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Exploring the Attitudes, Beliefs, Preparation, and Practices of African-American Clergy in Premarital Counseling

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EXPLORING THE ATTITUDES, BELIEFS, PREPARATION, AND PRACTICES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CLERGY IN PREMARITAL COUNSELING By ADRIAN T MANLEY A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006

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2 Copyright 2006 By Adrian T. Manley

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3 This dissertation is dedicated to the memory of Elder I. L. Wootson, a man whose legacy of wisdom, humility and love for all continues to inspire and encourage me.

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First and foremost I am grateful to God. Through this process I f ound myself constantly praying in a variety of ways, sometimes crying, complaining, venting or otherwise. I always gained peace, hope, and strength to endure the next hurdle. I also wish to acknowledge all of the Black cl ergy that took the time to participate in my research. Among the clergy two very special people, Dr. Detroit Williams and Elder Eullas Brinson (my two pastors), were a tremendous so urce of support helping me connect to other clergy. I would also like to express my gra titude to Dr. Valda Slack, who graciously opened doors of opportunities for me to have a platform to speak about my research and ask for participation both in the local, st ate and national assembly meetin gs of the Church of God in Christ. I wish to thank Lakisha Scott, who was my constant supporter, co nfidante, comedian, and encourager throughout this process. I also wi sh to express my grat itude to The Santa Fe Community College Counseling Center staff for their tremendous support. I was privileged to work with a very outstan ding group of committee members. I wish to thank Dr. Peter Sherrard, my committee chair, for his guidance, support, wisdom and patience with me. I am grateful to Dr. Ellen Amatea for her expertise of th e subject matter and the research process as well as he r constant support. I am extr emely appreciative of Dr. David Miller, who diligently helped me through the statistic al aspects of this study. Last but not least I wish to thank Dr. Sally Williams, who gave me va luable feedback and always assured me that I would get finished and get it done. Last but not least I would like to thank my family w ho stood by me throughout my education. Katrina, my dearest wife, loved me mo re than she loved hersel f and put some of her dreams and desires on hold to help me fulfill mine. I will always love her for that. Terry, my constant supportive mother, she did everything in her power to encourage me to keep on going.

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5 Ocrietto Anderson, Grandma her strength, love, and commitment to me will always be strong force behind all of my accomplishments. I th ank James Anderson, for always being there and making it his responsibility to ensure that all my needs were met. Sherry, my sister, always came through for me. I thank Betty Curry, the sweet est Auntie in the world, whose kindness and support is an inspiration to me.

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6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........9 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ............10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................12 Theoretical Background......................................................................................................... .16 Purpose of Study............................................................................................................... ......19 Research Questions............................................................................................................. ....20 Definition of Terms............................................................................................................ ....21 Organization of the Study...................................................................................................... .22 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE.................................................................................................23 A Historical Review of Premarital Therapy...........................................................................24 Before the 1900s............................................................................................................24 Between 1900 and the 1950s..........................................................................................24 The 1950s and 1960s....................................................................................................25 The 1970s..................................................................................................................... ..26 Premarital Counseling in Present....................................................................................27 Predicting Marital Success.....................................................................................................28 The Effectiveness of Premarital Counseling..........................................................................30 Premarital Counseling Providers............................................................................................31 Time of Counseling, Number of Sessions, and Length of Sessions.......................................32 Content of Premarital Counseling..........................................................................................33 African American Families and Premarital Counseling.........................................................34 The Black Church............................................................................................................... ....36 Clergy......................................................................................................................... ............37 Use of Assessments............................................................................................................. ...39 PREPARE........................................................................................................................40 PREP-M......................................................................................................................... ..41 FOCCUS......................................................................................................................... .42 A Move Toward Diversity......................................................................................................42 Conclusion..................................................................................................................... .........43 3 METHODOLOGY.................................................................................................................45 Statement of Purpose........................................................................................................... ...45 Variables...................................................................................................................... ...........45 Research Design................................................................................................................ .....46

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7 Population..................................................................................................................... ..........46 Sampling Procedure............................................................................................................. ...46 Person to Person Paper Surveys......................................................................................47 Online Surveys................................................................................................................48 Telephone Surveys..........................................................................................................48 Instrumentation................................................................................................................ .......49 Operational Research Qu estions and Hypotheses..................................................................49 Data Analysis.................................................................................................................. ........50 4 RESULTS........................................................................................................................ .......52 Sample Demographics............................................................................................................52 AACs Assessment of Relative Importance of Topics in Premarital Counseling..................54 AACs Level of Confidence of Teaching and or Discussing Certain Topics in Premarital Counseling..................................................................................................................... .....55 AACs Attitudes and Beliefs about Premarita l Counseling and their Preparation to do Premarital C ounseling.........................................................................................................55 The Relationship between AAC Demogra phic Information and their Level of Confidence in Providing Certain As pects of Premarital Counseling..................................57 The Relationship Between AACs Assessment of Importance of Aspects of Premarital Counseling and their Confidence Providing C ounseling in those Particular Aspects........58 The Relationship between AACs Level of C onfidence in Providing Certain Aspects of Premarital Counseling and AAC Attitudes Assessed in the BCPCS..................................59 Response to Open ended Question.........................................................................................60 5 DISCUSSION..................................................................................................................... ....72 Limitations of the Study....................................................................................................... ..72 Summary of Major Findings...................................................................................................74 Importance of Topics and Clergy s Confidence in Addressing them.............................74 Clergy Attitudes and Beliefs...........................................................................................75 Clergy Preparation...........................................................................................................75 Clergy Practices...............................................................................................................76 Implications of the Study...................................................................................................... ..76 Implications for Practice..................................................................................................76 Implications for Policy....................................................................................................78 Recommendations for Future Research..................................................................................78 APPENDIX A THE BLACK CLERGY PREMARITAL COUNSELING SURVEY (BCPCS)...................81 B INFORMED WRITTEN CONSENT.....................................................................................85 C LETTER TO CONTACT PERSON.......................................................................................91 D LETTER FOR CONTACT PERSON....................................................................................93

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8 E PHONE SCRIPT LEAVING A MESSAGE..........................................................................95 F AFRICAN AMERICAN CLERGY CALL LOG...................................................................96 LIST OF REFERENCES............................................................................................................. ..97 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................101

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9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 Respondents Church Deno mination/Classification..........................................................64 2 Respondent Marital Status.................................................................................................64 3 Respondents Gender.........................................................................................................64 4 Respondents Country of Origin........................................................................................64 5 Respondents Church Location..........................................................................................65 6 Respondents Church membership size.............................................................................65 7 Respondents level of training...........................................................................................65 8 Respondents highest level of education completed..........................................................66 9 Respondents specialized trai ning in premarital Counseling.............................................66 10 Respondents Level of traini ng in premarital counseling..................................................66 11 Respondents assessment of relative importance of certain topics.....................................67 14 Reliability Statistics...................................................................................................... .....68 15 AACs confidence level with re gards to specialized training............................................68 16 Mean, standard deviation, and F score for AACs confidence level.................................68 17 Correlation coefficient for AAC age and AAC confidence level......................................69 18 Score for AACs confidence level and church size...........................................................69 19 AACs confidence level and education..............................................................................69 20 Mean, standard deviation, and F score for AACs confidence level.................................69

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10 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy EXPLORING THE ATTITUDES, BELIEFS, PREPARATION AND PRACTICES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CLERGY IN PREMARITAL COUNSELING By Adrian T. Manley December 2006 Chair: Peter Sherrard Major Department: Mental Health Counseling The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes and beliefs of African American clergy concerning premarital c ounseling. Using the Black Cler gy Premarital Counseling Survey, African American clergy reporte d their thoughts about the necessi ty, importance, and value of premarital counseling; their training experiences in premarital counseling; their interest for further training in premarital counseling; thei r degree of confidence in implementing certain aspects of premarital counseling a nd finally their assessment of the relative importance of certain topics in premarital counseling. This study also explored the current practices of African American clergy in providing premarital counseling. Black clergy reported their recommended number of sessions, their recommended length of sessions, their use of invent ories, their role in th e counseling process and their particular style of conducting premarital counseling. There were 247respondents ages ranging from 19 to 86 years with th e average age being 49.5 years. The age representing the median and mode is 51 years and 50 years respectively. Males comprised 84.9% of the sample and females made up 15.1%

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11 The findings from this study demonstrate that Black clergy desire more knowledge and training regarding premarital couns eling. More than half of the Black clergy in this study do not have specialized training in premarital counseling. Over 85% of the clergy reported a desire for additional specialized training in premarital counseling. Results also indicated that the Black clergy who had specialized trai ning in premarital counseling reported significantly higher confidence than those clergy who di d not have specialized training. Findings from this study also revealed the to pics considered by Black clergy to be most important in premarital counseling. Couple co mmunication, couple commitment to the marriage, and conflict resolution resp ectively were rated most important by Black clergy. Based on the findings of this study, recommenda tions for further research are discussed. The findings suggest that atten tion be given to the developmen t and implementation of training and preparatory programs assisting African Ameri can clergy in establishing stronger premarital programs for the African American community.

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12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Marriage is a fundamental and enduring social institution that has developed in all cultures and societies. Every society possesses some form of marriage (Saxton, 1996). A recent study reveals that 93% of Americans ra te having a happy marriage as one of their most important goals (Carroll & Doherty, 2003). Studi es show that successful marriages promote mental, physical, and family health (Carroll & Doherty, 2003). However, high divorce rates of approximately 50% and increasing reports of illicit domestic violence elicit a signifi cant amount of alarm and appreh ension in a great number of couples, religious leaders, political leaders, pe rsons in the media, and public policy advocates. Stanley and Markman (1997) assert th at the after-shocks of marital distress and divorce affect us all. Researchers assert that conflicted and unstable marriages undermine well-being and incur large social and financial costs for communitie s (Carroll & Doherty, 2003). Stanley (2001) reports that marital distress ne gatively affects physical heal th, mental health, and work productivity. One way politicians and research ers are addressing these concerns is through prevention via premarital c ounseling (Murray, 2004). Increased attention is being gi ven to helping couples prevent marital distress and divorce. The divorce and separation rates, an d concerns about the future of marriage and family life have inspired a marriage movement that is gaining momentum in the United States (Stanley, 2001). Private organizations like the Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment, the Institute for American Values, and the Family Life Educat or initiative of the Na tional Council on Family Relations were formed to protect and enhance marriage. These organizations are active in sounding an alarm about marriage and family processes and dynamics (Stanley, 2001). Religious leaders are also becoming more c oncerned about strengthening and protecting the

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13 family. Many religious leaders are noticing the negative effects of marital distress on members in their local congregations. Like never before, state and federal gove rnments are advocating strengthening and maintaining marriages. In Florida, the Marria ge Preparation and Pres ervation Act of 1998 was designed to promote premarital education. This act subtracts $32.50 from the cost of marriage licenses for couples who attend at least four hours of premarital counseling from an approved provider (mostly licensed ment al health counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists, social workers and approved religi ous leaders). The state of Florida identifies specific topics for premarital counseling includi ng conflict management, financial management, communication, and children and parenting respon sibilities. The Flor ida Bar has published a family law handbook that addresses all aspects of the law pertaining to marriage and families; it is available to couples from the clerk of the ci rcuit court upon applicati on for a marriage license (Smart Marriages, 1996). Very few of the studies or literature regard ing premarital counseling addresses the unique factors of non-White people, particularly African American people. Most of the studies of premarital counseling focus on the characteristic s of middle class Cauc asians. Carroll and Doherty (2003) confirm this in their meta-analytic review of outcome research looking at 13 prevention programs; they discove red that the samples in the re search are almost exclusively young, European American, middle class couples, a discovery that led them to caution providers against generalizing from this information to dive rse populations. This lack of sample diversity in research calls for remediation now that et hnic groups make up a third of the United States population (Carroll & Doherty, 2003). Silliman a nd Schumm (1999) note that little research has been done assessing the needs of non-white audiences or offered programming from a

