Changes in couple, parenting, and individual functioning following Family Expectations program participation

Allen W. Barton, Qiujie Gong, Scott M. Stanley, Galena K. Rhoades

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study investigated changes in couple, parenting, and individual functioning following participation in Family Expectations, a relationship and parenting education program for new or expectant parents. The sample comprised 339 couples who participated in most sessions of the Family Expectations program and completed assessments at three different time points over a 12-month period. Study analyses examined: (a) change shortly following completion of the program, (b) associations between short-term change and subsequent change in outcomes at 12-month follow-up, and (c) differences in short-term change between married and unmarried couples. Significant improvements were observed in all three domains at short-term follow-up. Short-term changes, particularly for psychological distress, were predictive of long-term change in multiple domains. Few moderation effects by marital status were evident; those that appeared suggested stronger effects for married participants compared to unmarried. Study findings inform ongoing discussions into the utility of federally-funded relationship and parenting programming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-185
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • couples
  • family expectations
  • marriage
  • parenting
  • program
  • relationship education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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