The Supporting Healthy Marriage Evaluation: Early Impacts on Low-Income Families

Publication Date: February 15, 2012


The Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) evaluation was launched in 2003 to test the effectiveness of a skills-based relationship education program designed to help low-income married couples strengthen their relationships and, in turn, to support more stable and more nurturing home environments and more positive outcomes for parents and their children. The evaluation is led by MDRC, in collaboration with Abt Associates and other partners, and is sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The SHM program is a voluntary, yearlong, relationship and marriage education program for low-income, married couples who have children or are expecting a child. The program provides group workshops based on structured curricula; supplemental activities to build on workshop themes; and family support services to address participation barriers, connect families with other services, and reinforce curricular themes. The study’s rigorous random assignment design compares outcomes for families who are offered SHM’s services with outcomes for a similar group of families who are not offered SHM’s services but can access other services. This report presents estimated impacts on the program’s targeted outcomes about one year after couples entered the study.

Current as of: