Research on Effectiveness of Empowering Couples Program

Vince Arnold (2004)

This study represents the first experimental study to determine the effects of the Empowering Couples Program (ECP) in a weekend format. This randomized Pretest-Posttest Control Group study assigned 29 couples who volunteered to participate in a marriage enrichment retreat or a wait list control group. The ENRICH Inventory and Stages of Change Questionnaire (SOCQ) were used to measure before and after treatment effects.

Marital satisfaction increased for the couple and for the females. On the ENRICH scales, females increased their pre-post scores on 9 of the 13 scales, while males scores increased on only two scales, and couple scores increased on 6 of the 13 scales. Combined treatment groups showed gains in 46.6% of the domains. Effect size (ES) of these gains ranged from .16 to .95. Over one-third (36%) moved up one or more couple types, demonstrating increased couple satisfaction.

Couples reported very high levels of satisfaction with the program. Ninety percent of the couples that responded to a 4-month follow-up survey stated they would highly recommend the program to their friends.

Reference: Arnold, V. (2004). Empowering Couples for married couples, Marriage & Family Journal, 7(4), 237-253.


Ted Burleson (2004)

A pre-post study by Ted Burleson (2004) clearly demonstrated that the Empowering Couples Program can significantly improve the quality of a marriage. There were 43 married couples that participated in an Empowering Couples group program. On the 17 ENRICH Couple Scales, males significantly improved on 14 out of 17 scales, females improved on all 17 scales and the couples improved on all 13 areas containing couple scores.

Almost half (48%) of the couples moved up one or more couple types indicating increased couple satisfaction. All of the Vitalized couples stayed the same and all of the Harmonious couples moved to the Vitalized type. The traditional couples showed the least change. All of the highest risk couples, the Devitalized type, moved up one or more levels which shows overall improvement in their marriage.

The couples reported that they greatly enjoyed the Empowering Couples Program and all would recommend it to other couples.

Reference: Burleson, T. (2004). Facilitating Marriage using Empowering Couples Program. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Memphis, TN: Harding University.


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