Divorce and marital distress remain significant issues within the United States. Since the 1990s, a substantial body of literature has developed on the subject of premarital counseling. That literature provides solid evidence of the effectiveness of premarital counseling as a tool in reducing the odds of divorce. In spite of this evidence, usage of premarital counseling by prospective couples is relatively low.
The profession of social work is actively involved in marital and family therapy, helping to repair the effects of marital and familial conflict. Yet, social work is bypassing the role it could play in prevention with regards to divorce and marital distress. The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes, beliefs, knowledge and practices of social workers regarding premarital counseling in an effort to assess and describe the readiness of social workers to promote the usage of premarital counseling as a tool to prevent divorce.
Using a web-based, self-administered survey called the Social Worker Premarital Counseling Survey (SWPCS), social workers in Louisiana responded to 34 questions. 183 subjects responded. 67% of respondents were White and 31% were Black. 86% were women and 62% possessed the highest level of licensure (LCSW). Respondents resided in either the Greater New Orleans area or the Greater Baton Rouge area.
Overall, subjects in this study revealed a high degree of readiness. Results showed that social workers in this sample believe divorce is a major problem, they believe premarital counseling helps couples to stay together, they are willing to be providers, they are willing to accept referrals from clergy, they feel comfortable doing premarital counseling, and they are willing to promote it within the community in several ways. Chi square tests revealed significant relationships in specific areas.
The findings suggest that the social work community is an untapped reservoir of assistance in our nation's struggle to prevent the ravages of divorce and marital distress and its multi-faceted effects on adults and children. Recommendations for future research and training are offered along with suggested changes to public policy relating to premarital counseling.
|School:||Tulane University, School of Social Work|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/01, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social work, Counseling Psychology|
|Keywords:||Divorce, Divorce prevention, Premarital counseling, Premarital education, Prevention, Social workers|
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