Date of Conferral







Jane Lyons


Married couples often face serious issues that require them to make difficult decisions in their relationships. Many couples turn to marital counseling as a means to improve the marriage. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand and describe the experiences of heterosexual married individuals who participated in the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) and how they felt their participation had influenced their perceived satisfaction in their marriages. The theoretical framework that guided this study was social exchange theory, which is a basis for thinking about the influence individuals have on each other in personal relationships. The research questions in this study addressed the experiences of individuals in PREP and the subsequent impact on marital satisfaction. This qualitative phenomenological study was used to better understand the individuals' experiences through interviews with 10 married individuals who were selected using criterion sampling. Data analysis included reading transcripts, coding, labeling, and interpreting the experiences. The results of this study revealed that communication and conflict resolution had an impact on marital satisfaction and extended support and supplemental programs influenced the experiences of the participants. The implications for positive social change relate to improved communication between married couples that may result in lasting improvements in their marriages. Others can learn from these experiences to create further positive change. Counselors could provide support outside of class and provide a supplemental program in order to improve the experience, possibly increase marital satisfaction, and decrease the likelihood of divorce.