A US survey of relationship quality contained two questions on whether married respondents (or previously married respondents) obtained premarital education. Almost 2,000 respondents were asked, “Did you and your current spouse have premarital preparation, such as educational classes, a workshop, or counseling designed to help you get a good start in marriage?” (Stanley, S., Amato, P., Johnson, C., & Markman, H., 2006).
The analyses showed that participation in premarital education is associated with…
- higher levels of marital satisfaction
- lower levels of destructive conflicts
- higher levels of interpersonal commitment to spouses
- a 31% decrease in the odds of divorce
The study also reports that there is no evidence of any adverse effects of participation in premarital education among particular subgroups in the US population, since…
- there is no evidence of any difference in benefits for men and women from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
- economically disadvantaged men and women derived benefits comparable with those among more advantaged individuals.
- people with lower levels of education were just as likely as anyone else to benefit from premarital education with respect to marital satisfaction, conflict, and interpersonal commitment. However, with respect to lower likelihood of divorce, those without a high school education were unlikely to benefit.
The authors commented in closing that “…these findings suggest that beneficial effects of premarital education are relatively constant throughout the married population. Yet, expanding premarital education opportunities to those who are in poverty or who are less educated will present some challenges”.
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References: Stanley, S., Amato, P., Johnson, C., & Markman, H. Premarital Education, Marital Quality, and Marital Stability: Findings From a Large, Random Household Survey. Journal of Family Psychology, 2006, 20, pp 117–126