Five-Year Study Documents the Positive Impact of Relationship and Marriage Education Programs in California

Impact Report cover 500San Diego, CA—June 19, 2013—A newly published study by Healthy Relationships California (HRC), a leader in the field of Relationship and Marriage Education (RME), provides evidence that RME is beneficial for couples and individuals across a spectrum of demographic characteristics, income levels, and relationship stages.

            Impact Report: Research on the Impact of Relationship and Marriage Education Programs in California is the product of the largest cross-site, cross-program study ever conducted on the impact of RME. “Having collected outcome data from thousands of participants in RME classes taught in California between 2007 and 2012, we now have empirical research that reveals just how great a positive impact these programs have on participants,” explains HRC President Patty Howell. The report’s key findings include:

  • Both men and women reported positive impacts from RME attendance, with nearly three-quarters (74%) of participants experiencing increases in problem-solving abilities.
  • Both unmarried and married participants reported positive impacts from RME attendance, and over half (52%) of highly distressed married participants experienced a significant decrease in relationship distress.
  • Across all income levels, participants experienced positive improvements after participating in RME, most notably in the lowest income bracket (under $15,000). Unmarried participants in this group increased their communication skills by 80%, while married participants from the lowest income bracket saw a 67% increase in these skills.
  • Participants from all ethnic groups reported positive impacts from RME attendance, experiencing a 20% or greater increase in relationship satisfaction, communication skills, and problem-solving skills.
  • The impact of RME on marital satisfaction endured, with 69% of participants satisfied with their marriage 6 months after the end of their RME course.

Impact Report line graph page 500As has been established by HRC’s previous research, these outcomes are achieved with relatively little expense, with each hour of HRC’s program delivery costing between $10 and $12 per participant. The combination of a cost-effective delivery and the far-reaching impact demonstrated in this report makes RME a practical strategy through which to nurture the familial and peer relationships that are the cornerstones of a healthy community. As Dr. Alan J. Hawkins notes in his foreword to the report, “[G]iven the public costs of family instability in society, policy makers should appreciate the potential of these services for improving the lives of children and adults and reducing the need for public assistance programs.”

To order or download the Impact Report, visit

HRC offers Relationship and Marriage Education courses through local partnering organizations across the state of California, and has served over 150,000 individuals in the past eight years. Classes are taught by trained facilitators and focus primarily on teaching couples and individuals communication and conflict-management skills. Classes are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean.


For media contact: Dyann Collins, TEL: 626.623.7036, EMAIL:

One Response to “Five-Year Study Documents the Positive Impact of Relationship and Marriage Education Programs in California”

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  1. Ken says:

    Exciting stuff!

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