Based on research by Ronald D. Rogge, R. J. Cobb., E. Lawrence, M. D. Johnson & T. N. Bradbury written by Mara Rowcliffe, BS
How can we cut divorce rates and help couples be happier?
Dr. Ronald Rogge’s psychology research team examined whether skills training can reduce marital dissolution. They evaluated and randomly assigned 174 engaged and newly wed couples to one of four groups. Two of the groups attended 60-hours of skill training. Group 1 learned how to manage conflict and problem solve. Group 2 learned skills related to acceptance, empathy, and support. Group 3 had relationship training. For four weeks they watched a movie, answering questions about film couple relationships. Group 4 received no intervention.
Results revealed that 24% of the couples that did not participate in any intervention ended their relationship within three years. All three intervention groups divorced only 11%.. Low-dose, low-cost interventions like watching and thinking about films of couples interacting may open new avenues for couples to have more fulfilling and enduring relationships. A key ingredient appears to become aware of interactions in relationships and what behaviors are constructive.
Enhance your relationship. Go to the movies! With your partner, analyze and discuss the film’s couple’s relationship, comparing your relationship with theirs. Spot the conflicts and their helpful interactions. Did they understand, listen, express feelings, apologize, and empathize well?
Rogge, R. D., Cobb, R. J., Lawrence, E., Johnson, M. D., & Bradbury, T. N. (2013). Is skills training necessary for the primary prevention of marital distress and dissolution? A 3-year experimental study of three interventions. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 81(6), 949.
Online guide, list of movies and opportunity to even participate in research:
University of Rochester’s Relationship Questions: