Impacts of RE Programs”

Relationship Education Can Reduce the Effects of Anger/Stress on Marital Conflict

by Alan J. Hawkins

The Bottom-line First: Relationship education program designers have long thought that it was important to help couples better understand and recognize their daily stresses and moods and then give them tools to prevent stresses and negative moods from igniting conflicts or turning small-disagreement mole hills into relationship-harming mountains. An important, recent study with lower income couples now documents that participation in RE can reduce the tendency for stresses and negative moods to turn disagreements into severe conflicts. Continue reading “Relationship Education Can Reduce the Effects of Anger/Stress on Marital Conflict”

“Survey Says”… The Effectiveness of Program Satisfaction and Learning Questionnaires at Predicting Later Marital Quality

by Jennifer Griffith

The Bottom-line First: If program administrators don’t have the resources to do a rigorous, long-term evaluation of the impact of their relationship education programs, what other options do they have to document program effectiveness? As it turns out, recent research suggests that simple post-program surveys of participants’ reports of learning and intent to change are pretty good predictors of relationship outcomes down the road. Continue reading ““Survey Says”… The Effectiveness of Program Satisfaction and Learning Questionnaires at Predicting Later Marital Quality”

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”