Is Every Unhappy Family Unhappy in its Own Way?: Predicting Marital Distress among Low Income Couples

Meghan McCormick, Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC)
Isabelle Bollendorf, Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC)

Recent studies indicate that the most effective way to increase father involvement for diverse low-income populations may be to improve the quality of the inter-parental relationship through relationship education. However, little research has been done to characterize the low-income couples who are actively seeking relationship education, and it is thus difficult for program operators to modify existing services for specific populations, namely Hispanic and African-American couples. This study will explore which individual, family-level, and contextual factors are most powerful in driving marital distress for a large sample of low-income married couples seeking relationship education services. Then, it will characterize how Hispanic, African-American, and White families within that sample differ along those same dimensions, exploring variances in individual (age, employment, income, mental health), couple (relationship quality), and contextual (acute and chronic stressors, social support) characteristics. The study aims to inform practitioners on how they can best develop culturally inclusive programs for families.

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Presented in Poster Session 6