childbirth education, marriage education, psychoeducation, program evaluation, transition to parenthood


This article presents the results of a pilot study of the Marriage Moments program, designed to prevent relationship deterioration during the 1st year of parenthood. The self-guided, low-intensity program emphasizes strengthening marital virtues and partnership during this time of significant personal and family transition. One hundred fifty-five married couples participated in a randomized clinical trial with 2 psychoeducational treatment groups (a self-guided group and an instructor-encouraged group) and a comparable control group. Despite positive formative evaluation results from program participants, hierarchical linear modeling analyses failed to find significant Group X Time differences on spouses' reports of marital virtues and a set of relational outcome measures. This failure reinforces the need for psychoeducators to invest in outcome evaluation research before claiming program success.

Original Publication Citation

Hawkins, A. J., Fawcett, E. B., Carroll, J. S., & Gilliland, T. T. (2006). The Marriage Moments program for couples transitioning to parenthood: Divergent conclusions from formative and outcome evaluation data. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 561-570.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Family Psychology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor