If We Build It, They Will Come: Exploring Policy and Practice Implications of Public Support for Couple and Relationship Education for Lower Income and Relationally Distressed Couples


Couples, Distressed, Funding, Implications, Low‐income Relationship, Education


Over the past decade, public funding for Couple and Relationship Education programs has expanded. As program administrators have been able to extend their reach to low‐income individuals and couples using this support, it has become apparent that greater numbers of relationally distressed couples are attending classes than previously anticipated. Because psychoeducational programs for couples have traditionally served less distressed couples, this dynamic highlights the need to examine the policy and practice implications of more distressed couples accessing these services. This paper reviews some of the most immediate issues, including screening for domestic violence and couple needs, pedagogical considerations, and the potential integration of therapy and education services. We also make suggestions for future research that can inform policy and practice efforts.

Original Publication Citation

Bradford, A.B, Hawkins, A.J., & Acker, J. (2015). If we build it, they will come: Exploring policy and practice implications of public support of Couple and Relationship Education for lower income and relationally distressed couples. Family Process, 54, 639-654. DOI: 10.1111/famp.12151

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Family Process




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor