Research Predicting Divorce and Marital Satisfaction

Predicting Marital Success based on Couple Types - 1996  (click here)

Blaine J. Fowers, Kelly H. Montel & David H. Olson (1996)

Recent studies have shown that group differences in marital stability and satisfaction can be predicted based on premarital relationship quality. There is also a growing literature indicating that there are distinct types of relationships, both premaritally and developmentally over time. This study examined the relationship between the four premarital types (Vitalized, Harmonious, Traditional, and Conflicted) identified by Fowers and Olson (1992) and relationship outcome over a 3-year period with 393 couples. A substantial relationship was found, with conflicted couples being the most likely to separate or divorce. Vitalized couples had the highest levels of satisfaction, followed by Harmonious, Traditional, and Conflicted couples. Traditional couples were less likely to have divorced than Harmonious couples, even though Harmonious couples had higher premarital relationship satisfaction scores.

Reference: Journal of Marital & Family Therapy, 1996 Vol. 22, No. 1, 103-111

 
 

Predicting Marital Satisfaction with PREPARE: A Replication - 1989  (click here)

Andrea S. Larsen & David H. Olson (1989)

This study clearly replicated the previous findings which demonstrated the predictive validity of PREPARE. Like the previous study, this longitudinal study was a 3-year follow-up of 179 couples who took PREPARE during their engagement. As in the initial longitudinal study, PREPARE predicted, with about 80% accuracy, couples who got divorced from those that were happily married. Also, the same linear trend in PREPARE scores was found (highest to lowest scores): happily married, unhappily married, cancelled/delayed marriage, and separated/divorced. This study further indicates the importance of the premarital period as the foundation for marriage and the ability of PREPARE to identify high-risk premarital couples who could benefit from premarital counseling. Premarital counseling could potentially help these high risk couples develop a more satisfying marriage.

Reference: Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 1989, Vol. 15, No. 3, 311-322

 
 

ENRICH Marital Inventory: Discriminate Validity Study - 1989  (click here) 

Blaine J. Fowers & David H. Olson - 1989  (click here)

To assess the validity and clinical utility of the marital inventory ENRICH, a discriminant validity study was conducted using a national sample of 5039 married couples. The sample was randomly split in order to form a cross-validation group. ENRICH is a multidimensional scale and two types of analysis were conducted to assess the value of these various scales. Results from discriminant analysis indicated that using either the individual scores or couples’ scores, happily married couples could be discriminated from unhappily married couples with 85-95% accuracy. These results were cross-validated with a second sample. Using regression analysis, it was clearly demonstrated that background factors account for little of the variance in discriminating happy from unhappily married couples compared to their relationship dynamics, i.e., scale scores. All ENRICH scales except equalitarian roles proved significant, indicating the validity of a multidimensional inventory.

Reference: Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 1989, Vol. 15, No. 1, 65-79

 
 

Predicting Marital Success with PREPARE: A Predictive Validity Study  - 1986  (click here)

Blaine J. Fowers & David H. Olson - 1986  (click here)

In order to determine the predictive validity of the premarital inventory PREPARE, this study assessed the utility of PREPARE in predicting marital success. A 3-year follow-up study was conducted with 164 couples who took PREPARE during their engagement. As hypothesized, it was found that satisfied couples scored significantly higher on the inventory than dissatisfied couples, divorced couples, and couples who cancelled their marriage. It was also hypothesized and found that dissatisfied married couples did not differ significantly from couples who cancelled their marriage or those who divorced. Using discriminant analysis, it was found that the PREPARE scores from 3 months before marriage could predict with 80-90% accuracy which couples were separated and divorced from those that were happily married. These findings not only demonstrate the predictive validity of PREPARE, but its potential utility in identifying high-risk couples who could benefit from more intensive premarital counseling.

Reference: Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 1986, Vol. 12, No. 4, 403-413


 

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Once your church or community has a trained and certified PREPARE/ENRICH professional, you might consider establishing a Marriage Mentor Program to help premarital couples get more preparation or married couples get the assistance they need for healthier relationships.

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