Understanding Social Perceptions of Premarital Preparation Participation

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Squires, Sarah
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This capstone project examines how the social perception of premarital preparation may impact the participation of contemporary couples. Premarital preparation, known as premarital counselling or education, has been well established as a preventative and effective intervention for couples to learn skills and address problems to improve marital satisfaction and stability. However, participation rates in premarital preparation remain low with rising divorce rates. Contributing factors may be a widespread decrease in religiosity among young adults, with most premarital preparation taking place in religious settings, as well as the rising norm of premarital cohabitation and later marital age. Factors that may influence the social perception of premarital preparation and subsequent participation are highlighted in this paper to provide context for recommendations to improve the content and engagement in premarital preparation. These primary studies demonstrate that the Health Belief Model is a useful framework for conceptualizing how preventative couples' help-seeking behaviors, such as premarital preparation, are perceived in sociodemographic factors, perceived threats, and perceived expectations. This project's findings suggest that low participation may be a product of couples perceiving little benefit with many barriers. This information allows service providers to adjust their facilitation and promotion of services to be perceived more positively and relevant to contemporary couples. Clinicians are encouraged to take a more active role in marketing premarital preparation and seek more specialized and evidence-based training to improve the efficacy of programs.
premarital preparation , premarital counselling , premarital education , social perception , couples' help-seeking , health belief model , couples' therapy , contemporary couples
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess