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Study Shows Value of Premarital Education Programs

Couples who attend premarital education programs experience on average a 30 percent increase in measures of marital strength, according to a review of 23 studies on the effectiveness of such programs.

Study coauthors Jason S. Carroll, ’96, of BYU and William J. Doherty of the University of Minnesota announced their findings in the feature article of the April issue of the journal Family Relations.

“After participating in these programs, couples reported or were observed to be better at resolving problems using effective communication styles, and on average, they reported higher levels of relationship quality,” says Carroll, a BYU assistant professor of marriage, family, and human development. “They feel a higher sense of partnership and report a higher level of adjustment to married life than couples who did not receive premarital education.”

Carroll and Doherty used statistical measurements to combine the effects noted by 23 studies spanning the past 30 years.

“The evidence indicates that premarital education is a good investment for couples who are serious about preparing for a lifelong marriage and not just a one-day wedding,” says Doherty.