The effects of two marriage enrichment retreat models on marital satisfaction
Strickland, James Hassler
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As partially evidenced by the current divorce rate and violence in the home, the quality and stability of marriage in the United States appears to be on a continuing decline. The resulting broken and disturbed homes have an adverse effect on the children involved. In an effort to increase marital quality, and thus slow down this trend, the marriage enrichment movement was introduced to this country in the early 1960's. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of two marriage enrichment retreat models on marital satisfaction and communication. During February to September, 1981, five marriage enrichment retreats were conducted for Southern Baptist churches in Idaho, New Mexico, and Texas. Seventeen of the couples involved attended retreats using a Social Exchange Model, specially designed for this study. The same number participated in Basic Model retreats. This model is currently in use by the Family Ministry Department of the Southern Baptist Convention. The remaining 21 couples who participated in the study were members of a Control Group and did not attend a retreat. At the beginning and ending of each retreat, and six weeks later, the participants completed the Dyadic Adjustment Scale and the Marital Communication Inventory. A similar time frame was followed in securing these instruments from members of the Control Group. An analysis of the data revealed a significant treatment effect at both posttest and follow-up assessments. Those who participated in the retreats showed a greater change from pretest to later tests, with the Social Exchange Model producing the greatest change. The effects of sex, age, length of marriage, and marital developmental stage of the subjects were also studied. Age and length of marriage produced significant effects, but sex and developmental stage did not.