Family Relations


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A.     Gardner, S. P., & Boellaard, R. (2007). Does Youth Relationship Education Continue to Work After a High School Class? A Longitudinal Study, Family Relations, Vol 56, 490-500. National Council of Family Relations

B.     Summary

1.      Previous research studies by Amato (2005) indicate that adults, children and the society are affected negatively by divorce and marital distress. Moreover, there are indications that it is more effective to prevent than attempting to correct situations once they have occurred. Marital distress and divorce can effectively be prevented through prevention efforts like marriage preparation programs. According to Gardner and Howlett (2000), placing a lot of efforts on teaching relationship and marriage skills to youth while they are still studying has numerous advantages. Family interactions early in life mould relationship behavior and attitudes. A good example proposed by Coughlin and Vuchinich (1996) is the way adolescents acquire the knowledge of communication styles from their parents. The essence of self-efficacy in shaping future behaviors has also been pointed out.

2.      Evaluating the effectiveness of the relationship and marriage curriculum up to four years after the class was taught is the key objective of this research study. The first hypothesis formulated is that there is a continual impacting effect on the variables shown in the previous studies to be impacted by the curriculum. The second hypothesis states that the curriculum longitudinally impacts objective outcomes such as premarital sex and premarital pregnancy. The final hypothesis is that some measures could show an impact during the follow-up period and not the pretest period.

3.      a.) Data was collected from 150 young people who were participants in evaluation studies during their high school period.

b.) Data was collected in form of questionnaire response from the participants.

4. The findings of the study indicated that the variables impacted by the connections   curriculum faded after some time. The variables include intentions and attitudes towards marriage, marriage preparations and divorce. Relationship and violence variable did not show significance differences between the groups following follow-up. Moreover, it was observed that students could have knowledge of healthy conflict resolution and tactics as they begin developing relationships that are more serious at ages of 18 and early 20s. There are some skills learnt in addition to conflict resolution and communication skills from the connection curriculum. These skills enable students to avoid violence through differentiating healthy relationships from the unhealthy ones. Finally, there was a finding that the long term effect of the connection curriculum was building self-esteem.

C. Reaction

1. (a) The findings imply that human services workers need to implement marriage and relationships curriculum for the youth as this will help in promoting self-awareness and self-esteem. Moreover, this will enable the youth to have the ability to differentiate healthy from unhealthy relationships in order to avoid violence.

(b) The findings imply that families especially parents have the responsibility of shaping the behavior and attitudes of their children from an early age. This is what determines the future relationships the children would have and their reaction to violence.

2. The findings of this research study seem valid since it is clear that students who gain knowledge of healthy marriages and relationships as part of their learning curriculum end up making logical decisions in future. Moreover, majority of them attain various skills such as conflict resolution skills that are fundamental in building healthy relationships and marriages.

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