Date of Award

3-1994

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

Abstract

This study evaluated the short- and long-term effect of a cognitive-behavioral marriage enrichment program on perceived marital adjustment. The study examined the Traits of the Happy Couple marriage enrichment workshop (Halter, 1988). The workshop consisted of five 2-hour training sessions held in five consecutive weeks for a total of 10 hours of training. It seeks to increase the marital adjustment of participants through a combination of didactic and experiential methods. No prior controlled study of the effectiveness of this workshop has been done. Participants included 34 married couples who were predominately from conservative, evangelical churches in the Portland, Oregon, area. The study utilized a protest-posttest control-group design with random assignment of participant couples to a treatment group and a wait-list control group. The treatment group participated in the workshop while the control group did not receive any treatment. Marital adjustment was measured by the global score on the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS). Data was collected immediately prior to the marriage enrichment program, at the end of the workshop, .and six months after the marriage enrichment experience. A two-way ANCOVA vas used to evaluate the first three hypotheses which stated that couples, men, and women, respectively, who participated in the workshop would report a significant increase in their level of marital adjustment at the posttest. A repeated measures ANOVA was utilized to assess the last three hypotheses that the reported level of marital adjustment of couples, men, and women, respectively, from the treatment group would also be significantly higher at the six month follow-up test than at the pretest. The marriage enrichment workshop had a significant positive effect on marital adjustment. Couples, men, and women participating in the workshop had significantly higher levels of reported marital adjustment at its conclusion than those who did not. In addition, couples and men taking part in the workshop reported significantly higher marital adjustment at the six month follow-up test as compared to the pretest. While the Women in the treatment group reported gains in their marital adjustment at the follow-up test compared to the pretest, these changes ware not significant. No significant gender differences ill marital adjustment were found for the combined groups at the pretest or posttest. The large treatment effect size both at the posttest and the follow-up suggest that the intervention is a powerful enrichment program. The observed changes appear consistent with the general objectives of marriage enrichment in enhancing marital adjustment. These results suggest the potential usefulness of this workshop in enriching the marital relationships of conservative, evangelical couples. The findings of Noval, Combs, Wiinamaki, and Bufford (1993) suggest a variety of church and community groups are likely to experience similar benefits from this enrichment program.

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