SAN DIEGO, March 13 (UPI) -- A study of more than a dozen different marriage education classes showed the programs help couples improve communication, U.S. researchers said.
Dennis Stoica, president of Healthy Relationships California, said the survey looked at 17,245 Californians who took one of several programs available for couples. The classes range in length from 8 hours to 24 hours.
Stoica found a statewide average increase of more than 13 percent in relationship satisfaction was reported immediately after couples took a marriage education course. The improvement increased to 16 percent after 30 days, and was measured at 14 percent when measured six months later.
Participants reported a 23 percent improvement in their communication, increasing to 27 percent after 30 days and remaining at that level six months later, Stoica said.
These results are considered significant because:
-- They include couples with severe marital problems who are relatively "resistant" to change, as well as happy couples who have relatively little room for improvement.
-- The results reflect a widely diverse group of participants, from all ages and socioeconomic levels, and with more than 50 percent taking the class in a language other than English.
-- The study measures the impact of more than a dozen different marriage education curricula.
Classes are taught by facilitators trained in a variety of skills-based Relationship and Marriage Education curricula that focus primarily on teaching couples and individuals communication and conflict management skills.