Perceptions of Marriage Preparation Among College-Educated Young Adults With Greater Family-Related Risks for Marital Disruption


marriage preparation perceptions; college students


This study assessed levels of motivation to participate in marriage preparation and whether the manner in which marriage preparation programs are produced, priced, placed, or promoted needs to differ for those at greater family-related risks for marital disruption, with a sample of 964 college students. Although respondents with greater risks reported equal or greater motivation to participate in marriage preparation, they also had less optimism about marriage for themselves, which, in turn, negatively affected their motivation. Respondents had similar patterns of preferences for particular elements of marriage preparation programs, regardless of marital risk factors. Those with greater risks, however, rated parents and ministers as lower quality marriage information sources and were less interested in attending programs recommended by parents or ministers, led by clergy, and held in a religious setting, but were less deterred from participating if the leaders had less than “ideal” characteristics, such as being divorced themselves.

Original Publication Citation

Duncan, S. F., & Wood, M. M. (2003). Perceptions of marriage preparation among college-educated young adults with greater family-related risks for marital disruption. The Family Journal, 11, 342-352.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



The Family Journal




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor