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This study was originally processed, archived, and disseminated by Data Sharing and Demographic Research, a project funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
Supporting Healthy Marriage Evaluation: Eight Sites within the United States, 2003-2013 (ICPSR 34420)
Principal Investigator(s): Hsueh, JoAnn, MDRC; Knox, Virginia, MDRC
The Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) evaluation was launched in 2003 to develop, to implement, and to test the effectiveness of a program aimed at strengthening low-income couples' marriages as one approach for supporting stable and nurturing family environments and parents' and children's well-being. The evaluation was led by MDRC and was sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families, United States Department of Health and Human Services.The SHM program was a voluntary yearlong marriage education program for low-income married couples who had children or were expecting a child. The program provided a series of group workshops based on structured curricula designed to enhance couples' relationships; 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 sample consists of 6,298 couples (12,596 adult sample members) who were expecting a child or had a child under 18 years old at the time of study entry. The sample consists primarily of low-to-modest income, married couples with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. In each family, one child was randomly selected to be the focus of any child-related measures gathered in the data collection activities. These children ranged from pre-birth to 14 years old at the time of enrollment in the study. Follow-up interviews were conducted at 12 and 30 months after baseline data collection. More detail is provided in the study documentation.
One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the data. A login is required to apply for access. (How to apply.)This data collection may not be used for any purpose other than statistical reporting and analysis. Use of these data to learn the identity of any person or establishment is prohibited. To protect respondent privacy, these data are restricted from general dissemination. To obtain these data, researchers must agree to the terms and conditions of a Restricted Data Use Agreement in accordance with existing ICPSR servicing policies. You can apply online for access to the data. A login is required to apply for access.
Hsueh, JoAnn, and Virginia Knox. Supporting Healthy Marriage Evaluation: Eight Sites within the United States, 2003-2013. ICPSR34420-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2014-12-19. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34420.v2
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34420.v2
This study was funded by:
- United States Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (HHS-223-03-0034)
Scope of Study
Subject Terms: child development, child rearing, child welfare, childhood, children, divorce, drinking behavior, drug use, employment, families, family structure, health attitudes, health status, household composition, household income, language, marriage, marriage counseling, outcome evaluation, parent child relationship, parental attitudes, parental influence, parenting skills, poverty programs, pregnancy, social behavior, work experience, working hours
Smallest Geographic Unit: Cities or counties
Date of Collection:
Unit of Observation: individual, household
Universe: Low-income married couples with children in the United States.
Data Types: event/transaction data, experimental data, observational data, survey data
Data Collection Notes:
Before working with the data, users should review the study level documentation for information on missing values, value labels in Stata, and value imputation that are found in the data.
Study Purpose: The purpose of this study is to provide reliable information about the implementation and impacts of a marriage education program designed for low income married couples who are expecting or have a child through a rigorous research design. Another important goal of the project is to build a firm knowledge base for practitioners about how these programs can be effectively implemented on a relatively large scale.
Study Design: Three waves of data were collected, in addition to detailed information about program group members' participation and engagement in SHM services. The first wave of data was collected when families first enrolled in the SHM study, just prior to being randomly assigned. Husbands and wives were asked to complete a set of baseline instruments that capture socio-demographic and other characteristics such as employment, education, household composition, marital quality and satisfaction, and prior life experiences. The second wave of data was collected approximately 12 months after families first entered the study, through an adult follow-up survey and an observational study. All husbands and wives were asked to complete a follow-up survey (10,181 respondents). The survey includes measures of household composition, marital stability, marital quality, parental psychological well-being, parental employment and economic outcomes, material and financial hardship, social support and networks, coparenting relationship, parenting, father involvement, and child well-being and adjustment. A subsample of families was also selected to participate in a series of videotaped observations of couple, coparenting, and parent-child interactions (1,511 families responded). Observational measures include warmth and support, positive communication, and anger and hostility in the couple relationship, as well as positive responsive parenting, hostile-competitive parenting, measures of adolescents' warmth and support, adolescents' positive communication skills, and adolescents' anger and hostility, and infant behavioral measures. The third wave of data was collected approximately 30 months after families first entered the study, and included three types of data: an adult survey, a youth survey and direct child assessments. The 30-month adult survey (9,369 respondents) mirrored the 12-month survey to a large extent, but included an expanded set of child and parenting items. Focal children who were 2.5 to 8 years old at the follow-up point participated in a set of direct child assessments (2,539 respondents) measuring cognitive development and self regulation. Focal children who were 8.5 to 17 years old at the follow-up point participated in a youth survey (1,134 respondents) which measured youths' psychological adjustment, school engagement, academic achievement, parent-child relationship, perceptions of and reactivity to inter-parental conflict, dating and romantic relationships, and risky behaviors.
Sample: The study sample consists of 6,298 couples (12,596 adult sample members) who were expecting or had a child under 18 years old. For each couple, one focal child (who ranged from pre-birth to 14 years old) was selected, who was the target of all child-focused measures gathered in the data collection activities. The study utilized a random assignment design. Couples were randomly assigned to the program or control group within each of eight local programs (sites) that were operated in ten geographically diverse locations across the United States.
Time Method: Longitudinal: Cohort/ Event-based
Mode of Data Collection: computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI), computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI), coded video observation, cognitive assessment test, face-to-face interview, paper and pencil interview (PAPI), self-enumerated questionnaire, on-site questionnaire
Response Rates: Response rates vary; please refer to the study documentation for more information.
Presence of Common Scales: Several Likert-type scales were used.
Extent of Processing: ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:
- Performed consistency checks.
- Created variable labels and/or value labels.
- Standardized missing values.
- Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
Original ICPSR Release: 2014-04-28
- 2014-12-19 The study-level overview documentation and the documentation for datasets 3 and 11 has been revised and the files available for download have been updated.
- Citations exports are provided above.
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