Developing a Marriage Mentoring Program for Relationship Education Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
Creator
  • Gadol, Eric N.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Abstract
  • In response to high divorce rates and the negative effects of divorce, there has been a call for greater use of relationship education programs, which have been shown to be effective at reducing the risk for relationship dissatisfaction and dissolution. Until now, relationship education programs have been limited by the models of dissemination that have been employed; the current study explores a newer model of dissemination that could allow these programs to be brought to a greater number of couples: marriage mentoring. Nearly no research has examined this model, although manuals have been written describing marriage mentoring. The current study examines a program that draws from these manuals to train experienced couples with healthy relationships to serve as mentors for younger couples. These mentoring couples participate alongside the younger couples in an empirically-based relationship education program called Side by Side, and the current study investigates the changes that both the mentoring couples and the younger couples experienced over the course of their participation. The mentoring couples who participated in this program experienced negative changes in relationship satisfaction, communication patterns, and other important aspects of their relationship. The most negative changes in relationship satisfaction were seen among the mentoring couples who reported the highest levels of relationship satisfaction before participating, whereas those mentoring couples who reported lower levels of satisfaction before participating experienced positive changes over the course of the program. The younger couples generally experienced positive changes in relationship satisfaction, communication skills, and other important aspects of their relationship, although the women among the younger couples showed the clearest positive changes. These positive changes were strongest among the younger couples who reported positive experiences of their relationships with their mentoring couples. In comparisons with previous research on relationship education programs, the pattern of effect sizes for the men and women in the younger couples in this study are most comparable to a relationship education program delivered by university personnel and are not as positive as the same program delivered by leaders of religious organizations. These findings and implications for future implementations of the marriage mentoring model are discussed.
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  • Baucom, Donald
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  • Open access
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