The Science Behind Healthy Marriage


Research Briefs | Presentations | Publications
Principal Investigators: Adler-Baeder | Ketring | Smith



Relationship Quality and Depressed Affect Among a Diverse Sample of Relationally Unstable Relationship Education Participants

Bradford, A. B., Adler-Baeder, F., Ketring, S. A., Bub, K. L., Pittman, J. F., Smith, T. A. (2014). Relationship quality and depressed affect among a diverse sample of relationally unstable relationship education participants. Family Relations, 63, 2, 219-231.

Abstract: Using 250 ethnically diverse couples in community CRE classes, the authors found that relationally unstable participants of CRE report improvements in depressed affect and relationship quality after program participation. Additionally, decreased depressed affect predicted increased relationship quality, not vice versa, and there were no differences by sex.



Relationship Education for Stepcouples Reporting Relationship Instability --Evaluation of the Smart Steps: Embrace the Journey Curriculum

Lucier-Greer, M., Adler-Baeder, F., Harcourt, K. T., & Gregson, K. (2014). Relationship education for stepcouples reporting relationship instability –Evaluation of the Smart Steps: Embrace the Journey curriculum. Journal of Marital & Family Therapy, 1-16.

Abstract: This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Smart Steps: Embrace the Journey curriculum with 151 individuals in relationally less stable stepcouple relationships who either engaged in the Smart Steps curriculum (n = 97) or were part of the comparison group (n = 54). Results indicated that those who participated in Smart Steps reported significant increases in individual empowerment, couple quality, family harmony, and parenting efficacy while these measures were unchanged for those who did not receive the program.



Linking Changes in Couple Functioning and Parenting Among Couple Relationship Education Participants

Adler-Baeder, F., Calligas, A., Skuban, E., Keiley, M., Ketring, S., Smith, T. (2013). Linking changes in couple functioning and parenting among couple relationship education participants. Family Relations, 62, (2), 284-297.

Abstract: Utilizing a systems theory framework and empirical linkages between couple functioning and parenting, this study examined the extent to which several parenting dimensions change after CRE participation and, importantly, whether and how these changes are related to changes in dimensions of couple functioning. Positive changes were found in the parenting dimensions over time. In addition, levels of change in the couple domain were associated with levels of changes in the parenting domain over the same period of time.



Exploring Processes of Change in Couple Relationship Education: Predictors of Change in Relationship Quality

Rauer, A. J., Adler-Baeder, F., Lucier-Greer, M., Skuban, E. M., Ketring, S. A., Smith, T. (2014). Exploring processes of change in couple relationship education: Predictors of change in relationship quality. Journal of Family Psychology, 28, 1, 65-76.

Abstract: The current study drew upon assumptions from social–cognitive and behavioral theories that are implicit in CRE design to assess the influence of short-term changes from pre- to posttreatment in behaviors and commitment on changes in relationship quality among a racially and economically diverse group of CRE participants. Findings indicated that the best-fitting model for both men and women was one in which changes in behaviors predicted changes in relationship quality via their influence on changes in commitment.


The Role of Participant-Facilitator Demographic Match in Couple and Relationship Education

Bradford, A.B., Adler-Baeder, F.,. Ketring, S.A., and Smith, T.A. (in press). The role of Participant-facilitator demographic match in couple and relationship education. Family Relations.

Family RelationsAbstract: This study examines the relationship between participant-facilitator demographic match of ethnicity, sex, education, and relationship status on reported facilitator quality and program outcomes, as well as the relationship between facilitator quality and program outcomes. Results indicated that sex match was related to facilitator quality and that facilitator quality was related to program outcomes.

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Malleability of Gender Role Attitudes and Gendered Messages in Couple and Relationship Education

Lucier-Greer, M., Ketring, S., Adler-Baeder, F., Bradford, A., & Smith, T. (2012). Malleability of gender role attitudes and gendered messages in couple and relationship education. Family and Consumer Science Research Journal, 41, 4-17.

