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 ==========Types of Premarital Education Programs========== ==========Types of Premarital Education Programs==========
  
-//Synthesis Paper//: [[http://​www.heritage.org/​research/​reports/​2002/​10/​marriage-and-welfare-reform|Marriage and Welfare Reform: The Overwhelming Evidence that Marriage Education Works]] +Among the various types of [[effectiveness_of_marriage_education_programs|marriage programs]], the most basic and perhaps most common form occurs before marriage. Unlike "​intervention"​ programs or therapy that deals with troubled marriages, ​[[effectiveness_of_marital-skills_training|premarital programs]] focus on preventing marital distress by soliciting discussion of hidden assumptions about marriage and teaching couples communication and relationship skills before problems develop. Working primarily, although not exclusively,​ with engaged couples, these skills-based programs help prepare couples for the demands and stresses of married life.
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-Among the various types of marriage programs, the most basic and perhaps most common form occurs before marriage. Unlike "​intervention"​ programs or therapy that deals with troubled marriages, premarital programs focus on preventing marital distress by soliciting discussion of hidden assumptions about marriage and teaching couples communication and relationship skills before problems develop. Working primarily, although not exclusively,​ with engaged couples, these skills-based programs help prepare couples for the demands and stresses of married life.+
  
 Although clergy have traditionally provided this type of marital education, teachers, social workers, and counselors can also be effective. The assumption is that the earlier couples discuss issues and learn marriage skills, the fewer problems they will encounter. Although clergy have traditionally provided this type of marital education, teachers, social workers, and counselors can also be effective. The assumption is that the earlier couples discuss issues and learn marriage skills, the fewer problems they will encounter.
 +
  
 =====1. The Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program===== =====1. The Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program=====
  
-The most extensively researched program of this type, the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP), was initially developed by Howard Markman and Scott Stanley of the University of Denver more than 20 years ago.  PREP teaches skills that are necessary for a good marriage: effective communication,​ teamwork, problem solving, and conflict management, as well as preservation and enhancement of love, commitment, and friendship.+The most extensively researched program of this type, the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP), was initially developed by Howard Markman and Scott Stanley of the University of Denver more than 30 years ago.((See [[https://​www.prepinc.com/?​AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1]].)) ​PREP teaches skills that are necessary for a good marriage: effective communication,​ teamwork, problem-solving, and conflict management, as well as preservation and enhancement of love, commitment, and friendship.
  
-A longitudinal study in Denver ​that evaluated the effectiveness of prep found that, compared to couples without the training, couples that participated in PREP: +Studies ​that evaluated the effectiveness of PREP found that, compared to couples without the training, couples that participated in PREP:((Ryan, G. Carlson, Sejal M. Barden, Andrew P. Daire, and Jennifer Greene, "​Influence Of Relationship Education On Relationship Satisfaction For Low-Income Couples"​ //Journal Of Counseling & Development//​ 92, no. 4 (2014): 418-427. \\ H. J. Markman et al., "​Prevention of Marital Distress: A Longitudinal Investigation,"​ //Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology//​ 56, (1988): 210-217. \\ Howard J. Markman, Mari Jo Renick, Frank J. Floyd, Scott M. Stanley, and Mari Clements, "​Preventing Marital Distress Through Communication and Conflict Management Training: A Four and Five Year Follow-up,"​ //Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology//​ 62 (1993): 1-8. \\ Lindsey Einhorn, Tamara Williams, Scott Stanley, Nicole Wunderlin, Howard Markman, and Joanne Eason, "PREP Inside and Out: Marriage Education for Inmates,"​ //Family Process// ​ 47, no. 3 (2008): 341-56. \\ Jared R. Anderson, Sandra M. Stith, Matthew D. Johnson, Marjorie M. Stachman-Miller,​ Yvonne Amanor-Boadu,​ and David J. Linkh, "​Multi-Couple Group And Self-Directed PREP Formats Enhance Relationship Satisfaction And Improve Anger Management Skills In Air Force Couples,"​ //American Journal Of Family Therapy// 41, no. 2 (2013): 121-133.)) 
 +  * Reported higher relationship satisfaction levels (especially among low-income and minority groups);
   * Maintained higher levels of relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction and lower problem intensity three years after training; ​   * Maintained higher levels of relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction and lower problem intensity three years after training; ​
-  * Demonstrated significantly greater communication skills, less negative communication patterns, and greater conflict-management skills up to 12 years after instruction; ​and  +  * Demonstrated significantly greater communication skills, less negative communication patterns, and greater conflict-management skills up to 12 years after instruction;​  
-  * Reported fewer instances of physical violence with their spouses three to five years after training. +  * Reported fewer instances of physical violence with their spouses three to five years after training; 
-  *  +  * Believed they had received training that would help make their marriage work;  
-These positive results speak volumes, as the lack of such patterns has been strongly correlated with marital distress, violence, and marital breakup. ​ They also explain why couples enrolled ​in PREP faced statistically significant lower chance ​of premarital breakup four to five years later. Such positive results are not limited to the United States and have been confirmed by studies ​in Austria and Germany+  ​* Disclosed that they were willing to invest more time in their relationship as result ​of participating in the program;  
 +  * Experienced improvement ​in anger management skills
  
-Contributing to the success ​of premarital education programs like prep is the use of assessment questionnaires that help couples discover the extent to which they agree on issues ​of marriagechildren, and life in general. Such testing helps to identify potential areas of conflict so that a couple becomes sensitive to their vulnerabilities ​and can initiate corrective actionincluding skills trainingSome instruments are so sophisticated that they can predictbefore a couple marrieswhether the two will stay together after marriageThese programs may be particularly helpful to non-married expectant mothers, a majority ​of whom say they are interested ​in marrying the father-to-be and believe they have very good chance ​of doing so+These [[effectiveness_of_marriage_education_programs|positive results speak volumes]], as the lack of such patterns has been strongly correlated with marital distress, violence, and marital breakup.((H. J. Markman et al., "​Prevention ​of Marital Distress: A Longitudinal Investigation,"​ //​Journal ​of Consulting and Clinical Psychology//​ 56(1988): 210-217, and "​Preventing Marital Distress Through Communication and Conflict Management Training: A Four and Five Year Follow-up,"​ //Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology//​ 62 (1993): 1-8.)) They also explain why couples enrolled ​in PREP faced a statistically significant lower chance of premarital breakup four to five years later. Such positive results are not limited ​to the United States ​and have been confirmed by studies in Austria and Germany.((B. Silliman et al., "​Preventive Interventions for Couples," edH. Liddle et al. //Family Psychology: Science-Based Interventions//​(WashingtonD.C.: APA Publications,​ 2001), 123-146; K. Hahlweg et al."​Prevention of Marital Distress: Results of German Prospective Longitudinal Study,"​ //​Journal ​of Family Psychology//​ 12, (1998): 543-556; and K. Halford, "Can Skills Training Prevent Relationship Problems ​in At-Risk Couples? Four-Year Effects of Behavioral Relationship Education Program,"​ //​Journal ​of Family Psychology//​ 15, (2001): 750-768.))
  
-Three major instruments--PREmarital Preparation And Relationship Enhancement (prepare); Facilitating Open Couple CommunicationUnderstanding, and Study (foccus); ​and RELATionship Evaluation (RELATE)--have achieved robust scientific validity. According ​to Professor Thomas Holman ​of Brigham Young University:+Contributing to the success of premarital education programs like PREP is the use of assessment questionnaires that help couples discover the extent to which they agree on issues of marriagechildren, and life in general. Such testing helps to identify potential areas of conflict so that a couple becomes sensitive to their vulnerabilities ​and can initiate corrective action, including skills training. Some instruments are so sophisticated that they can predict, before a couple marries, whether the two will stay together after marriage. These programs may be particularly helpful to non-married [[demographics_of_non-married_parents|expectant mothers]], a majority of whom say they are interested in marrying the father-to-be and believe they have a very good chance ​of doing so.((Sara McLanahan et al., //The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study Baseline Reportthe National Report//, Princeton University Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, August 2001.)) ​
  
->Each of these assessment tools has solid evidence for validityreliabilitycomprehensiveness,​ ease in administration ​and scoring, ​and practicalityUsing these questionnaires as part of premarital counseling increases the couple'​s interest and investment in the process, provides a convenient and concise way to provide a couple with feedback on the strengths and weaknesses ​of their relationship,​ themselves as individuals,​ and their social context, and provides a way for couples to set goals for improvement before they marry. They are also all similar in that they assess about 90% of the premarital predictors of marital satisfaction and stability. ​+Three major instruments---PREmarital Preparation And Relationship Enhancement (PREPARE); Facilitating Open Couple CommunicationUnderstanding, and Study (FOCCUS); ​and RELATionship Evaluation (RELATE)---have achieved robust scientific validityAccording ​to Professor Thomas Holman ​of Brigham Young University:
  
-=====2. PREPARE Inventory=====+>Each of these assessment tools has solid evidence for validity, reliability,​ comprehensiveness,​ ease in administration and scoring, and practicalityUsing these questionnaires as part of premarital counseling increases the couple'​s interest and investment in the process, provides a convenient and concise way to provide a couple with feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of their relationship,​ themselves as individuals,​ and their social context, and provides a way for couples to set goals for improvement before they marry. They are also all similar in that they assess about 90% of the premarital predictors of marital satisfaction and stability.((Thomas B. Holman, //​Premarital Prediction of Marital Quality or Breakup// (New York: Kluwer Academic/​Plenum Publishers, 2001), 206.)) ​
  
