Research and analysis

Relationship difficulties and help-seeking behaviour

This report outlines findings from secondary analysis of a dataset from interviews with individuals who were in long-term relationships.


Relationship difficulties and help-seeking behaviour


Couple relationship breakdown is prevalent in today’s society. To illustrate, it is currently estimated that 45% of marriages will end in divorce. Other relationships, including cohabiting unions are more fragile. Research has shown that couple relationship breakdown is associated with detrimental impacts on both the individuals in a relationship as well as any children present.

The data was generated from 112 individual interviews and eight focus group discussions (comprising 64 individuals).

The chapters of the report outline findings in a number of areas including relationship difficulties; factors which help a relationship endure; attitudes and beliefs about relationships; and relationship improvement and help-seeking behaviour. Although the data was generated some seven to eight years ago, comparisons with both older and more contemporary studies suggest that the difficulties encountered by couples have remained relatively stable over the previous generation.

The report examines the best ways to prevent relationship problems, overcome relationship difficulties and reduce the likelihood of relationship breakdown. The findings from this study make a valuable contribution towards an understanding of relationship difficulties and how relationships can be strengthened.

Updates to this page

Published 29 July 2010

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