A study released today by the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation found statistically significant, lasting improvements in marital satisfaction for men and women who completed a nine-hour relationship skills training program.
For the study, Amanda Falciglia and Rachel Schindler analyzed data on 747 participants in federally-funded PAIRS marriage education classes in South Florida. Falciglia and Schindler said the research showed positive changes among an ethnically and economically diverse population.
“This study demonstrates the lasting positive effects completing the PAIRS Essentials relationship education class have towards sustaining and improving relationship satisfaction. The results also show that PAIRS classes can produce lasting significant improvements, especially for couples who report the lowest levels of relationship satisfaction,” Falciglia and Schindler reported.
The researchers added that the results of the study offer a promising indication of how relationship education classes can improve levels of satisfaction at any stage of relationship.
“These findings offer encouragement for continued work in the area of relationship education as a way of strengthening couple and marital satisfaction, which ultimately will assist in reducing divorce rates and the number of children raised in single-parent homes,” they said.
In 2006, PAIRS Foundation received a five-year, multi-million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, to provide marriage education and relationship skills training classes for adults and high school teenagers in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. To date, over 5,000 adults have participated in free programs offered through area churches, schools and community organizations.
Seth Eisenberg, President of PAIRS Foundation, said the findings show the potential of relationship skills training in reducing health care costs, teen pregnancies, poverty, crime, and incarceration rates while boosting employment.
“Marital and family breakdown costs state and federal budgets billions annually,” Eisenberg said. “Short-term, the impact is felt through larger numbers of families seeking government assistance and added burdens on doctors and hospitals through illnesses exacerbated by the repercussions of divorce. Long-term, neighborhoods with higher rates of single-parent households require more policing, have higher school drop-out rates, increased teen pregnancy, and greater likelihood of incarceration. In many cases, investing hundreds of dollars in prevention can save hundreds of thousands in future tax-payer expenditures,” he said.
Eisenberg said that expanding relationship skills training in communities nationwide offers the potential for creating thousands of jobs. “Federal funding for relationship skills training in Florida created hundreds of jobs over the past four years,” Eisenberg said. “Increasing federal and state investments in evidence-based, skills training for premarital couples, couples contemplating divorce, returning veterans, adoptive families, families on government assistance, prison inmates, and teenagers will help employ thousands of educators across the country while saving billions as we reduce the rate and related taxpayer costs of marital and family breakdown.”
[Click here for a copy of the full report.]
PAIRS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is one of the nation’s oldest and leading providers of relationship skills training. For more information, visit www.pairs.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (877) PAIRS-4U (724 7748).
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Amanda Falciglia directs the PAIRS Foundation’s research team, including overseeing collection, follow-up and coordination of academic ana