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Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) Report


Small positive effects found, longer term follow-up planned
HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released findings from the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) study assessing the effectiveness of programs designed to strengthen marriages among low-income married couples with children. The study found that across the eight programs evaluated, the SHM program produced a consistent pattern of positive effects on multiple aspects of couples’ relationships, including higher levels of marital happiness; fewer negative behaviors and emotions in their interactions with each other; and less psychological and physical abuse from their spouses. Participation in the programs did not significantly affect whether couples remained married at the 12-month follow-up point, but follow-up research is necessary to determine what impact the programs may have in the longer-term on the likelihood of being married, the quality of relationships, or the well-being of children.

The Technical Supplement is a companion report to the SHM evaluation’s 12-month impact report. The supplement provides additional details about the study’s research design, data sources, methods used to construct the outcome and subgroup measures, and analytic approach for the 12-month impact analysis. It also presents a series of sensitivity and robustness tests of the impact estimates presented in the impact report. Lastly, it presents the full set of impact results generated when the data are combined across local SHM programs and when the impact results are estimated separately by local SHM program or by subgroup.

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Final Implementation Findings