Exploratory Analysis of Factors Associated with Participation in Self-Directed and Traditional Marriage and Relationship Education


marriage and relationship education, marriage preparation programs, self-directed


Although self-directed marriage and relationship education (MRE) has the potential to reach a larger or different audience than traditional MRE, little has been done to examine the characteristics of self-directed MRE participants. This study examined whether various individual, couple, family, and sociocultural context variables predicted participation in both self-directed and traditional MRE programs. A series of logistic regressions were conducted on a cross-sectional data set. Different factors predicted participation for each intervention. For self-directed programs, factors predictive of involvement included older age, religiosity, higher education, being more self-regulated, having a neurotic partner, more open relationship boundaries, a history of divorce, more relationship problems, and more family-of-origin problems. A wider range of factors predicted participation in traditional programs. Some factors increasing odds for participation in one intervention decreased odds in the other. Implications for MRE are discussed. This study provides evidence that some higher risk couples may choose self-directed MRE over more traditional programs.

Original Publication Citation

McAllister, S., Duncan, S. F., & Busby, D. M. (2013). Exploratory analysis of factors associated with participation in self-directed and traditional marriage and relationship education. Marriage and Family Review, 49, 563-584.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL



Marriage & Family Review




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor