The efficacy of marriage preparation education (MPE) continues to be demonstrated through participant outcome research. However, understanding the elements that make MPE effective is still unclear and standards for quality have not been established. In an effort to address these deficits and promote improvement in the field of MPE, currently available and widely recognized marriage preparation education programs were examined according an evaluative model created by Hughes (1994). The four components of the Hughes model (content, instructional process, implementation process, and evaluation) outline research-supported elements that are essential in the development of quality family life educational programs. Eight MPE programs that had undergone previous outcome research and been included in meta-analytic studies or reviews were selected for evaluation in the current study. An evaluation team of three researchers rated the components and elements of each program. Evaluators also included qualitative comments associated with the utilization of the programs. Quantitative rating scores were summed for all members of the evaluation team. Results in this study showed that programs varied between the measured components in the extent to which they adhere to research-supported factors that are essential for a quality educational experience, and that none of the selected programs scored consistently high, or low, on the all of the program elements measured . Quantitative and qualitative results illuminated strengths and weaknesses within individual programs, as well as deficits common among current MPE programs. Recommendations are offered for improving MPE programs and professionalism in the field of marriage preparation education.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life; Marriage, Family, and Human Development



Date Submitted


Document Type





marriage, preparation, evaluation