Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Laurel Bidwell, Ph.D., LICSW


Social Work


Marital dissatisfaction affect people of all ages, races and cultural backgrounds and often leads to divorce. Divorce can have negative implications that last for years. Social workers and other allied professionals providing premarital and marital counseling work to ameliorate marital discord and improve marital satisfaction. The purpose of this study was to examine the connection between premarital and marital counseling and marital satisfaction for couples. Using a cross-sectional design, the following three questions were asked: Is involvement in premarital counseling linked to a greater satisfaction of a marriage? Is marital or couples counseling during times of marital discord linked to greater satisfaction of a marriage and less likelihood of divorce? Is a positive experience of premarital counseling linked to a greater likelihood that couples will engage in marital or couples counseling during times of marital discord? Twenty-seven individuals responded to an anonymous Qualtrics survey about couples’ involvement with premarital and marital counseling as well as self-ratings of marital satisfaction. Data was analyzed using chi-square analyses. Findings were not significant for any of the three research questions, however a trend was detected showing that individuals who took part in premarital counseling indicated greater marital satisfaction than those who did not take part in premarital counseling. Limitations of this study include the lack of variability in individuals’ experiences. Future research is needed to explore this relation more fully and to develop a solid base of knowledge that can inform the development of effective social work intervention strategies in the area of premarital and marital counseling.

Included in

Social Work Commons