-Prepare is a 195-item inventory that assesses relationship issues such as marital expectations,​ personality issues, communication,​ conflict resolution, financial management, sex, and parenting. According to how they answer the questions, couples are placed into four categories: vitalized, harmonious, traditional,​ and conflicted. The discussion that this assessment tool generates is a large part of its effectiveness. A 1996 study of 393 couples that examined the relationship between the four premarital types and their real-life outcomes after three years found that "​conflicted"​ couples were the most likely to separate or divorce and that "​vitalized"​ couples had the highest levels of satisfaction.+=====2. PREPARE Inventory=====
  
-Interestinglyabout 10 to 15 percent of couples ​that took prepare before their intended wedding decided not to marry. The scores for these couples ​were similar to those who did marry but later developed dissatisfied marriages.  ​This means that PREPARE ​can be very effective in helping ​couples to make informed marital choices ​and avoid troubled marriages and relationships.+PREPARE is a 195-item inventory that assesses relationship issues such as marital expectationspersonality issues, communication,​ conflict resolution, financial management, sex, and parenting. According ​to how they answer the questions, ​couples ​are placed into four categories: vitalized, harmonious, traditional,​ and conflicted. The discussion that this assessment tool generates is a large part of its effectiveness. PREPARE helps couples ​improve their relationshipsA 2003 study  showed ​that PREPARE ​significantly impacted 90% of participating ​couples. For example, 83% of the most conflicted relationship type moved to a more positive couple type. Overall, half of the couples moved to at least one level healthier couple type and 29% moved up two levels.((Luke Knutson, & David H. Olson, “Effectiveness of PREPARE Program with premarital couples in a community setting,” //Marriage & Family// 6, no. 4 (2003): 529-546.))
  
-PREPARE also helps couples improve their relationships. A study conducted ​this year documents the effectiveness of premarital inventory questionnaires accompanied by feedback sessions in preventing marital distress. This approach yielded a 52 percent increase in the number of couples classified as "most satisfied"​ with their relationship. Among the remaining couples, more than half improved their assessment of their relationship. Even among the highest-risk couples, more than 80 percent moved up into a more positive category. ​+PREPARE also helps couples improve their relationships. A study conducted ​in 2003 documents the effectiveness of premarital inventory questionnaires accompanied by feedback sessions in preventing marital distress. This approach yielded a 52 percent increase in the number of couples classified as "most satisfied"​ with their relationship. Among the remaining couples, more than half improved their assessment of their relationship. Even among the highest-risk couples, more than 80 percent moved up into a more positive category.((Knutson et al., "​Effectiveness of the PREPARE Program with Premarital Couples,"​ //Journal Review// (2002).)) ​
  
 =====3. FOCCUS===== =====3. FOCCUS=====
  
-FOCCUS, an inventory similar to PREPARE but with a religious orientation,​ has demonstrated similar results. ​ A study of 677 adults who completed ​foccus between 1987 and 1993 and were interviewed eight years later found that more than 66 percent agreed that the assessment instrument program had been valuable in their lives. Respondents in the early years of marriage were most likely to judge the training as helpful; among those in the first year of marriage, 88 percent agreed that foccus ​was valuable. ​+FOCCUS, an inventory similar to PREPARE but with a [[effects_of_religious_practice_on_marriage|religious orientation]], has demonstrated similar results.((See [[http://​www.foccusinc.com/​]])) ​A study of 677 adults who completed ​FOCCUS ​were interviewed eight years later. and results showed ​that more than 66 percent agreed that the assessment instrument program had been valuable in their lives. Respondents in the early years of marriage were most likely to judge the training as helpful; among those in the first year of marriage, 88 percent agreed that FOCCUS ​was valuable.((Lee M. Williams and Lisa A. Riley, "An Empirical Approach to Designing Marriage Preparation Programs,"​ //American Journal of Family Therapy// 27, (1999): 271.)) ​
  
 =====4. RELATE===== =====4. RELATE=====
  
-A premarital inventory built upon the experience of older questionnaires, ​relate was developed by the Relationship Institute, a group of family professors, researchers,​ and educators. In contrast to prepare ​and foccus, this instrument solicits the respondent'​s perceptions of his partner, not just himself. It also has the benefit of providing direct feedback to the couple, not just to the professional. Studies have also documented the effectiveness of this tool in predicting marital satisfaction and stability. ​+A premarital inventory built upon the experience of older questionnaires, ​RELATE,((See [[http://​relateinstitute.com/​]])) ​was developed by the Relationship Institute, a group of family professors, researchers,​ and educators. In contrast to PREPARE ​and FOCCUS, this instrument solicits the respondent'​s perceptions of his partner, not just himself. It also has the benefit of providing direct feedback to the couple, not just to the professional. Studies have also documented the effectiveness of this tool in predicting marital satisfaction and stability.((D. M. Busby et al ., "​RELATE:​ Relationship Evaluation of the Individual, Family, and Cultural, and Couple Contexts,"​ //Family Relations// 50, (2001): 308-316. 
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 +This entry draws heavily from [[http://​www.heritage.org/​research/​reports/​2002/​10/​marriage-and-welfare-reform|Marriage and Welfare Reform: The Overwhelming Evidence that Marriage Education Works]].))