Evaluating Relationship Support Interventions

Relationship Support – a shift in thinking

The investment by the current Government of £30 million for relationship support interventions denotes a shift in thinking from improving the parent-child relationship towards supporting the parents’ own relationship. The Department for Education set up a consortium including Qa Research to evaluate three different relationship support interventions.

Evaluating Relationship support interventions

Relationship support interventions chosen for evaluation were:

  • Marriage preparation – a one-day course delivered by Marriage Care
  • Let’s Stick Together – a brief relationship education session delivered to first time parents
  • Couple counselling –  delivered by Relate, Marriage Care, The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships and the Asian Family Counselling Service.

Aims of the Evaluation

The main aim was to measure change over time for participants involved in the three relationship support aspects. Other objectives included:

  • Assessing the value for money of the different interventions
  • Exploring the best ways of informing couples about relationship support opportunities
  • Examining how more couples can be encouraged to access different forms of relationship support.

The Methods

Qa’s role within the consortium was to manage and carry out all quantitative surveys using a pre and post-intervention survey design and bespoke questions to assess relationship quality, couple communication, and well-being. This involved 2,200+ telephone surveys which required meticulous organisation and interviewer sensitivity to administer. Qa also contributed to the survey design and provided training on recruitment for the partner provider organisations (Marriage Care and Relate).

The Findings

This study supported the conclusion that different forms of relationship support help to improve and strengthen relationships for couples at different stages of their relationship. It showed that couple counselling, as well as marriage preparation, were well-received by their clients and highly cost effective. For further details please contact Julie Wrigley on 01904 632039 or Julie.wrigley@qaresearch.co.uk