Abstract: This study examines whether and how couple and relationship education (CRE) influences gender role attitudes. This study found significant shifts in gender role attitudes reported by participants after engaging in CRE. Some shifts were more egalitarian; other shifts were more traditional.


Couple and Relationship Education: Does Curriculum Matter for Men?

Gregson, K., Adler-Baeder, F., Parham, R., Ketring, S., Smith, T. (2012). Couple and relationship education: Does curriculum matter for men? The Forum of Family and Consumer Issues, 17, (2).

Abstract: Differences in change patterns based on three specific couple and relationship education (CRE) curricula (Mastering the Mysteries of Love [MML], Together We Can [TWC], and Black Marriage Education [BME]) are examined among male participants. As a whole, men who participated in CRE demonstrated increases in targeted relational, individual, and parenting outcomes. Nevertheless, male participants in specific curricula showed differential change patterns.


Comparing the Experiences of Couples in First Marriage and Remarriages in Couple and Relationship Education

Lucier-Greer, M., Adler-Baeder, F., Ketring, S., Harcourt, K.T., Smith, T. (2012). Comparing the experiences of couples in first marriages and remarriages in couple and relationship education. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 53, 55-75.

Abstract: This study examines a diverse sample of married individuals in the context of couple and relationship education. Differences and similarities in participant well-being at baseline and overtime were examined among individuals in first marriages and various types of remarriages utilizing measures of individual, couple, and parental functioning. Results indicate that individuals in first marriages and those in different types of remarriages appear to report similar levels of marital functioning initially and appear to benefit similarly from CRE classes.


The Effects of Parent Participation in Relationship/Marriage Education on Coparenting and Children's Social Skills: Examining Rural Minorities' Experiences

Kirkland, C.L., Skuban, E., Adler-Baeder, F., Ketring, S.A., Smith, T., Bradford, A., & Lucier Greer, M. (in press). The effects of parent participation in relationship/marriage education on coparenting and children's social skills: Examining rural minorities' experiences. Early Childhood Research & Practice.

Early Childhood Research & PracticeAbstract: This research brief provides information on an ongoing novel study of Head Start parents and their children. Relationship education participants demonstrate better couple and co-parenting dynamics and relationship quality than the control participants in the area of co-parenting disagreements and reports of preschool children's social competence.

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Demographic Predictors of Relationship/Marriage Education Participants' Pre- and Post-Program Relational and Individual Functioning

Adler-Baeder, F., Bradford, A., Skuban, E., Lucier-Greer, M., Ketring, S., & Smith, T. (2010). Demographic predictors of relationship/marriage education participants' pre- and post-program relational and individual functioning. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 9(2), 113-132. doi: 10.1080/15332691003694885

Journal of Couple & Relationship TherapyAbstract: The current study examines whether race, income, marital status, and attendance status (i.e., attend with partner or singly) predicted baseline levels and change in a broad range of indicators of individual functioning, couple functioning, and confidence in one's relationship for men and women. Results indicated higher income was associated with higher entry levels in all three target areas, race predicted unique variance in individual functioning, and marital status and attendance status predicted unique variance in relational targets.

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Thriving in Stepfamilies: Exploring Competence and Wel-Being Among African American Youth in Nuclear and Stepfamilies

Adler-Baeder, F., Russell, C., Kerpelman, J., Pittman, J., Ketring, S., Smith, T., Lucier-Greer, M., Bradford, A., & Stringer, K. (2010). Thriving in stepfamilies: Exploring competence and well-being among African American youth in nuclear and stepfamilies. Journal of Adolescent Health, 46(4), 396-398. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.10.014

Journal of Adolescent HealthAbstract: Although scholars conclude that children/adolescents in two-parent nuclear families have an advantage over those in stepfamilies, emerging evidence indicates that the experiences of African American youths have been overshadowed. In three replicated studies, we detected no differences on several important and commonly assessed well-being and competence indicators among samples of African American youth in two-parent nuclear and stepfamilies.

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