The education provided in the pilots aimed to:
- improve couples’ level of preparedness for the impact of having a child on their relationship
- equip participants with relationship skills – with particular regard to communication and conflict management skills
- signpost couples to further support, where relevant
The research also investigates whether the process of intervention delivery could be improved.
Existing evidence suggests that it is normal for relationship quality to decline over time, with particular severe decline at stress points such as becoming a parent. Twenge et al (2003) found that, at the extreme, in comparing parents with childless couples, 38% of mothers of infants report high levels of relationship satisfaction as opposed to 62% of childless women.
The intention was to use the pilots to inform wider access to relationship advice through perinatal services.
Authors: Lorna Adams, Sarah Coburn and Helen Rossiter (IFF Research Ltd) and Thomas Spielhofer, Anna Sophie Hahne and Laura Stock (The Tavistock Institute).