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PREPARE: Prediction of Marital Satisfaction. EMR6410, Spring ‘06 Dr. Warren Lacefield, Professor Hong Zhong, EMR Amy Gullickson, IDPE. Overview. PREPARE: Premarital Personal and Relationship Evaluation A series of tests designed to assess an engaged couple’s relationship

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Prepare prediction of marital satisfaction l.jpg

PREPARE: Prediction of Marital Satisfaction

EMR6410, Spring ‘06

Dr. Warren Lacefield, Professor

Hong Zhong, EMR

Amy Gullickson, IDPE

Overview l.jpg

  • PREPARE: Premarital Personal and Relationship Evaluation

  • A series of tests designed to assess an engaged couple’s relationship

  • Originally published in 1978

  • Revised in 1986, 1996 and 2000

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Description of the Instrument

  • 165 items

  • Assesses 20 areas of relationship quality:

    • Significant Issues for Couples (12 scales)

    • Personality Assessment (4 scales)

    • Family of Origin Map (4 scales)

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  • Individual scores for each spouse

  • Positive Couple Agreement (PCA) score

    • based on the couple’s level of consensus for each area of the instrument

  • Couples classified into four types

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PREPARE Typologies

  • Vitalized couples

  • Harmonious couples

  • Traditional couples

  • Conflicted couples

    (Fowers, Montel & Olson, 1996)

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Typology Validity

  • The study conducted by Fowers and Olson(1996) offered clear statistical support for the external validity of the premarital typology.

  • Based on survey of 393 couples who took PREPARE

    • 237 still married

    • 89 who cancelled their weddings

    • 67 couples who were separated or divorced

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Concurrent Validity

  • PREPARE tested in comparison to three other marital relationship scales

  • Overall correlation between tests p < .01

  • 129 combinations of scales and criterion variables tested:

    • 96 tested in the predicted direction at p < .01

    • 21 non-significant

    • 2 tested opposite of predicted at p < .01

      (Fowers & Olson, 1986)

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Predictive Validity: Two Studies

  • Larsen & Olson (1989) accurate predictions for Married/Satisfied and Divorced/Separated

    • individual scores 77%

    • PCA scores 84%

  • Fowers & Olson (1986) combined PCA and individual scores accurately predict:

    • 91% of couples who would divorce or separate

    • 93% of couples who would be highly satisfied

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Face Validity: Interviews

  • Four practitioners who use the instrument as part of pre-marital counseling

  • 83 administrations among them

  • Items seem appropriate to couples

  • Participants and counselors agree that PREPARE results portray couples accurately

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  • Internal reliability (scales) mean alpha = .73

  • Test-retest with two week interval reliability ranges from .64 to .93, mean = .78

    (Larsen & Olson, 1989)

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Validity & Reliability: as advertised

  • Predictions based on validated typology classification

  • National Norms based on 500,000 couples for PREPARE

  • “PREPARE has validity in that it discriminates premarital couples that get divorced from those that are happily married with about 80-85% accuracy. Reliability is high (alpha reliability of .80 - .85).”


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Burows MMY Report on Reliability

  • Internal consistency reliabilities for the subscales from .73 to .90

  • Average reliabilities for each of the tests for PREPARE is .75.

  • Test-retest reliability scores (administration interval not reported) are reported at .80.

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Burows Report (continued)

  • Both the internal consistency and the test-retest reliabilities have improved from those reported by Larson et al. (1995) for a previous version (e.g., internal consistency range from .64 to .85; test-retest r = .73).

  • Unreliable items dropped for version 2000

  • Data suggest that the instrument has very good reliability for relationship scales

Advantages l.jpg

  • High reliability, high validity and large norms(n=250,000) with couples from various ethnic groups.

  • Inventories provide the counselor with a rich array of items that reflect the many dimensions of relationships.

  • Provides the user with a good sense of the clinical and research issues.

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  • The applicability of these inventories to diverse family groups and family contexts is unclear.

  • Persons with lower reading levels would have some difficulty.

  • It is not designed for one person.

  • It is not designed for individuals with very severe emotional problems and with couples having intense marital conflict.

  • Reliability and predictive validity have not been tested on version 2000.

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  • Facilitate the communication in each couple about meaningful issues in their relationship.

  • Increase their awareness of their relationship strengths and growth areas.

  • Provide them with relationship skills

  • Improve their relationship.

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Areas for Further Study

  • Family Adaptability and Cohesion, Evaluation Scales III (FACES III), Olson, Portner & Lavee (2002)

  • Enriching Relationship Issues, Communication and Happiness Inventory, Olson (2002)

  • Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills (PAIRS), Gordon (1994)

  • Marital Satisfaction Inventory (MSI), Snyder (1991)

  • Family Environment Scale (FES), Moos & Moos (1986)

  • Pre-Marriage Awareness Inventory (PAI), Velander (1978)

  • Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS), Spanier (1976)

References l.jpg

  • Barnett, Lindean E., Rev. Personal Interview, 4/4/06.

  • Buros Institute of Mental Measurements. Mental Measurement Yearbook (Online). SilverPlatter Information, Inc. website:

  • Evers, Eric, Rev. Personal Interview, 4/6/06.

  • Evers, Paige G., Rev. Personal Interview, 4/3/06.

  • Fowers, B.J., Montel, K.H., & Olson, D.H.(1996). Predicting Success For Premarital Couple Types Based on PREPARE. Journal of Marital & Family Therapy, 22 (1), 103-119.

  • Knutson, L. and Olson, D.H. (2003). Effectiveness of PREPARE Program with Premarital Couples in Community Settings. Marriage & Family: A Christian Journal, 6 (4), 529-546.

  • Larson, J.H., Holman, T.B., Klein, D.M., Busby, D. M., Stahmann, R. F., and Peterson, D. (1995). A review of comprehensive questionnaires used in premarital education and counseling. Family Relations, 44, 245-252.

  • Olson, D.H., & Olson, A.K.(1999). Prepare/Enrich Program: Version 2000. Handbook of Preventative Approaches in Couple Therapy. Pages 196-216 New York: Brunner/Mazel, Inc.

  • PREPARE/ENRICH website:

  • Watson, David G., Rev. Email communication, 4/12/06.