The Exploratory Study of Decision Making in Low-Income Couples (CDM) was designed to gather information that may ultimately help shape content, service delivery, and outcome measurement in programs serving economically disadvantaged families, particularly parents eligible for public assistance and social services. The study uses survey data, direct observation of couple interaction, and physiological measurement to provide a detailed look at the functioning and decision-making processes of a small sample of married and unmarried low-income couples.
In this chapter, we describe the policy context and motivation for the study, outline the research questions, and provide a framework for exploring the questions. The second chapter describes the study’s methods and procedures. In Chapter III we present a detailed picture of the observed interaction and decision-making styles of low-income couples, while in Chapter IV we examine the association of these patterns with contextual factors. The report concludes with a discussion of the results and hypotheses for future research.