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      What’s Love Got to Do With It? Improving the Effect of Marriage Education

      * , a ,
      marriage and relationship education (MRE), romantic love, marital adjustment, curriculum development, cognitive-behavioral framework

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          Meta-analytic research on the effect of marriage and relationship education (MRE) over the past forty years has identified only a small overall effect size on relationship quality measures within experimental-design studies. In an effort to increase the effect size of marriage education, this study introduced a new educational objective and measure within an eight-session, group-format course. The curriculum focused on developing habits to increase feelings of romantic love as a way to improve marital adjustment (Four Gifts of Love Class, FGL). Eleven couples (N = 22) residing in the Philippines were randomly assigned to FGL (G1) or delayed FGL-control (G2). The results demonstrated a large effect size on measures of marital adjustment (d = 1.11, p < .01) and romantic love (d = 0.68, p < .05). In addition, after G2 completed FGL, their gains matched the gains of G1, and the gains were sustained at the three follow-up periods.

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          Most cited references28

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          Estimating Effect Sizes From Pretest-Posttest-Control Group Designs

          S. Morris (2008)
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            The efficacy of psychological, educational, and behavioral treatment. Confirmation from meta-analysis.

            Conventional reviews of research on the efficacy of psychological, educational, and behavioral treatments often find considerable variation in outcome among studies and, as a consequence, fail to reach firm conclusions about the overall effectiveness of the interventions in question. In contrast meta-analytic reviews show a strong, dramatic pattern of positive overall effects that cannot readily be explained as artifacts of meta-analytic technique or generalized placebo effects. Moreover, the effects are not so small that they can be dismissed as lacking practical or clinical significance. Although meta-analysis has limitations, there are good reasons to believe that its results are more credible than those of conventional reviews and to conclude that well-developed psychological, educational, and behavioral treatment is generally efficacious.
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              Neural correlates of long-term intense romantic love.

              The present study examined the neural correlates of long-term intense romantic love using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Ten women and 7 men married an average of 21.4 years underwent fMRI while viewing facial images of their partner. Control images included a highly familiar acquaintance; a close, long-term friend; and a low-familiar person. Effects specific to the intensely loved, long-term partner were found in: (i) areas of the dopamine-rich reward and basal ganglia system, such as the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and dorsal striatum, consistent with results from early-stage romantic love studies; and (ii) several regions implicated in maternal attachment, such as the globus pallidus (GP), substantia nigra, Raphe nucleus, thalamus, insular cortex, anterior cingulate and posterior cingulate. Correlations of neural activity in regions of interest with widely used questionnaires showed: (i) VTA and caudate responses correlated with romantic love scores and inclusion of other in the self; (ii) GP responses correlated with friendship-based love scores; (iii) hypothalamus and posterior hippocampus responses correlated with sexual frequency; and (iv) caudate, septum/fornix, posterior cingulate and posterior hippocampus responses correlated with obsession. Overall, results suggest that for some individuals the reward-value associated with a long-term partner may be sustained, similar to new love, but also involves brain systems implicated in attachment and pair-bonding.

                Author and article information

                An International Journal on Personal Relationships
                06 January 2020
                : 13
                : 2
                : 171-186
                [a ]Independent Researcher, Pasig City, Philippines
                Author notes
                [* ]1906 Orient Square Building, Pasig City, Philippines, 1605. jenniferc@ 123456fourgiftsoflove.org
                Copyright @ 2019

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 16 April 2019
                : 04 November 2019

                cognitive-behavioral framework,curriculum development,marital adjustment,romantic love,marriage and relationship education (MRE)


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