The Relationship Between Social Support and Family Relationships Among Low-Income Couples Attending Relationship Education

Ryan G. Carlson, Naomi J. Wheeler, Xun Liu, Christopher Hipp, Andrew P. Daire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Results are mixed for relationship education (RE) interventions with low-income couples. For couples who experienced positive changes, it is not clear what aspects of program models contributed to change. Many low-income couples attend government-funded RE with limited access to social and community resources. Program models often provide related resources complimentary to RE skill-building. We examined the relationship between income, social support, and family functioning for low-income, ethnically diverse couples (N = 856) who attended RE, as well as the mediating effects of social support on family functioning outcomes. Analyses included three separate dyadic models that examined associations among constructs at baseline and immediately following the RE intervention. Results demonstrated relationships between participants’ reported social support and family functioning such that (a) social support was associated with baseline family functioning for both men and women; (b) men’s baseline social support was influenced by women’s baseline family functioning; and (c) men’s and women’s social support change score had a positive influence on their own family functioning change score. However, social support was not a significant mediator of change in family functioning. Implications for RE practice and research are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1498-1516
Number of pages19
JournalFamily Process
Volume59
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Family
  • Low-income couples
  • Parenting
  • Relationship education
  • Relationship quality
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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