Psychology of Religion and Spirituality

Journal of Psychology and Theology, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

Psychology of Religion and Spirituality


Beach, S.H.R., Hurt, T.R., Fincham, F.D., Franklin, K.J., McNair, L.M., and Stanley, S.M.

Enhancing Marital Enrichment Through Spirituality: Efficacy Data for Prayer Focused Relationship Enhancement

Vol. 3, 201-216 (2011)

African Americans have been found to have a higher divorce rate when compared to Whites, yet little research has been done in order to investigate culturally sensitive programs that may be effective in enhancing marriage within this population. African Americans have been shown to be more religious than their White counterparts, therefore, Beach et al. (2011) set out to implement an intervention approach called Christian Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) for African American couples in a church setting. Authors examined whether a PREP intervention was effective at improving marital outcomes.

Participants were randomly assigned to a Culturally Sensitive PREP (CS-PREP), a Prayer Focused PREP (PFP), or a control group. CS-PREP included 3 days of communication skills and problem solving training. PFP included the same components as CS-PREP but included prayer, encouragement to pray for his or her spouse, and discussions on prayer. Both intervention conditions utilized multiple video series, gender-specific fellowship time, and time to practice the skills learned. Outcome measures included communication, marital satisfaction, and positive intentions to act positively toward his or her partner. These were computed into an overall marital outcome score. Authors used a 3(group) x 4(time of assessment) x 2(gender) mixed-model repeated factors analysis of variance to examine the change across time.

Couples (N = 393) in this study had been married on average for 9.7 years, had an average of 1.65 children at home, and the majority (N = 293) were in their first marriage. Results showed that there was an improvement in marital outcomes over time F(2.89,1127) = 8.17, p < .001. …

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