ERIC Number: ED471972
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Oct-25
Reference Count: N/A
Marriage and Welfare Reform: The Overwhelming Evidence That Marriage Education Works. The Heritage Foundation Backgrounder.
Fagan, Patrick F.; Patterson, Robert W.; Rector, Robert E.
The erosion of marriage has caused enormous difficulties for children, parents, and society. Compared to children born within marriage, those born outside of marriage are overwhelmingly more likely to live in poverty, depend on welfare, and have behavior problems. They also may suffer depression and physical abuse, fail in school, abuse drugs, and end up in jail. In response, the 1996 welfare reform law set a national goal to help increase and strengthen two-parent families, offering programs to teach relationship skills to unmarried couples at time of pregnancy and marriage skills to low-income married couples. Evidence from 29 peer-reviewed social science journal articles indicated that marriage education, training, and counseling programs significantly strengthened marriage. Results show that the average couple participating in a marriage enhancement program is better off than more than two-thirds of nonparticipating couples, making advances in communication skills, marital satisfaction, and other relationship qualities. Premarital inventory questionnaires and counseling appear effective in preventing marital distress. Results indicate that marriage programs are effective and can help marriages thrive when couples, irrespective of socioeconomic class, learn the skills to make their relationship work. An appendix presents information on understanding effect size and meta-analysis. (Contains 29 references.) (SM)
Descriptors: Family Life, Federal Legislation, Interpersonal Relationship, Marital Status, Marriage Counseling, Parenting Skills, Welfare Reform
Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Washington, DC 20002-4999. Tel: 202-546-4400; Web site: http://www.heritage.org/research/welfare/gb1606.cfm.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act