Page Patten

Katie McKeon

Sandy Escobar

Ana Moraga

 

A review of three premarital assessment questionnaires

           

            Premarital assessments are of importance since divorce rates continue to increase in the US. Three premarital assessment questionnaires were evaluated. The PREmarital Preparation and Relationship Enhancement questionnaire (PREPARE), Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study questionnaire (FOCCUS), and the RELATionship Evaluation questionnaire (RELATE) were reviewed.

PREPARE has 195 items in 20 scales. There are 4 personality scales, 15 relationship scales, and 1 idealistic distortion scale. The Idealistic distortion is used to correct social desirability and the personality scales are used to help the counselor understand the individuals in the relationship. Another form is available, PREPARE-MC, for those relationships that involve children. In PREPARE there are four types of premarital couples: vitalized, which has greatest martial satisfaction, harmonious, traditional, and conflicted, which has highest divorce rate. Intervention is recommend for the couples that are classified as conflicted. Results come in a 15-page computer report received by the counselor. The counselor is used to help discuss the results. PREPARE has multiple strengths. It is short, has extensive analysis, and easy to administer and interpret.  “PREPARE has multiple measures of reliability and validity” (Larson, Newell, Topham, & Nichols, pp 236). It also comes in multiple languages. However, there are also concerns with PREPARE. It does not measure three factors that predict marital satisfaction: parental mental illness, similarity of intelligence, and similarity of absolute status. Absolute status is the “overall similarity of the partners based on age, socioeconomic status, intelligence, religion, and race” (Larson, Newell, Topham, & Nichols, pp 234). PREPARE is also the most expensive of the three assessments.

 

FOCCUS contains156 items in 19 scales with an optional 33 items for interfaith couples, cohabiting couples, and couples in which one or both partners are remarrying. It is widely used by Catholics and Protestant churches as well as nondenominational counseling services. “It was designed to reflect the values and ideals of marriage as sacred, including issues of permanency, fidelity, openness to children, forgiveness, shared faith in God and unconditional love” (Larson, Newell, Topham, & Nichols, pp 236). It can be given to individual couples or group of couples. The results show where both partners responded the same and the ideal response in which the author feels is the best for the couple.  Results also show where the couples did not respond the same and state problem indicators. FOCCUS strengths are that it contains several different versions for those that do not speak English or have problems reading. It can be scored 3 ways: by computer, by hand, or by PC program. Another strength is that the problem areas in the relationship are listed on one scale. The concerns are that it does not measure the three factors that predict marital satisfaction and that validity for the ideal response is unknown.

            RELATE has 271 items and an Internet version as well. The results are listed in a 19 page, self-interpreted computer printout with 3 sections. It can be sent to a counselor or to the couples themselves. The first section shows how the partner rated the other and themselves in the personality area. The second section compares them on general values and attitudes. The last section compares family background experiences. The strengths are that no counselor is needed to interpret the results. Two of the three premarital instruments are presented.  It is the easiest of the three to interpret and to use in a large group or educational setting. It is also the cheapest and most comprehensive and only one available on the Internet.

            Recommendations are stated to determine which premarital assessment to use. First, couples need to decided on their priorities whether it is cost, length of test, etc. RELATE should be used for couples that do not want to see a counselor or have limited economic funds. FOCCUS should be used for couples that also have financial problems and wish to see a counselor. PREPARE should be used for couples that want structured exercises.  Premarital assessments are not for prediction purposes but rather as a guide that informs the couples which areas or the relationship needs work.

 

 

 

 

 

Larson, J. H., Newell, K., Topham, G., & Nichols, S. (2002). A review of three comprehensive premarital assessment questionnaires. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 28, 233-249.

 

 


A review of three comprehensive premarital assessment questionnaires

By Jeffery H Larson, Kenneth Newell, Glade Topham, ands Sheldon Nichols

 

u    Premarital assessments has became of importance since divorce rates continue to increase in the US.

u    Premarital assessments are not for prediction purposes but rather as a guide that informs the couples which areas or the relationship needs work.

u                Three premarital assessments were evaluated:

 

PREPARE - PREmarital Preparation and Relationship Enhancement questionnaire

?    195 items in 20 scales (4 personality, 15 relationship, and 1 idealistic distortion scale)

? Idealistic distortion is used to correct social desirability

? Personality scales are used to help the counselor understand the individuals in the relationship

?    Four types of premarital couples

? Vitalized - has greatest martial satisfaction

? Harmonious

? Traditional

? Conflicted - has highest divorce rate, intervention is recommended

?    Strengths:

? Short

? Extensive analysis

? Easy to administer and interpret

? “Has multiple measures of reliability and validity” (Larson, Newell, Topham, & Nichols, pp 236)

? Multiple languages

?    Concerns:

? Does not measure three factors that predict marital satisfaction:

? Parental mental illness

? Similarity of intelligence

? Similarity of absolute status :

?    “Overall similarity of the partners based on age, socioeconomic status, intelligence, religion, and race” (Larson, Newell, Topham, & Nichols, pp 234).

? Most expensive of the three assessments

??   should be used for couples that want structured exercises

 

FOCCUS - Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study questionnaire

?    156 items with an optional 33 items for interfaith couples, cohabiting couples, and couples in which one or both partners are remarrying.

?    Widely used by Catholics and Protestant churches as well as nondenominational counseling services.

?    Strengths:

? Contains several different versions for those that do not speak English or have problems reading

? Can be scored 3 ways

? Computer

? Hand

? Or PC program

? Problem areas in the relationship are listed on one scale

?    Concerns:

? Also does not measure the three factors that predict marital satisfaction

? Validity for preferred response is unknown

??   should be used for couples that have financial problems and wish to see a    counselor

 

RELATE - RELATionship Evaluation questionnaire

?    has 271 items and an Internet version as well

?    Strengths:

? Two of the three premarital instruments are presented

? Easiest of the three to interpret and to use in a large group or educational setting

? Cheapest and most comprehensive

? Only one available on the internet

?    Concerns

? It does not measure the other third premarital instrument

??         should be used for couples that do not want to see a counselor or have limited   economic funds