We present a comprehensive, meta-analytic review and critical evaluation of outcome research pertaining to the effectiveness of premarital prevention programs. Results revealed that the mean effect size for premarital programs was .80, which means that the average person who participated in a premarital prevention program was significantly better off afterwards than 79% of people who did not participate. Stated differently, the average participant in a premarital program tends to experience about a 30% increase in measures of outcome success. Our findings suggest that premarital prevention programs are generally effective in producing immediate and short-term gains in interpersonal skills and overall relationship quality and that these improvements are significantly better than nonintervention couples in these areas. However, because of a lack of extended follow-up research, conclusions about long-term effectiveness remain elusive. We propose implications for future research, education, and policy.
- Outcome research