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14 multicultural perspective. The authors call for research that considers the needs of non-white clients, a population whose needs remain unclear to majority practitioners (Silliman & Schumm, 1999). The differences between cultures can no longer be ignored. David K. Shipler, in his book, A Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites in America (1997), demonstrates how the lives of African Americans and Caucasians in America are different in communi cation styles, language use, economic status, family structure, and lifest yle. In many ways they are strangers to each other. How they behave, and how their language about their experiences often appears alien, strange, and extraordinary for the other gr oup. This phenomenon is apparent even among African Americans and Caucasians who work at the same company or attend school at the same institution. Because premarital counseling prepares clients to live as couples in the society in which they reside, it is imperative that premarital counseling address cultural differences that may influence how couples construct their marriage. What is ideal for White couples may not be ideal for Black couples. And, what is dysfunc tional for White couples and families may be normal and functional for Black couples and fam ilies. Ooms and Wilson (2004) assert that because African Americans live life differently than Caucasian Americans, African American couples need programs and inventories that ar e designed for them, programs that take into account differences in communicat ion/ language, socioeconomic st atus, family structure, and lifestyle. For example, African Americans significantl y differ from Caucasian in the number of single-family households, marriage rates, separati on rates, and divorce rates. Sue and Sue (1999) report that 82% of Blacks have no live-in father in the home compared to 43% of Whites, and

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15 that 47% of black males are single, divorced, or widowed compared to 28% of White males. Saxton (1996) notes that African Americans have higher rates of se paration and divorce than any other ethnic group in the United Stat es. He also observed that two-thirds of Black children, compared to one in five White children, are born out of wedlock, and that 39% of Black children live with both parents compared to 76% of White children. Oo ms and Wilson (2004), in their article, The Challenges of Offering Relationship and Marriage Education to Low income Populations , report that in 1950, 64% of Blacks a nd 68% of Whites were married. In 2002 however 44% of Blacks and 59% of Whites were married. Not only are African Americans marrying less frequently than Caucasian, a hi gher percentage of them are divorcing and separating (Ooms & Wilson, 2004). Ooms and Wilson (2004) attribute these differences to such adverse circumstances among Af rican Americans as high mort ality, high incarceration, high joblessness and high rates of out-of-wedlock childbirth. These trends suggest that mode rn marriages need help, and Af rican American couples need specialized attention. Premarita l counseling is one solution. Research suggests (Silliman & Schumm 1999; Sullivan & Bradbur y, 1997) that approximately 75% of premarital counseling is provided by clergy, many of whom have no training. Premarital counseling/preparation is not covered in a great number of seminaries, and a significant number of African American clergy never attended seminary. Nonetheless, counseling services are provided. Given little training, one is le ft to wonder what are the be liefs, attitudes, and current practices of African Am erican pastors in premarital counseling. Sullivan and Bradbury (1997) assert that many clergy feel ambi valent about their preparation for premarital counseling. They call for therapists to work with churches to im prove the programs to African American couples at Black churches by Afri can American Clergy.

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16 Sue and Sue (1999) observed that if counselor s are to provide mean ingful help to a culturally diverse population, they must develop new culturally effective helping approaches. Premarital counseling is more effective when it is contextually and culturally sensitive. To accomplish this goal, we must work with African American pastors to develop evidence-based programs that address the special issues and ne eds of their congregati on. Douglas and Hopson (2001) quote W.E.B. Duboi s in stating that t he Negro church is the social center of African American life in the United States. Therefore the Black church is an excellent place in which to serve black couples who want to get married. Helping African American pastors explore and clarify their attitudes, beliefs, values, and current practices in conducting premarital counseling is essential. Theoretical Background Albee and Ryan (1998) define prevention as (1) doing something now to forestall or prevent something undesirable from happening in the future, and (2) doing something now that will increase desirable outcomes in the future. LAbate defines prevention as any approach, method, or procedure designed to improve inte rpersonal competence and functioning for people as individuals, partners, and pa rents (Berger & Hannah, 1999). Prev ention has typically focused on assessing self and other awareness, provi ding knowledge for decision-making, and enhancing interpersonal skill (Stanley & Markman, 1997). Prevention historic ally has been the province of public health. Leaders in public health assert that it is more feasible to keep the population healthy rather than to repair he alth that has deteriorated. We see prevention in action today in promoting flu shots and nutrition, for example, as effective deterrents from diseases. Public health policy is organized around th ree prevention strategi es: First, identifyi ng the noxious agent and attempting to remove it or neutralize it; seco nd, strengthening the host to resist the noxious

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17 agent; and third, preventing transmission of th e noxious agent to the host (Albee and Ryan, 1999). These strategies are now being a pplied to mental health policies. Stanley and Markman (1997) note that little attention has been given to prevention of marital distress in the form of premarital prep aration until the past tw o decades. As experts began to understand the magnitude and implicati ons of our societys marital problems, they adopted prevention strategies such as premarita l counseling. Prevention theory suggests that interventions be made before problems begin or before problems become bigger problems. Premarital education helps couples to more eff ectively facilitate or manage developmental transitions, conflict resolution and decision-maki ng, responding to life crisis, and engaging social support systems (Stanley & Markman, 1997). Effective preventive interventions will address factors that are associated with increased risk in ways designed to lower those risks. Research in premarital counseling (Stanley & Markman, 1997) helps couples antic ipate problems to avoid and c onfirms efficacious skills that enhance relationships Prevention not only prevents dysfunc tion but also promotes wellness. Stanley and Markman (1997) assert that premarit al prevention efforts se ek to raise protective factors and minimize risk factors. They explai n that increasing protectiv e factors enhances the chances of a couple doing well over time. These factors include enhancing such things as friendship in the marital relations hip, interpersonal support and mutu al dedication. They cite risk factors as negative factors clearly associated with greater risk of marital failure; lowering these factors is crucial in preventi on. Risk factors include nega tive interactive patterns and dysfunctional relationship beli efs (Stanley & Markman, 1997).

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18 The prevention strategy chosen depends on the tim ing of the intervention. The Institute of Medicine differentiates three ty pes: universal or primary prevention, selective or secondary prevention, and indicated or ter tiary prevention (Berger & Hannah, 1999). Primary prevention is said to be proactive in that it deals with problems and issues before they arise (Albee & Ryan, 1998). Primary prevention is what LAbate called true prevention because the intervention occurs before problems happen, that is, for example, before couples have difficulties (Berger & Hanna h, 1999). Primary prevention consis ts of proactive efforts to reduce emotional and behavioral deficits or diso rders in order to maintain and enhance healthy functioning (Stanley & Markman, 1997). Secondary prevention occurs after the onset of a problem. It seeks to prevent further problems and the loss of desirabl e relationship characteristics with at-risk couples who are experiencing some difficulty and dissatisfacti on. LAbate describes this as intervening with couples before they get worse (Berger & Ha nnah, 1999). Stanley and Markman (1997) agree, noting that secondary prevention consists of early identificati on, diagnosis and treatment of deficits in order to avert more serious breakdown and to re-estab lish healthy functioning. Berger and Hannah (1998) note that ther e is overlap between primary and secondary intervention and most premarital programs use both. Tertiary prevention aims to keep serious c ouple problems from destroying the relationship and the marriage; it is what LAbate calls interv ening before it is too late (Berger & Hannah, 1999). Tertiary prevention addresses chronic prob lems that threaten to drive married couples toward divorce. There are economic and psychological benefits in adopting preventive approaches. Preventive approaches are less expensive th an remediation and are less psychologically

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19 exhausting and draining than remedial approaches. But to win the benefits, two barriers have to be overcome. Motivation is a barrier when coup les see no need for a counselor if there are no obvious difficulties. The second ba rrier is that couples may not wa nt to admit to strangers that they are having problems before th ey marry (Berger& Hannah, 1999). Purpose of Study The purpose of this study is to examine the attitudes, prepar ation, and current practices of African American Clergy in rega rds to premarital counseling. Ba rlow (1999) asserts that the church has a responsibility to pr epare couples to build strong ma rriages from the very beginning so that divorce is not an option. And a survey by Murray (2004) reveals that approximately 75% of premarital counseling in Fl orida is currently provided by clergy, indicating that many churches take their responsibil ity seriously. By contrast, Stah mann (2000) notes that premarital counseling has not been identified as a regular part of the clini cal practice of most of todays marriage and family therapists. This study examined the attitudes and beliefs of African American clergy concerning premarital counseling. African Am erican clergys thoughts about the necessity, importance, and value of premarital counseling for the members of their local congregatio ns and denominations were surveyed. In addition clergy were asked wh at extent premarital counseling is mandatory or optional and if so, what criteria, bylaws, or ordi nances are observed within their congregations and denominations concerni ng premarital counseling. This study also focused on the training experien ce that African American pastors may have received that prepared them to engage in pr emarital counseling. Th ese training experiences included the following: A semina ry class, training by a marriag e education group (i.e., Prep, Prepare, RE, etc.), special seminars or workshops extensive reading or personal experience. The study will also examine to what degree African American clergy feel they are adequately

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20 prepared to provide premarital counseling, the degree of confidence of the clergy doing certain aspects of premarital counseling, what interest they may have for training in premarital counseling, and to what degree they are willing to collaborate with mental health professionals in regard to premarital counseling. Thirdly, this study surveyed the current practices of African American Clergy in providing premarital counseling. Researchers (Fower s & Olson, 1986; Risch, Riley & Lawler, 2003; Stahmann & Hiebert, 1987; Stanley & Markma n, 1997) in premarital counseling agree on the issues to be addressed in premarital counse ling: conflict resolution, communication, finances, parenting, family, friends, leisure, commitment, fa mily of origin, and gender roles within the marriage. Are these topics covered by Afri can American clergy who provide premarital education? This study examined the number of sessions, length of sessi ons, inventories used, style of the clergy (instructive vs. interactive), cler gys role (determine if the couple is ready for marriage or just assist in help ing the couple prepare for marriage) and fees and other procedures, rules and requirements fo r premarital counseling. Research Questions This study addressed the following research questions: What are the background characteristics (Len gth of time as pastors providing premarital counseling, religious affiliation/denominati on, gender, age, congregation size, church location (i.e., rural, suburb, or city), and educational background) of African American Clergy? What topics do AAC feel are most and l east important in premarital counseling? What is the level of confidence of AAC t eaching and/or discussing certain topics in premarital counseling? What are AACs attitudes and beliefs about pr emarital counseling and their preparation to do premarital counseling? Are there differences in AACs level of c onfidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling based on AAC demographics (whether or not the AAC has received

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21 specialized training in PMC, age, church si ze, level of education/ training, and church denomination)? What is the relationship between AACs assessm ent of importance of aspects of premarital counseling and their confidence providing c ounseling in those particular aspects? What is the relationship between AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling and AAC attitudes a ssessed in the BCPCS (would like more training, support more clergy and family couns elors working together, feeling adequately prepared to provide premarital counseli ng and welcoming a PMC manual or program created for black clergy)? Definition of Terms African American may be also referred to as Black also inclusive of Jamaican Americans and Haitian Americans, who are similar to African Americans in racial features. Black Church also known as African American c hurch is a group of people, mostly African American together with an African American pastor who worships God together in the same place as an organized group or institution. Douglas (2001) describes the Black Church as a multitudinous community of churches that are diversified by origin, denomination, doctrine, worshipping culture, sp iritual expression, class, size, and other less-obvious factors. He explai ns that although black churches may seem disparate, they share a special history, culture, and role in black life, all of which attest to their collective identity as the Black church. Clergy also used synonymously w ith Pastors, the leaders of a church congregation. Denomination term used to distinguish and classify churches into large groups by belief and type of organization. Three common deno minations surveyed in this study will be Church of God in Christ, African Methodist Episcopal, and Baptist. Premarital counseling synonymous with marriage education and marriage preparation. Stahmann (2000) defines premarital counseling as a process that enhances and enriches premarital relationships in order to promote mo re satisfactory and stab le marriages and less divorce. The goals of premarital counseling in clude easing the transition from single to married life, increasing couple stability a nd satisfaction, increasing friendship and commitment to the relationship, increasing couple intimacy, and enhancing problem solving and decision making skills (Stahma nn, 2000). Russell and Lyster (1992) concur noting that marriage preparation provide c ouples with the oppor tunity to examine important aspects of their relationship and to develop skills necessary for communication and negotiation around areas critical to the development of intimacy.

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22 Organization of the Study Chapter 2 contains a review of relevant literature. Chapte r 3 contains the methodology of this study including the research design sampli ng procedures, instrume ntation, data colleting procedures, research questions a nd hypotheses and procedures data analysis. Chapter 4 contains the data analysis. Lastly chap ter 5 discussed the findi ngs of this study, implic ations for practice, and recommendations for further research.

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23 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE The negative affects of marital distress a nd divorce reverberat e throughout society, touching the lives of everyone in some way. St anley and Markman (1997) assert that marital distress and divorce has placed American children at great risk for poverty, alienation, antisocial behavior, and mental and physical problems. Conflicts at ho me lead to decreased work productivity for adults in thei r place of employment and for children in their schools. High divorce rates (now above 50% for first-time ma rriages), and increase d reports of domestic violence elicit cries of alarm a nd apprehension in a great number of couples, religious leaders, political leaders, persons in the media, and public policy advocates. Preparation for marriage or premarital couns eling has been suggested as one form of divorce prevention (Fowers & Ols on, 1986). Increased attention is being given to helping couples prevent marital distress and divorce. Hist orically, little attention has been given to premarital preparation until the past two decad es (Stahmann, 2000). Support for prevention is growing because people are increasi ngly getting clarity on the magn itude and implications of our societys marital problems. Fraenkel, Markman, a nd Stanley (1997) assert that the rationale for prevention is to provide couples with core sk ills and concepts for handling the inevitable disagreements and problems of married life as th ey arise. They further propose that prevention helps couples avoid the high emotional costs that accrue from unresolved, repetitive, and often increasingly harsh arguments, and the significant loss of time and money spent in marital therapy trying to restore an unhealthy ma rriage. Stahmann (2000) assert s that premarital counseling can enhance and enrich premarital re lationships thereby helping couples lead more satisfactory and stable marriages.

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24 Premarital counseling/marriage preparation strategies have evolved and developed over time as researchers continue to conduct st udies examining various issues regarding the procedures and effectiveness of premarital c ounseling, including the stag e of engagement in which sessions take place, length of counseli ng sessions, number of sessions, role of the provider, provider training, use of assessments, and content discussed. This chapter provides a historical review of the premarita l counseling literature in order to establish a rationale for this study. A Historical Review of Premarital Therapy Before the 1900s The literature before 1900 contains rare gems on premarital counseling and marriage preparation. Around 80 A.D. the Apos tle Paul wrote instructions a bout marriage to Christians in Corinth and Ephesus and it is probable that th ese words have been sh ared with premarital couples ever since (See I Corinthians and E phesians in the New Testament). Stahmann and Hiebert (1987) report that as ea rly as 1164 marriage was an established sacrament in the church and clergy had a special role to play in the lives of premarita l couples. Clergy spoke of the significance of marriage as a sacred union of a man and a woman, initiating a new relationship with God as well as each other. It is intere sting to note that clergy were counseling couples numerous years before psychol ogy and family therapy were es tablished as professional disciplines. Between 1900 and the 1950s Stahmann and Hiebert (1987) state that in the early 1900s premarital counseling by the clergy consisted of teachings about the Christian nature of marriag e, the place of religion in the home, and rehearsal of the wedding rite. Befo re the 1950s psychologists would not have met with those who suffered difficulties about the nature of their interpersonal relationship. Instead

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25 they would havemet each person individually becau se problems were viewed as stemming from neurotic or psychotic individuals in the relationship. The first mention of premarital counseling as something of value in emotional and physical health was in an article in The Journal of Obstetristics and Gynecology in 1928. From that time to the mid 1950s, literature in premarital counseling addressed physicians and made sugges tions about what to include in the premarital physical exam (Stahmann and Hiebert, 1987). Stahmann and Hiebert (1987) report that the first course titled Preparation for Marriage and Family Living was offered at Boston University inst ructed by Ernest R. Groves in 1924 and Teachers College at Columbia Univer sity offered a similar class in 1929. The first premarital program was developed at Merrill Palmer instit ute in 1932 (Carroll & Daugherty, 2003). The Philadelphia Marriage Council was the first to esta blish a standardized program in 1941 that sought to help young couples understand what companionship in married life involves (Carroll & Doherty, 2003). The 1950s and 1960s Stahmann and Hiebert (1987) note that the challenges of World War Two had a great impact on the growth of the field of psychology, particularly in advanc ing theories of human interaction and personality. The search for explana tions of schizophrenia le d psychotherapists to examine the family contexts of schizophrenic cl ients. They attended carefully to communication patterns among family members, parents in partic ular, and learned that the health of marital relationships did not solely rest on the mental health of the individuals in the marriage. Therapists also began to see that the quality of the marital relati onship was critical to the health of families. However it was stil l a rarity for mental health pr ofessionals to conduct premarital counseling.

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26 Nonetheless, conversations about premarita l counseling expanded in the 1950s and 1960s, with some writers asserting that premar ital counseling is a vi tal informational and educational service to couples, while others prom oted premarital counseling as fostering skill development (Stahmann & Hiebert, 1987). For exam ple, Butterfield assert ed that persons must develop skills that enable them to function well in marital and family relationships just as they do to function effectively in social relationships (Stahmann & Hiebert, 1987) Butterfield suggested that young people are disappointed and develop problems in marri age because they lack the skills to have a successful marriage. Stahmann and Hiebert (1987) also cite Ellis who argued that ignorance about the nature of marriag e is a cause of ma rital failure; that it is assumed that persons entering the marriage will automatically know how to adapt themselves to it, when in fact this is often not the case (Stahmann & Hiebert, 1987) Rutledge saw marriage as requiring a maturing process that nurtures adult growth and responsibility, and suggested three basic factors in preparing for marriage: discovery of selfhood, continued growth as an individual, and possession of communication and problem solving skills. The birth of family therapy attracted cler gy members who thought tr aining in this area would be beneficial for ministry to the fam ilies in their congregation. Stahmann and Hiebert (1987) cite researchers Stewart and Rutledge who recognized the e xpanding role of clergy in the 1940s and 1950s in examining and addressing the emotional readiness a nd maturity of the couple for marriage (Stahm ann & Hiebert, 1987). The 1970s Olson asserts that up until the 1970s premar ital counseling for clergy and non-clergy alike had a repair orientation and a pathological focus (Stahmann a nd Hiebert: 1987). In the 1970s there was an elevated interest by both clergy and marriage professi onals in preparing couples for marriage. Spanier and Lewis (1980) emphasized the importance of th e relationship between

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27 premarital factors and marital quality as crucial to later quality and stabil ity in marriage. The first of four factors crucial to later marital sati sfaction and stability is th e variable of homogamy, which asserts that the greater the homogamy or si milarity in social and demographic factors, the higher the marital qualities. The se cond of four factors re lates to the similarity of emotional and personal resources, such as inte rpersonal skills, emotional hea lth, positive self concept, high educational level, an older age at first marriag e, high social class, physical health and a high degree of acquaintance before marriage. The third factor said to produce higher marital satisfaction for a couple involves positive parental models and includes: high marital quality in family of origin, high level of happiness in one s childhood, and a positive relationship with his or her parents. The fourth and final factor references support from significant others, including parent approval of the future mate, each partne r liking the future in-law s, and the support of friends. Spanier and Lewis (1980) add that prem arital pregnancy, premarital sexual history, and motivation for marriage should be considered an d are moderated by the four factors (Stahmann and Hiebert, 1987). Premarital Counseling in Present Premarital counseling has grown and expande d since the 1970s, and numerous, manuals, programs, outcome research reports, inventorie s, publicity, and incentives promote premarital counseling. The high divorce and separation rates a nd the social importance of stable families is inspiring a marriage movement that is gaining momentum in the United States (Stanley, 2001). Stanley (2001) states that ther e are private organizations like the Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment, the Institute for American Values, and the Family Life Educator initiative of the National Council on Family Relations that are ac tive in protecting a nd enhancing marriage and family processes and dynamics (Stanley, 2001) Religious leaders are also becoming more

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28 concerned about the strength and pr otection of the family as they notice the negative effects of marital distress on members in their local congregations. Like never before, state and federal govern ments are advocating for strengthening and maintaining marriages. In Florida, the Marr iage Preparation and Preservation Act of 1998 promotes premarital education. This act subtra cts $32.50 from the cost of marriage licenses for couples who attend at least four hours of premarital counseling fr om an approved provider (i.e., licensed mental health counselors, marriage and family therapist, psychologists, c linical social workers and religious leaders who ha ve registered with the state). The state of Florida developed a list of topics that are recommended duri ng the premarital sessions including conflict management, financial management, communication, and children and parenti ng responsibilities. The Florida Bar also wrote a family law handbook a ddressing all aspects of the law pertaining to marriage and families; it is available to c ouples from the clerk of the circuit court upon application for a marriage license (Smart Marriages, 1996). Predicting Marital Success Larson and Holman (1994) report that predicting marital success has be en an interest of family scholars and researchers for over half a century. The authors cite major studies with premarital prediction components (i.e. Adams, 1946; Burgess & Cottrell, 1939; Burgess & Wallin, 1953; Terman & Oden, 1947). Although ma rital prediction resear ch in its beginnings was atheoretical in nature, marital prediction research has evolved t oday with theoretical developments and advances in methodologies. St udies show that the quality of interaction between the couple is highly predictive of future outcomes (Stanley & Markman, 1997) John Gottman (1999) and associates have been conducting longitudinal research regarding marriage prediction for over ten years. Gottman (1999) studied over 700 couples in evaluating what contributes to their marital success and failu re. In an article Gottman co-authored with his

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29 wife, it says that it is possible to predict divorce and marital satisfaction with over 90% accuracy using three predictors: emo tional behavior, cognition and pe rception, and physiology (Gottman & Gottman, 1999). In regards to emotional behavior, Gottman a nd Gottman (1999) assert that there are four negative interactional patterns that are most pr edictive of divorce. Gottman termed these patterns as the four horsemen of the apocalypse These patterns are criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling. By c ontrast they look for a 5 to 1 positive to negative ratio of interactions in predicti ng marital satisfaction. In using cognition and perception as predictors they look at whether the couple views their marital problems as severe, whether they expe rience loneliness and arrange parallel lives to avoid each other, and whether they believe there is no point in trying to work things out because the partner wont change. Gottman and Gottman (1999) assert that such cognitions and perceptions are predic tive of divorce. Gottman (1999) asserts that phys iological responses can also be a predictor of divorce. When people are upset and or stressed, their heart ra te rises. When ones heart rate reaches 95 to 100 beats per minute, their body secretes epinep hrine that diffuses physiological arousal. Gottman and Gottman (1999) posit that persistent diffuse physiological arous al is predictive of divorce. Stanley & Markman (1997) base predicting mar ital success on the presen ce of risk factors vs. protective factors. Risk fact ors are negative factors clearly a ssociated with greater risk of marital failure. Examples of risk factors incl ude negative interactive pa tterns and dysfunctional relationship beliefs. Protective f actors are those that add to th e chances of a couple doing well over time and are therefore targets in preventive e fforts. Examples of ma rital protective factors

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30 include enhancing friendship, in terpersonal support, and mutual dedication (Stanley & Markman, 1997). Stanley & Markman (1997) write that factor s shown to increase th e risk of marital dissolution include wives empl oyment and income, neuroticism, premarital cohabitation, difficulties in the areas of leisure activities and sexual relations, physiological arousal prior to problem-solving discussions, parental divorce, negative communication and problem-solving, religious dissimilarity, differing levels of co mmunication, and having di ssimilar attitudes. Strong signs of marital distre ss include negative reciprocit y, poor affect management, and withdrawal during pr oblem conversations. The Effectiveness of Premarital Counseling Researchers, counselors, and family life edu cators are faced with th e question of the longterm effectiveness of premarital counseling. Be cause little longitudina l research has been conducted evaluating marital satisfaction among those who received premarital counseling. However, there is evidence of effectiveness in premarital counseling in some studies, notably the landmark meta-analysis by Gibli n, Sprinkle, and Sheehan, in 1985. Giblin, Sprenkle, and Sheehan (1985) conduc ted a meta-analysis of 85 programs of premarital, marital, and family interventions. This study, representing 3,886 couples, serves as a foundational study supporting the effectiveness of marriage preparation/premarital counseling. The study yielded an average effect size of .44 w ith a 95% confidence interval. When measuring the premarital area alone the effect size was .53. The authors summarize the conclusion of their study by stating: The findings of the present study provide the most comprehensive data base for existing enrichment research. Based on the 85 studies included in this meta-analysis, enri chment produces an average affect size of .44. This number is a sta ndard deviation unit, which is equivalent to a Z-score. By referring to a Z-table, this figure represents

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31 an area of normal distribution curve of 67%, which is the difference between treatment and control means. Thus, the average person participating in enrichment is better off than 67% of persons who do not. If enrichment was not effective, there would be an e ffect size of 0 (Giblin, Sprenkle, and Sheehan, 1985) Carroll and Doherty (2003) conducted another meta-analysis, reporting favorable results about the effectiveness of premar ital counseling. The authors resu lts revealed a .80 mean effect size for premarital counseling meaning that the av erage person who participates in a premarital counseling program is significantly better off th an 79% of people who do not participate in a premarital program. Cole and Cole (1999) assert that the gr eatest hope for helping couples achieve the satisfying marriages they want lie s in prevention programs and strength based therapy programs. Stahmann (2000) writes that no studies have shown a negative affect in participating in marital preparation program s. Stanley and Markman (1997) at Creighton University, report on premarital preparation in the Catholic Church. These researchers found that within the first four years of marriage 80% of those surveyed reporte d training as valuable. Sullivan and Bradbury (1997) found that 90% of couples that had taken premarital counseling would do so again. Guerney and Maxson (1990) agree that en richment programs are effective. The researchers asserted that in regards to marriag e enrichment programs, the field is entirely legitimate, and no more research need s to be done regarding the issue. Premarital Counseling Providers Silliman and Schumm (1999) observe that pr emarital counseling is provided by clergy, professional counselors, parapr ofessionals, and counseling trai nees. Premarital counseling research and literature (Barlow, 1999; Murra y, 2004; Stanley & Markman, 1997) continually reports that clergy provide 75 to 80% of the pr emarital counseling offered. Silliman, Schumm, and Jurichs (1992) study reporte d that most people desire clergy as a premarital counseling

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32 provider. Stahmann (2000) lends support, notin g that premarital counseling has not been identified as a regular part of the clinical practice of todays family therapists. Silliman, Schumm, and Jurich (1992) write that premarital c ounseling provider traits most valued by consumers are that the provider be we ll trained and respectful. On the contrary the least desirable traits of providers are lack of openness and probi ng into the private lives of the couple. Silliman and Schumm (1999) add that providers should be open, warm, professionally competent, and able to provide confidentiality. The authors stress the im portance of professional competence over the providers marital status. Time of Counseling, Number of Sessions, and Length of Sessions. Russell and Lyster (1992) asse rt that the timing of counseling has an impact on the satisfaction levels. Couples whose wedding date was close to the counseling received reported less satisfaction. The authors report that coupl es receiving counseling less than two months before the wedding took fewer risks in talking ab out troublesome issues and learning new skills than those receiving counseling more than two months before their wedding date. Silliman and Schumm (1999) suggest that premarital counseli ng should take place four to twelve months before the wedding, stating that new learning may pose a threat to wedding plans or established relationship patterns. They be lieve that couples can benefit from premarital counseling in all stages of their relationship; how ever, they should be advised of the risks of last minute training. There are a variety of assertions in premar ital counseling research about the length and number of premarital counseling sessions. D uncan, Box, & Silliman ( 1996), in their study of Black and White college students, report that consumers prefer one to six hours of counseling. Williams, Riley, Risch, and Dyke (2000) conducted a study and found that eight to nine sessions are ideal. Silliman, Schumm, and Jurich ( 1992) conducted a study of 185 undergraduates that

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33 reveals that 3-4 hours in premar ital counseling is preferred and options involving more than six hours produced significantly lower mean scores for desirability. Silliman and Schumm (1999) report that there are differences in th e length and amount of sessions, depending on the type of premarital counse ling program. The authors state that church based programs are usually shorter, rarely exceed ing six hours. They also note that school or community programs are longer than church base d programs, often requiring more than eight hours. Finally, Silliman and Schumm (1999) state that research-based programs are the longest, usually ranging from 10 to 30 hours of training. The authors a dd that weekend formats work well. The authors report the same for shor t sessions that occur over several weeks. Content of Premarital Counseling Premarital counseling content is one of the most research ed and published aspects of premarital counseling. Various authors write about the content of premarital counseling. Risch, Riley, and Lawler (2003) note that content ar eas for PMC include: communication, conflict resolution, marital expectations, role differentiation, sexuality, fi nances, parents and in-laws, parenting, leisure, and religion. Stahmann (2000) asserts that im portant topics include marriage quality/stability, family of origin influe nces, finance/budgeting, communication, decisionmaking, intimacy, parenting, and sexuality. Stan ley and Markman (1997) report a survey study by the Center for Marriage and Family noting th at the top three content areas for PMC in rank order are communication, commitment and conflict resolution. The Center for Marriage and Family also reports research that asserts the ro le of religion, values a nd children are important topics for children. Stanley and Markmans (1997) research points toward the importance of targeting such content areas as communication (interactiona l patterns), conflict management, attitudes and beliefs, and core beliefs pertaining to marriage. Russell and Lyster (1992) agree, noting that

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34 aspects of couple relationships include, but ar e not limited to, parenting, economic management, relations with friends and family, ways of managing conflict, and communication styles. Valiente, Belanger, and Estrada ( 2002) give further support with their study. These researchers asked 56 individuals to identify three intervention s that would help their relationship and report that communication and problem solving are th e aspects of premarital counseling that people find most helpful. Duncan, Box, & Sillima n, (1996) mention parent ing skills, resolving differences, and effective listeni ng as the most desirable topics in premarital counseling. The authors also reference research by Koval et al (1992) that found that the most cited topics desired in marriage preparati on are communication skills, probl em solving strategies, having children, preventing violence, and identifying st rengths and weaknesses in the relationship. African American Families and Premarital Counseling Silliman and Schumm (1999) report that little attention is paid in premarital counseling research to the needs of premarital counseling clients and what they want to obtain from premarital counseling. This is especially true of research that assesses the needs of non-white audiences. The vast majority of the studies in premarital counseling are based on middle class Caucasians. Carroll and Dohertys (2003) meta-a nalytic review of outco me research looking at 13 prevention programs revealed that the sample s in the research are almost exclusively young, European-American, middle-class couples. S o, the authors caution providers against generalizing this information to diverse populations. This lack of sample diversity is one of the most glaring issues of research in premar ital counseling because non-white groups make up a third of the US population (Carro ll & Doherty, 2003). Duncan, Box and Silliman, (1996) in a study of Black and White college students, found that Blacks reported a greater need than Whites for marriage preparation. Strikingly, the authors also discovered that Blacks have less awareness of marriage preparation programs in general and

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35 the norms surrounding them in particular. Ooms and Wilson (2004) write that because African Americans live life differently than Caucasia n Americans, African American couples need programs and inventories that are designed for them and about them or at least with them in mind. African American family dynamics and struct ure differ from Caucasian in the number of single-family households, marriage rates, separa tion rates, and divorce ra tes. Shipler (1997) illustrates that the lives of African Americans and Caucasians in America are different. Sue and Sue (1999) write that 82% of Blacks have no liv e-in father in the home compared to 43% Whites, and 47% of black males are single, divorced, or widowed co mpared to 28% White males. Saxton (1996) notes that Blacks have hi gher rates of separati on and divorce rates than any other ethnic groups in the Unit ed States. He continues by noting about two-thirds of black children compared to one in five white children are born out of wedlock. Saxton (1996) further writes that 39% of black children live with both parents compared to 76% of white children. Ooms and Wilson (2004) present mo re findings in their article The Challenges of Offering Relationship and Marriage Education to Low Income Populations noting in particular that in 1950, 64% of Blacks and 68% of whites were ma rried compared with 59% Whites and 44% Black in 2002. Not only are African Americans ma rrying less frequently but more who do marry are divorcing and separating than do Caucasians who marry (Ooms & Wilson, 2004). The authors add that African Americans adverse ci rcumstances of high mort ality, high incarceration, high joblessness, and high rates of having a child out of wedlock contribu tes to their being less likely to get married or stay married (Ooms & Wilson, 2004).

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36 The Black Church Douglas and Hopson (2001) state that the Blac k Church is a multitudinous community of churches, diversified by origin, denominati on, doctrine, worshipping culture, spiritual expression, class, size, and othe r less-obvious factors that shar e a special history, culture, and role in black life. They further a ssert that the Black Church plays a pervasive role in the lives of black people as a conserver of mo rals and a strengthener of family life, often standing as the final authority on what is Good and Right (Douglas & Hopson, 2001). Lincoln & Mamiya (1990) add that historically, the Black Church has been the most important a nd dominant institutional phenomenon in the black community. The authors re port that as far back as the ending of the civil war, the Black Church has assisted th e black community, teaching economic rationality, promoting education, and helping keep families t ogether. Contrasting the Black Church with white churches, Lincoln and Mamiya (1990) write th at while civil and soci al concerns reflect a Samaritan impulse in many white ch urches; such concerns are inte gral to what it means to be church in the Black church. The Black church is the cultural womb of the black community giving birth to new institutions like schools, ba nks, and low income housing, and it nurtures and supports young talent for musical, dramatic, and artistic development. The black church is engaged in most spheres of black life. Lincoln and Mamiya (1990) stat e that The Church of God in Christ (COGIC), African Methodist Episcopal (AME), National Bapt ist Convention USA (NBC), National Baptist Convention of America (NBCA), and the Progres sive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) are among the seven major historically black denominati ons. It is estimated that 20 to 25% of all black churches are rural. This is a high percen tage considering the rural black population. It is not uncommon for rural clergy to pastor more th an one church. Rural church members seldom receive the kind of pastoral attention such as c ounseling, pastoral visits, and pastoral leadership

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37 as do members in urban and suburban churches. Lower class, uneducated Black people make up a large part of black rural c hurches (Lincoln & Mamiya, 1990). Lincoln and Mamiya (1990) estimate that appr oximately 95% of clergy in black churches are male with an average age of 51 years old. The authors also note that most African American Clergy have completed high school. Li ncoln and Mamiya (1990) estimate that 42.9% of the pastors of rural churches and 57.9% of the pastors of ur ban churches are full time pastors without any other occupati on (Lincoln & Mamiya, 1990). Clergy Stanley and Markman (1997) believe that re ligious organizations comprise the single largest array of institutions in our culture that have both great interest in preventing marital breakdown and the capability to de liver premarital inte rvention. They support their assertion in stating that most people get marri ed under the auspices of a religious organization. Furthermore, religious organizations are more embedded in th eir respective cultures th an other organizations, and cultural resistances and barrier s, which other institutions may encounter, are likely to be greatly lessened because of it. Markman et al (2004) concur st ating that clergy and laypersons represent a passionate group of practitioners with access to many couples for premarital counseling; they are unlikely to r ead scientific journals but are receptive to summarizations of research. Barlow (1999) writes that the Cat holic Church has operate d a program for engaged couples for over 30 years; some churches ev en offer premarital Sunday school classes. Barlow (1999) believes that change concer ning premarital counseling must take place in the church in order to help combat the incr easing divorce rate. She obs erves that many clergy do not have the time or training to carryout e ffective premarital counseling. Although, some denominations have included instructions to past ors about the necessity of preparing couples for marriage, detailed steps to follow are not provide d. Clergy are not instructed on specific issues

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38 to be discussed or the amount of sessions nece ssary, and are not given guidelines on how to conduct premarital counseling. This leads to premarital counseli ng that is inconsistent and ineffective. Barlow (1999) also asserts that b ecause of the amount of time given to other duties and responsibilities, pastors may not have time to devote six sessions to each couple. In addition, ministers may feel undertrained and think they are not providing the best counseling possible (Barlow, 1999). Silliman and Schumm (1999) add that few seminaries or graduate schools train students in marriage prepar ation, resulting in clergy ambivalence. Campion (1982) notes the difficulty clergy may ha ve in addressing sexuality as a topic due to embarrassment, and lack of knowledge, and breadth. He recommends questions on 1) sexual history; 2) sexual honesty; 3) birth control/medical exam; 4) marital sex; 5) spiritual considerations (but nothing on guilt, compatibility, or satisfaction criteria ). He further proposes discussions based on male and female responsivene ss, sex role differences and consequences for sex education and relationships. Other points of discussion include the broad definition of sexuality, obstacles of sexual exploitation/vi olence, idealization, a nd the naturalism myth. Finally he recommends rehearsing several male/f emale differences: 1) sight (M) and sound (F) stimulation; 2) briefer male arous al time; 3) mood influences (F) and misinterpretations; 4) male and female orgasmic experiences; 5) male and fe male "sexual peaks;" 6) physical and emotional meanings of sex. He also notes importance of communication process about sex and intimacy. Silliman and Schumm (1999) points out that clergy and many religiously oriented premarital counseling programs are particularly concerned with moral teaching, evangelism, screening and approval for marriage, and weddi ng rehearsals. In many cases, religiously oriented young adults are unint erested in including such components in their premarital counseling. Furthermore counseli ng with clergy can cause anxiet y for some clients who fear

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39 they will be criticized for their lifestyle and/or be denied a wedding service (Silliman & Schumm, 1999). Use of Assessments Research in Premarital thera py has provided couples and counselors with a vast amount of tools, techniques, assessments, and program s. Williams, Riley, Risch, and Van Dyke (2000) found that using a premarital counseling invent ory along with discussion between partners is reported as the most helpful component of pr emarital counseling. Silliman and Schumm (1999) assert that individual and couple strengths and ne eds should be assessed in premarital counseling. The authors further posit that this assessment can be formal or informal but it should address couple dynamics that predict marital outcomes a nd are amenable to behavioral change (i.e. conflict resolution and patterns of communication). Larson and Holman (1995) note that an adequate assessment should be 1) primarily or exclusively designed for assessing the premarital relationship, 2) reliable and valid, and 3) easy to ad minister and interpret. There are three widely used and psychometric ally sound premarital inventories that will now be reviewed: The Premarital Persona l and Relationship Evaluation (PREPARE), Preparation for Marriage (PREP-M) also referred to as Relationship Evaluation or RELATE, and Facilitating Open Couple Comm unication, Understanding and Study (FOCCUS). They will be described in terms of content, usage, psychom etric properties, and sampling demographics. Halford (2004) write s in her article The Future of Couple Relationship Education: Suggestions on How It Can Make a Difference that PREPARE, RELATE, and FOCCUS are the most widely used inventories. The author fu rther reports that these three in ventories assess a broad range of couple functioning dimensions and provide the couple with systema tic feedback about the results of the assessment. Halford (2004) menti ons that the PREPARE, FOCCUS, and RELATE

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40 instruments predict the trajectory of relationship satisfaction in early years of marriage. Each inventory measures a number of factors that are relevant to relationship outcomes. PREPARE PREPARE is a 125 item inventory designed to identify relationship strengths and work areas in 11 different relations hip areas. These areas incl ude: realistic expectations, communication, conflict manageme nt, children and marriage, se xual relationship, family and friends, leisure activities, equalita rian roles, religious orientati on, personality issues and financial management (Fowers & Olson, 1986). According to Larson and his associates, a major strength of PREPARE is that it is short and comprehensiv e. In contrast, the authors mention that a weakness is that PREPARE is an expensive measurement inventory (Larson & Holman, 1995). PREPARE is proven to be valid. PREPARE is al so proven to be reliable with an internal consistency reliability (alpha) averaged .70 and a test retest reliability average of .78 (Fowers & Olson, 1986). The participants in the origin al study consisted of 164 coupl es (328 individuals). The average age of the husbands was 25.2 and the aver age age of the wives were 23.2. The median income was $14,400 annually. Couples were prim arily white and were Christian (Fowers & Olson, 1986). Presently over 1,000,000 couples have used PREPARE (www.lifeinnovations.com ). There are other versions of PREPARE available to co uples. There is a version for couples with children (PREPARE-MC) as well as for couples who are cohabitating together (PREPARE-CC). There are also several different translations fo r the PREPARE, including those in German and Japanese (www.lifeinnovations.com).

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41 PREP-M The PREP-M is another well-known inventory. The PREP-M was developed in 1980 and originally called The Marital Invent ories. During this time the te st had over 350 items that were designed for unmarried couples. The 1986 revisi on of the marital inventories became known as the PREP-M (Holman, Larson, & Harmer, 1994). The PREP-M measures factors in five broad areas: couple unity in values, a ttitudes, and beliefs; partner readiness for marriage; background and home environment factors; personal readin ess for marriage; and couple readiness for marriage (Larson & Holman, 1995). According to Larson and Holman., the PREP-M is one of the most comprehensive and least expensive inst ruments available to premarital couples and others (Larson & Holman, 1995). In 1989 the PREP-M was a 204-item test that took about 45 minutes to complete. Something different about PREP-M is that it co uld be used with friends, family, or even strangers as well as dating or engaged couples (Holman, Larson, & Harmer, 1994). The PREPM was also found to be reliable and valid. There were 103 couples (206 indi viduals) that participated in the development of the PREP-M. Sixty-eight percent of the participants grew up in the western United States. Seventytwo percent of the participants ha d some form of college education. The ages of the participants ranged from 17-48 years old. The mean age of al l the participants was 22 years old. Ninety-five percent of the participants in th is study were Caucasian. Eighty percent of the participants were Mormon (Holman, Larson, & Harmer, 1994). The PREP-M has now developed further and in 1997 the name changed to RELATE (Relationship Evaluation) assessment. Carroll (2 001) notes that RELATE is divided into four main subsystems: the individual subsystem (pers onality characteristics, styles of interacting, values, and beliefs); the couple subsystem (couple communication, pattern of interacting, conflict

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42 resolution); the familial context (parents couple relationship, parent-child relationships, overall family tone); and the cultural context (social support, race, socioeconomic status, religion, cultural beliefs) (C arroll, 2001). FOCCUS FOCCUS is a 156 item assessment thatwas published by the Archdiocese of Omaha Nebraska. FOCCUS was designed to help couples learn and explore more about themselves and their relationship. It was designed to help coupl es work through certain pertinent issues before marriage. Larsen and Holman (1995) write that the inventory covers se veral areas including: lifestyle expectations, personality match, personal issues, problem solving, religion and values, parenting issues, marriage covena nt, financial issues, and readin ess issues (Larson and Holman, 1995). FOCCUS can be administered to groups or individuals and is available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, French, Portuguese, Polish, and It alian. FOCCUS is also available in Braille, on audiotape, and in sign language on video (www.foccusinc.com ). FOCCUS has been used many times in a variety of contexts and has proven to be valid and reliable (www.foccusinc.com ). FOCCUS was updated in 1997 with cohabitating couples items and was revised in 2000 based on items re lated to spirituality and religion (www.foccusinc.com ). A Move Toward Diversity There is recent research (A sai & Olson, 2004) emphasizing a cr oss-cultural perspective in premarital counseling. Each of the three ques tionnaires mentioned in the paper have been translated into other languages. However, mo re emphasis needs to be placed in making these inventories multiculturally sensit ive in additional ways. Language makes up only a small part of any individual or couples culture. These instrume nts and inventories need to be revised in light of the values, belief, and customs of each cult ure. Shuji Asai and Da vid Olson make several powerful assertions regarding this issue in their article Culturally Sensitive Adaptation of

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43 PREPARE with Japanese Premarital Couples. The first assertion the authors make is that studies that examine the issue of premarital re lationships using crosscultural populations are needed, particularly since most premarital research in the United States is based on predominantly white samples. Asai and Olson (2004) believe that many premarital inventories lack cultural applicability due to the lack of effort to establish cultural sensitivity and applicability through a carefully de signed adaptation process. They report that in their research, PREPARE was changed only in some sections rather drastically in an effort to be culturally sensitive to Japanese couples. Th ey note that it is rare that c ontent experts from Caucasian and other ethnic minorities collaborate together to dis cern the cultural applicability of the inventories originally based on Caucasian normative sampling. They cite Gottman (1994) in declaring that it is essential that family researchers place current premarital relationship issues in the historical and cultural contexts in which particular familial structures are imbedded. Conclusion Change in the content and pers pective of premarital counseling is greatly needed for nonwhite populations, particularly for providers of premarital counseling to African American couples. Research suggests (Sullivan & Bradbury, 1997; Silliman & Schumm, 1999) that approximately 75% of premarital counseling is pr ovided by clergy. The authors assert that many clergy feel ambivalent about thei r preparation for premarital couns eling because it is not covered in most seminaries. Sullivan & Bradbury (1997) posit that continued efforts are needed for marital therapists to work with churches to improve their premarital counseling programs. In most cases, counseling services fo r African Americans will be provi ded at the black church by an African American pastor. There are a signifi cant number of African American pastors who never attended seminary. Because fewer African American pastors attend seminary, and a small number of seminaries or graduate schools provi de training in marriage preparation programming,

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44 it is unlikely that African American pastors have any training in premarita l counseling. One is left to wonder what are the beliefs, attitudes, and current practices of African American pastors in premarital counseling. Silliman & Schumm (1999) note that almost no research has been done that has assessed the needs of non-white audiences or offered progr amming from a multicultura l perspective. The authors assert that more research is needed th at considers and emphasizes the needs of non-white clients. Silliman & Schumm (1999) state that the needs of minorit ies remain unclear today. Sue and Sue (1999) write if counselors are to pr ovide meaningful help to a culturally diverse population, they must develop new culturally ef fective helping appro aches. I believe that premarital counseling is more effec tive when it is contextually and culturally sensitive. A way to accomplish this goal is to work with African Am erican pastors in developing programs that are empirically supported programs that address the sp ecial issues of their congregation. The first step in this process is to identify the attitudes, beliefs, values and curre nt practices of African American pastors in premarital counseling.

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45 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Statement of Purpose The purpose of this study was to (a) descri be the background charac teristics of African American Clergy who provide premarital counsel ing in the Black Church, (b) assess African American Clergy attitudes and beliefs about the necessity, importance, and value of premarital counseling in their local congr egations and denominations, (c ) assess the African American Clergy perceived self efficacy in providing certain aspects of pr emarital counseling, (d) determine African American Clergy desire for training in premarital counseling, (e) compare African American Clergy premarital counseling c ontent to the content for premarital counseling supported by research, (f) compare African Amer ican Clergy premarital counseling style with the style of premarital counseling supported by re search, (g) assess the influence of African American Clergy demographic factors on the cont ent of their premarital counseling sessions, (h) assess the influence of African American Clergy demographic factors on their style of premarital counseling, and (i) assess cl ergy belief about their role in premarital counseling. Variables The independent variables included (a) whethe r the African American Clergy had received specialized training in premarital counseling, (b) religious affiliation/denomination, (c) age, and (d) other related professional trai ning of African American Clergy. One set of dependent variables, the content of premarital coun seling sessions, included (a) conflict resolution, (b) communicat ion, (c) finances, (d) parenti ng, (e) family, (f) friends, (d) leisure, (e) commitment, (f) family of origin, (g) gender roles within the marriage (h) religion, and (i) the sexual relationship.

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46 Another set of dependent variables, included (a ) African American Cler gies feelings about being adequately prepared to provide premarita l counseling, (b) their de sires for training in premarital counseling, and (c) their willingness to collaborate with mental health professionals in regards to premarital counseling. Research Design This study used a cross sectional mixed mode survey research me thodology. Cresswells (2005) report that cross sectional studies examine current attitudes, beliefs, opinions, or practices supports this decision. Dillmans (2000) tailo red design methods were utilized with a multimode survey using phone, Internet, and face-to-f ace paper and pencil surveys. The tailored design method is a way to develop surveys and design survey studies taking into account respondent trust, reward and cost in order to reduce survey error. The study participants (African American Pastors/Clergy) received a survey instrument that included their demographic information investigates their beliefs, attitudes, preparati on and practices in premarital counseling. Population The population of this study was comprised of African American Clergy who were pastors of predominantly black churches and who pr ovided premarital counsel ing to their local congregation. The pastors are comprised of vari ous denominations within the context of the black church. The three largest predominantly African American denominations were The Church of God In Christ, Baptist, and African Me thodist Episcopal so the majority of the sample came from these denominations. Sampling Procedure Data Collection began after receiving approval of this study by the Un iversity of Florida Institutional Review Board. Pa stors were surveyed using th ree methods. The researcher

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47 surveyed pastors in person by a ttending conferences where they were gathered, through online surveys, and surveys conducted by phone. Because very little is found in the literature concerning African American clergy and premarit al counseling, the goal of this study was to obtain a sample size of 300 persons. For this reason, the snowball sampling method was used as the sampling method. Creswell (2005) described snowball sampling as a type of nonprobability sampling that is an alternative to convenience samp ling where the researcher asks participants to identify other possible participants. Creswell (2 005) further states that this sampling method can yield a large number or pa rticipants for the study. Key contact persons within the churches of various denominations were utilized. These contact persons received a lett er by email or by hand (See appendix B) asking them to provide contact information for pastors whom they referred to the study. These ke y contact persons also received a letter (see appendix C) explaining th e purpose of the research and asking for support that they gave to those persons they referred to the study. I also obtai ned contact information from online denominational directories and those c hurches that are listed in online yellow pages and phone books. Person to Person Paper Surveys Using contacts throughout various denomina tions, I attended severa l conferences where African American Clergy gather for enrichment I spoke to the conference coordinators and participators asking them to announce or to a llow me to announce my presence and purpose at their conference. I also conducted free workshops at one conference in particular on the topic of premarital counseling. In the case of the work shop, I asked that the surveys be done before hearing me present to avoid bias on the survey. In the cases where there were no workshops, I set up an area where I was able to explain my research and ask pastors to take the time to fill out the survey. I also gave the pastors the option of filling out the survey online.

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48 Online Surveys Church and clergy e-mail addresses were obtained from Internet Church and denominational directories and ot her clergy who referred clergy to the study by forwarding the email I originally sent. The African American Cl ergy (AAC) were sent an email explaining who I was, the purpose of this researc h, and asking their part icipation in this research study. The email sent to AAC included a link to the online survey, as well as my contact information inviting them to contact me for further questions as need ed; they could also request a copy of the results of the study if they so desired. The survey itse lf was designed in a manner that was considered to be user friendly for those with minimal computer skills (Dillman, 2000). Survey Monkey, a web company that hosts surveys online maintained the site where African American Clergy went to complete the survey. Telephone Surveys Nelson (1996) asserts that phone interviews are effective wh en a large number of people must be interviewed. Since many pastors are not internet savvy, a few people were hired and trained to call African American Clergy and to as k them to participate in the study. To make African American Clergy feel more comfortable taking the surv ey by phone, the people trained to call clergy were selected based upon there kno wledge of the Black Church and its culture and language. These individuals were given a script (see appendix D) as to what they were to say on the phone before reading the survey. A script fo r leaving a message was also provided for those making the phone calls. I acquired a list of pastors contact inform ation from key contact people in various denominations. I also discovered pho ne numbers from Internet searches. Those interviewing by phone were asked to put a CP in th e corner of the upper righ t side of the paper to note the person was contacted by phone. A c onfidential phone log (see appendix F) was maintained by the callers to help them keep track of who they called and when they called.

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49 Instrumentation The Black Clergy Premarital Counseling Surv ey (BCPCS) is a 54 question survey. The survey requests African American Pastors dem ographic information, their attitudes and beliefs about premarital counseling, thei r confidence in premarital counse ling, and the topics they think are important to cover in premarital counseling. To establish content validity, three license d marriage and family therapy professionals reviewed the BCPCS and provide d suggestions on possible revi sions. The survey was then given to five African American Clergy. The clergy were asked the following after looking at the survey: 1) Is there anything about the survey that was unclear to you, 2) Is there any part of the survey that seemed offensive to you, 3) What are you thoughts about the length of the survey, 4) What are your thoughts about the ap pearance of the survey, 5) Is there anything you think should or should not be included in the survey, and 6) Do you have any other comments, questions, or suggestions regarding this survey? Revisions were then made according to the feedback and suggestions from the clergy. Because the BCPCS is basically a questionnaire to gather information, it was decided that a pilot test of the instrument was not needed. See the copy of the BCPCS in appendix A. Operational Research Questions and Hypotheses The following research questions and hypothese s were evaluated in the data analyses: Research question 1: What are the bac kground characteristics and demographics of African American Clergy (AAC) providers of premarital counseling based on responses on the BCPCS? Research question 2: What topics do AAC feel are most and least important in premarital counseling? Research question 3: What is the level of confidence of AAC teaching and or discussing certain topics in premarital counseling?

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50 Research question 4: What are AACs attit udes and beliefs about premarital counseling and their preparation to do premarital counseling? Research question 5: Are there differences in AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling base d on AAC demographics (whether or not the AAC has received specialized training in PMC, age, church size, level of education/training, and church denomination)? Ho(1): There will be a difference in AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling based on whet her or not AAC has received specialized training. Ho(2): There will be no difference in AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling based on AAC church denomination. Ho(3): There will be a difference in AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling based on AAC age. Ho(4): There will be a difference in AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseli ng based on AACs church size. Ho(5): There will be a difference in AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling based on AACs level of education/training. Research question 6: What is the relati onship between AACs assessment of importance of aspects of premarital couns eling and their confidence pr oviding counseling in those particular aspects? Research question 7: What is the relations hip between AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling and AAC attitudes assessed in the BCPCS (would like more training, support mo re clergy and family counselors working together, feeling adequately prepared to provide premarital couns eling and welcoming a PMC manual or program crea ted for black clergy)? Ho(6): There will not be a positive re lationship between AACs level of confidence providing certain aspects and th eir attitudes and beliefs a bout premarital counseling and their a preparation to do premarital counseling. Data Analysis Descriptive statistics were calculated fo r the African American Clergy demographic variables. Means and standard deviations were calculated for each of the continuous variables (i.e. age, length of sessions, number of sessions ). Frequencies and per centages were calculated for each categorical variable (i.e. whether or no t the clergy has received specialized training in

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51 premarital counseling, level of education/training, church si ze, church location, church denomination). Psychometric properties were determined fo r the BCPCS. The BCP CS content validity was determined by a review of the BCPCS by two marriage and family therapists who are professors. A group of five pastor s were asked to take the survey and provide feedback about its clarity, length, and formatting style. A rank ordered means of analysis was used to answer question three. Mean scores for all the topics were calculated for each of the topics. The topics were then ranked according to their means for all African American Clergy. An ANOVA was used to answer question f our assessing AACs confidence, and question five assessing AACs attitudes and beliefs about premarital counseling. Nelson (1996) notes that ANOVAs are appropriate statistical tests to use in survey res earch to answer likert scale questions. Several ANOVAs were conducted to test hypoth esis based on research question six, which corresponds to hypothesis one through five. Because age was not a cat egorical variable in this study, correlation analysis was used to analy ze the relationship of age and AAC confidence. A correlation analysis was conducted to determin e if there is a relationship between AACs assessment of importance of aspects of premar ital counseling and th eir confidence providing counseling in those particular aspects for question seven. The same statistic was used to determine if there is a relationship between AACs level of confiden ce in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling and AAC attitudes assessed in the BCPCS for question eight.

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52 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS The results of a survey of African American/B lack Clergy are presented in this chapter. The survey assessed the attitudes, beliefs, preparation, and practices of Black clergy in premarital counseling. First, the background and demographic ch aracteristics of the sample are presented. Next, the analysis of each re search question in this study is discussed including the following: (a) AACs assessmen t of the relative importance of topics in premarital counseling; (b) AACs level of conf idence in teaching and/ or discussing specific topics in premarital counseling; (c) AACs atti tudes and beliefs about premarital counseling; (d) AACs preparation to do premarital c ounseling; (e) The rela tionship between AAC demographic information (whether or not the AAC has received specialized training in PMC, age, church size, level of e ducation/training, and church deno mination) and th eir level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premar ital counseling; (f) th e relationship between AACs assessment of the importance of aspects of premarital counseli ng and their confidence providing counseling in those part icular aspects; (g) the relatio nship between AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of prem arital counseling and AAC attitudes assessed in the BCPCS (i.e., would like more training; support more clergy and family counselors working together; feeling adequately prep ared to provide premarital counseling and welcoming a PMC manual or pr ogram created specifically for black clergy). Lastly, AACs responses to the open ended question on the BCPCS are reported. All tables referred to in this chapter are located at the end of the chapter. Sample Demographics The first research question examined th e background information of Black/African American Clergy. Because of the difficulty in quantifying an exact number in the population, the lack of information about African American clergy in counseling re search, and the desire

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53 to gain information from as many African Amer ican clergy as possible, a convenience sample method was chosen. The Black clergy in this study represented se veral denominations, church locations, and congregation sizes. The Church of God in Ch rist (the denominati on of the re searcher) comprised 56.9% of the respondents, African Me thodist Episcopal and Baptist denominations each made up 8% of the participants. Nonde nominational churches comprised 10.2% of the sample, and 17.1% of respondents represented congreg ations that did not f it in either of these categories (Table 1). In terms of marital st atus, 63.5% of the clergy were in their first marriage, 22.4% had remarried after the death of a wife or a divor ce, 4.1% were widowed and had not remarried, 5% had never married, and 5% were divorced and had not remarried (Table 2). The age of the respondents ranged from 19 to 86 years with the average age being 49.5 years. The median and modal age was 51 years and 50 years respectively. Males comprised 84.9% of the sample and females made up 15.1% (Table 3). Most of the sample 97.5 % was from the United States. Other countries represented in this study were Jamaica, Canada, England, St. Kitt and Nigeria (Table 4). Approximately half of the clergy who particip ated in this study se rved churches that were located in rural areas (47%). Clergy serving in inner city /impoverished neighborhoods comprise 26.1%. The remaining 26.9% of the sa mple served in suburban areas or upper middle class areas near large cities (Table 5). In terms of the number of people in the various congregations, 31.1% of the respond ents report being from church es with less than 50 people. 26% of the participants are from church es having 50 to 100 and 100 to 300 members respectively. Less than 10% of the clergy in this study served churches with over 500 members (Table 6).

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54 The Black clergy in the sample also had various levels of ministerial training. Approximately half (53.3%) had earned a se minary degree, 40.9% re ported certification based on training received within thei r church or denomination, 26.9% based on mentorship/apprenticeship trai ning, 18.6% were self educated and 8.7% indicated other means of education (Table 7). The educational achievements of the Black clergy in the sample ranged from one without a high school di ploma to 9 PhD degrees (Table 8). A small percentage of the sample 3.8% had earned a Ph D, 23% a masters degree, 27.6% a bachelors degree 14.2% an associates degree, and 22.2% a high school diploma. Only one respondent reported never having graduated from high school (.4%). More Black clergy reported not having completed specialized training in premarital counseling (53.3%) than those that reported completing such traini ng (46.7%) (Table 9) Of the clergy who reported having had some pr eparation for premarital counseling, 29.5% completed a seminary class, 59.8% cited their reading program, and 9.4% reported no training at all (Table 10). AACs Assessment of Relative Importance of Topics in Premarital Counseling Question two dealt with Black Clergys assessment of relative importance of certain topics in premarital counseling. The responses ranged from 1 which indicated the topic was of absolutely no importance to 5 which indica ted that it was extremely important. Mean scores were calculated for each topic liste d on the Black Clergy Premarital Counseling Survey (Table 11). The topics rated as mo st important by clergy are couple communication, with a mean of 4.96 and a standard deviation of .21, couple commitment to the marriage, with a mean of 4.94 and standard deviation of 0.25, and conflict resolution, with a mean of 4.85 and a standard deviation of 0.40. The topics selected as least important were maintenance of friendships outside of the marriage, with a mean of 3.88 and a standard deviation of 0.74,

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55 maintenance of extended family relationships, with a mean of 4.15 and a standard deviation of 0.73, and family of origin issues, with a mean of 4.19 and a standard deviation of 0.81. AACs Level of Confidence of Teaching and or Discussing Certain To pics in Premarital Counseling Question four dealt with Black Clergys assessment of their c onfidence in teaching, addressing and discussing various topics in premarital coun seling. The responses ranged from 1 which indicated s/he was not at all conf ident to 5 which indicated s/he was extremely confident. Mean scores of clergy confidence were calculated for each topic listed on the Black Clergy Premarital Counseling Survey (see ta ble 12). The topics clergy rated as most confidenct in addressing were (a) couples co mmitment to the marriage, with a mean of 4.68 and standard deviation of 0.50, (b ) Couples expectation/gender role s, with a mean of 4.45 and a standard deviation of 0.61, and (c) Parenting issues, with a mean of 4.43 and a standard deviation of 0.64. The topics sele cted as areas in which clergy had the least confidence were (a) maintenance of friendships out side of the marriage, with a mean of 4.09 and a standard deviation of 0.76, (b) maintenance of extended fa mily relationships, with a mean of 4.13 and a standard deviation of 0.73, and (c) family of origin issues, with a mean of 4.16 and a standard deviation of 0.75. AACs Attitudes and Beliefs about Premarital Counseling and their Preparation to do Premarital Counseling Black Clergy answered a variety of ques tions soliciting their thoughts, beliefs and attitudes about premarital counse ling. The responses were base d on a Likert scale with 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neither ag ree nor disagree, 4 = ag ree, and 5 = strongly agree (Table 13). Eighty-four percent of clergy strongly agreed that premarital counseling should be mandatory before marriage. While 12% agreed, 3% neither agreed nor disagreed and only one person disagreed that premarita l counseling should be mandatory before marriage. The average response for this question was 4.81. When asked if premarital

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56 counseling helps build strong marriages 69% of clergy strongly agreed, 25% agreed, 6% neither agreed nor disagreed, and only one pers on disagreed. The average response for this question was 4.62. Clergy were also questioned if they thought premar ital counseling helped prevented divorce; 42% strongly agreed, 33% ag reed, 19% neither agreed nor disagreed, 4% disagreed, and 3% strongly disagreed. The av erage response for this question was 4.07. In regards to specialized traini ng, 50%of the clergy responding st rongly agreed to desiring more specialized training in premarital couns eling, 36% agreed, 10% neither agreed nor disagreed, 4% disagreed and 1% strongly disagreed. The aver age response to this question was 4.30. Black clergy were asked if they suppor ted collaboration with family counselors to provide premarital counseling: 54% strongly agreed, 37% agreed, 7% neither agreed nor disagreed, and 2% disagreed. The average response for this question was 4.42. These questions were tested for internal consiste ncy using Cronbachs coefficient alpha. The Cronbachs alpha score was .88 (Table 14). Using the same Likert scale, Black clergy were asked if they felt they had a strong premarital counseling program: 23% strongly ag reed, 41% agreed, 25% neither agreed nor disagreed, 8% disagreed and 2% strongly disagreed. The average response for this question was 3.76. Clergy were also asked if they felt ade quately prepared to do premarital counseling: 33% strongly agreed, 44% agreed, 17% neither agreed nor disagreed, 5% disagreed, and 2% strongly disagreed. The average response for this question was 4.0. Clergy were asked if they would welcome a premarital counseling ma nual created for Black clergy: 72% strongly agreed, 22% agreed, 4.1% neither agreed nor disagreed, with only one respondent strongly disagreeing. The average response for this question was 4.65. Black Clergy were asked a variety of questi ons regarding their preparation to provide premarital counseling. More Black clergy reporte d not having completed specialized training in premarital counseling (53.3%) than those th at reported training ( 46.7%). Of the clergy

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57 who reported having had some preparation fo r premarital counseling, 29.5% completed a seminary class, 59.8% cited their reading progr am, and 9.4% reported no training at all. Black clergy were asked to rate on a Likert s cale their familiarity with premarital counseling research and whether or not they used a well re searched premarital c ounseling program. 17% of clergy strongly agreed, 29% agreed, 26% neith er agreed nor disagreed, 19% disagreed and 9% strongly disagreed to usi ng a well researched program. The answers ranged from 1 to 5 with the average being 3.27. Concerning th eir familiarity with premarital counseling research, 7% strongly agreed, 12% agr eed, 24% neither agreed nor disagreed, 22% disagreed, and 35% said that they were NOT fa miliar with premarital c ounseling research. The Relationship between AAC Demogra phic Information and their Level of Confidence in Providing Certain As pects of Premarital Counseling The fifth question examined the relationshi p between certain demographic factors of Black clergy and their confiden ce in performing various functi ons in premarital counseling. The first research hypothesis states that th ere will be a difference in AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of prem arital counseling based on whether or not AAC has received specialized training. A t-test was conducted. The results of this analysis revealed that there was a statistically significant difference between clergy who had specialized training in premarital counseling a nd clergy who did not have specialized training thus, indicating support for the first research hypothesis (Table 15). The second hypothesis was that there will be no difference in AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of pr emarital counseling based on AAC church denomination. The results of an ANOVA indicated that there were no significant differences between various denominations and the clergies level of confidence (p =.41) thus, supporting the research hypothesis (Table 16). The third hypothesis states that there will be a significant relationship between AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling and AAC age. Using

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58 correlation analysis, the third research hypothesi s was tested. The result of the analysis indicated that there were no statistically si gnificant relationship between AACs age and AACs level of confidence ( r = .02, p = .75) thus failing to support the research hypothesis (Table 17). The fourth hypothesis states that there will be a difference in AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premar ital counseling based on AACs church size. Using ANOVA, the fourth research hypothesis was tested. The result of the analysis indicated that there were no statistically significant difference among AAC church membership size on AACs level of confidence (p=.19) thus, failing to support the research hypothesis (Table 18). The fifth hypothesis states that there will be a difference in AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling based on AACs level of education. Using ANOVA, the fifth research hypothesis was te sted. The result of th e analysis indicated that there were no statistical ly significant difference among AACs level of education on AACs level of confidence (p=.86) thus, failing to support the research hypothesis (Table 19). The six hypothesis states that there will be a difference in AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of pr emarital counseling based on AAC s level of training. Using an ANOVA, the sixth research hypothesis was test ed. The result of the analysis indicated that there were no statistically significant diffe rence among AACs level of training on AACs level of confidence (p=.86) thus, failing to support the research hypothesis (Table 20). The Relationship Between AACs Assessment of Importance of Aspects of Premarital Counseling and their Confidence Providing Counseling in those Particular Aspects The sixth question examines the relationshi p between AACs assessment of importance of aspects of premarital couns eling and their confidence pr oviding counseling in those particular areas. Correlation analyses were used to answer this question. Correlation coefficients between AACs assessment of impor tance of aspects of premarital counseling

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59 and their confidence providing c ounseling in those particular aspects are presented (Table 21). The result of the analysis indicated that there were seve ral statistically significant relationships between AACs assessment of the importance of aspects of premarital counseling and their confidence providing couns eling in those particular aspects. For example, individuals who reported a high leve l of confidence in discussing the couple's sexual relationship also rated th is topic as very important ( r = .41, p < .01). There were also certain noteworthy patte rns of significant relationships when examining the data. For example, the colu mns noting confidence in discussing fun and leisure and discussing couples sexual relations hips had significant co rrelations with the assessment of relative importance for each topic tested. Those columns regarding confidence in teaching conflict resolution and addressing maintenance of friends hips outside of the marriage also had significant correlations with the assessment of relative importance for each topic. When examining patterns by topic, there are significant relationships with the measure of confidence in each area for the topic of fun and leisure in a marriage (Table 21). The Relationship between AACs Level of Co nfidence in Providing Certain Aspects of Premarital Counseling and AAC A ttitudes Assessed in the BCPCS The seventh question examined the relationshi p between AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of pr emarital counseling and AAC at titudes assessed in the BCPCS Correlation analyses were used to answer research question eight. Correlation coefficients between AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling and AAC attitudes assessed in the BCPCS are presented (Table 22). The result of the analysis indicated that there were several statistically significant relationships between AACs level of confidence in providing certain aspects of prem arital counseling and AAC attitudes assessed in the BCPCS. There are several patterns of significant correlations regarding certain attitudes and clergy confidence. For example there were significant correlations in every area of

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60 confidence and those rating feeli ng adequately prepared to do research and those feeling like they have a strong premarital counseling program. Also, interestingly there were no correlations with any area clergy confidence a nd the desire for more training in premarital counseling (Table 22). Response to Open ended Question Four open ended questions were asked at the end of the survey. Th e first two questions asked Black Clergy their suggestions on the number and length of sessions they thought appropriate for premarital counseling. The num ber of sessions ranged from one to 12 with three and six sessions suggested as the model number. The sugge sted length of premarital counseling sessions ranged from 30 minutes to four hours, the mode or most commonly suggested length of a session was one hour. There were a variety of responses to the third open ended question which asked Black clergy how they view their role in premarital counseling. However common themes and roles were suggested the most common of which was the role of a facilitator. Examples of clergy responses are as follows: Facilitation and guide to disc ussing issues of marriage To facilitate each session by encouraging them to begin the communication process Discussion and discove ry facilitator Facilitator and discussion leader. Facilitate discussion of matters and issues relevant to couple. Facilitator listener Facilitate understandi ng and communication. Facilitate bring awaren ess of expectations Facilitative helper Facilitation/leading in bible base direction

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61 A number of clergy emphasized the role of spiritual teacher by identifying these activities: Showing people what the Bible says about marriage, explaining Biblical roles in marriage To provide practical Bibl e based information that Spiritual aspect of marriage To let them know that they need to keep the Lord Jesus Christ 1st and foremost in their marriage To bring out the biblical truth on marriage Biblical directions concerning marriage To help the couple understand God's purpose for marriage To give clear biblical instruction of what is expected of the husband and the wife To inform them about what th e Bible says about a good marriage Make sure I marry two Christians Direct lives according to the Bible Basic biblical principles Resident theologian to cl arify and reinforce Christia n marriage principles and encourage a Christ centered marriage. Help the couple see marriage through the eyes of God. Various clergy emphasized the role of exper t/advisor. Examples of clergy responses regarding their role as an expert/advisor include: An advisor Strongly advise implement marriage advice on how to hold a marriage together for long time To explain the good and bad about marriage and relationships Advising recommendations Giving advice answering questions Make people aware of what marriage is all about

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62 I guide, direct, advise and provide information to ensure success Advisor informer, Adviser/teacher/f acilitator, etc Some clergy screen couples to make sure th at the couples are right for each other and that each couple is ready for marriage. Exampl es of clergy responses that place them in the role of a screener include: On occasion, slow them down and let them know its O.K. to postpone or even cancel the wedding to work through issues. (I had one couple who took 5 years to decide they were ready.) Assist in making sure each person has sele cted the right person and to discuss information with them. I have refused to marry couples after some sessions. The last open ended question asked Black cl ergy what skills or knowledge they think they need or want to develop to strengthen their premarital program. There were some notable common salient themes found in the resp onses of the clergy, particularly the desire for more training, education, tools, and suppor t. Examples of such response include: I serve as Certification Chair within my professi onal organization, American Association of Pastoral Counselors www.aapc. org. We set standards and structure in pastoral care and counseling. This is a ma instream body of clergy but few of us are clergy of color. Every clergyperson needs advanced study in counseling theory which includes marriage and family issues. This is crucial due to poor em otional health in the African American community. It is now illegal to offer counseling without a licensure Proper material and practice Courses, seminars Educate OJT Workshop material assist w ith building a strong marriage Conflict resolution, extended family issues financial planning, family planning Reality of life within cultur e. Don't play with truth Ethnocentric Assessments Better skill in how to elicit information

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63 A PMC Manual Insights from other Christian l eaders on the topic of marriage Academic training Taking a course in premarital counseling to enhance my skills There needs to be workshops on marriage and as a continuous part of the local church. There needs to be an established progra m for couples before and after marriage More education and research Some Black clergy felt that they did not need anything to strengthen their premarital program. Examples of responses of cl ergy with this perspective include: Well sir let me say this I been in the COGI C for a long time and it is time that we talked to everyone the same. Let me explai n you are stating black marriages which are no different than white or any other color thats one hang up cause I dont believe we are just black ministers or ministering to black people. When I first came into the COGIC being a white man but following what th e lord had told me I would pray that I would get some black parishioners and at the same time would hope they wouldn't come cause I was frightened that I might not know how to minister to them especially in a marriage situation so one bible study night I sat in my of fice bound in fear and torment hoping no black person would show up yet so badly I wanted that mixed church, when all of a sudden the lord spoke to me and said why are you so fearful after telling him he said to me you don't have to be bound you have the best tool for everything right there it will work for all ages and groups and people. The Lord set me free and you can counsel every one with that bible the word of god nothing more nothing less and it works for all color and r ace even Isaiah said we shall call him counselor and my church is mixed a nd 80%black 5% Hispanic the rest white I believe it works thats the real bishop mason church ( mixed ) I'm ok as is. N/A

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64 Table 1 Respondents Church Denomination/Classification Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent COGIC 139 56.3 56.5 56.5 AME 21 8.5 8.5 65.0 Baptist 20 8.1 8.1 73.2 Non-Den 24 9.7 9.8 82.9 Other 42 17.0 17.1 100.0 Valid Total 246 99.6 100.0 Missing System 1 .4 Total 247 100.0 Table 2 Respondent Marital Status Table 3 Respo ndents Gende r Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Male 208 84.2 84.9 84.9 Female 37 15.0 15.1 100.0 Valid Total 245 99.2 100.0 Missing System 2 .8 Total 247 100.0 Table 4 Respondents Country of Origin Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent USA 235 95.1 97.5 97.5 Jamaica 2 .8 .8 98.3 Other 4 1.6 1.7 100.0 Valid Total 241 97.6 100.0 Missing System 6 2.4 Total 247 100.0 Frequency Percent Valid Percent Valid 1st marriage 153 61.9 63.8 Remarried 54 21.9 22.5 Divorce not remarried 12 4.9 5.0 Widowed not remarried 10 4.0 4.2 Single never married 11 4.5 4.6 Total 240 97.2 100.0 Missing System 7 2.8 Total 247 100.0

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65 Table 5 Respondents Church Location Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Rural 115 46.6 47.7 47.7 Suburban 39 15.8 16.2 63.9 Inner city 63 25.5 26.1 90.0 City middle 24 9.7 10.0 100.0 Valid Total 241 97.6 100.0 Missing System 6 2.4 Total 247 100.0 Table 6 Respondents Church membership size Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid 50 or less 75 30.4 31.3 31.3 50-100 63 25.5 26.3 57.5 100-300 64 25.9 26.7 84.2 300-500 16 6.5 6.7 90.8 500-1000 10 4.0 4.2 95.0 Over 1000 12 4.9 5.0 100.0 Total 240 97.2 100.0 Missing System 7 2.8 Total 247 100.0 Table 7 Respondents level of training Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Degree 128 51.8 54.2 54.2 Certification 80 32.4 33.9 88.1 Mentorship 19 7.7 8.1 96.2 Self-education 6 2.4 2.5 98.7 other 3 1.2 1.3 100.0 Total 236 95.5 100.0 Missing System 11 4.5 Total 247 100.0

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66 Table 8 Respondents highest le vel of education completed Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid PhD 9 3.6 3.8 3.8 Doc Div 33 13.4 14.1 17.9 Master 49 19.8 20.9 38.9 Bachelor 62 25.1 26.5 65.4 Associate 32 13.0 13.7 79.1 High/GED 48 19.4 20.5 99.6 Less than high/GED 1 .4 .4 100.0 Total 234 94.7 100.0 Missing System 13 5.3 Total 247 100.0 Table 9 Respondents specialized training in premarital Counseling Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Yes 113 45.7 46.9 46.9 No 128 51.8 53.1 100.0 Valid Total 241 97.6 100.0 Missing System 6 2.4 Total 247 100.0 Table 10 Respondents Level of tr aining in premarital counseling Frequenc y Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid Seminary class 72 29.1 30.0 30.0 Workshop/ seminar 77 31.2 32.1 62.1 Premarital program 16 6.5 6.7 68.8 Read books 55 22.3 22.9 91.7 None 20 8.1 8.3 100.0 Total 240 97.2 100.0 Missing System 7 2.8 Total 247 100.0

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67 Table 11 Respondents assessment of rela tive importance of certain topics N Mean Std. Deviation couple communication 2354.960.213 conflict resolution 2364.850.405 financial planning 2364.740.460 maintaining good ext fam rel 2324.150.730 maintaining good friendships 2303.880.744 couple sexual relationship 2364.530.601 Having fun leisure time 2374.490.615 making the marriage work 2364.940.247 Good parenting 2344.740.512 Understanding family-of-origin 2364.190.805 Understanding husband/wife roles 2374.700.510 Valid N (listwise) 216 Table 12 Respondents level of Confidence N Mean Std. Deviation Teaching communication skills 230 4.350.642 maintenance of extended family relationships 232 4.130.729 Teaching conflict resolution strategies 230 4.270.734 Discussing the significance of fun 233 4.260.692 Discussing the couple's sexual relationship 231 4.260.776 Addressing the maintenance of friendships outside the marriage 230 4.090.760 Teaching family financial planning 229 4.310.734 Discussing the meaning of commitment 230 4.690.501 Discussing family-of-origin 229 4.160.746 Addressing husband/wife roles and expectations 230 4.450.609 Discussing pregnancy and childbirth 228 4.240.777 Focusing on parenting issues 232 4.440.641 Valid N (list wise) 214 Table 13 Respondents attitudes and beliefs N Mean Std. Deviation Premarital counseling should be mandatory before marriage 230 4.810.490 Premarital counseling helps build a strong marriage 229 4.620.620 Premarital counseling helps prevent divorce 230 4.071.006 I would like more specialized training in premarital counseling 225 4.310.855 I support Clergy & family counselors working together to do premarital counseling 225 4.420.729 I feel like I have a strong premarital counseling program 225 3.770.958 My denomination has a structured premarital counseling program 225 2.701.219

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68 Table 13 continued N Mean Std. Deviation I use tests, inventories, or assessments in premarital counseling sessions 226 3.481.266 I give homework for the couples in my sessions 225 3.811.218 I teach skills to couples in my sessions 223 3.940.987 I feel adequately prepared to provide premarital counseling 225 4.010.931 I would welcome a premarital counseling manual or program created for black clergy 229 4.650.663 My church has established regulations about Premarital Counseling 221 3.151.362 I already use a well researched premarital counseling program 225 3.291.196 I am not familiar with premarital counseling research 226 2.361.272 I do most of the talking in the premarital counseling sessions 227 2.581.139 I talk very little in sessions I facilitate couple discussion 225 3.431.063 Valid N (listwise) 203 Table 14 Reliability Statistics Cronbach's Alpha N of Items 0.886 12 Table 15 AACs confidence level with regards to specialized training Mean SD t p (sig) AAC with special training (n=103) 4.40 .45 AAC without special training (n=111) 4.22 .45 2.93 .01 Table 16 Mean, standard deviation, a nd F score for AACs confidence level Mean SD F P (sig) Church of God (n=119) 4.26 .46 African Methodist (n=18) 4.35 .40 Baptist (n=16) 4.41 .56 Non-Denomination (n = 23) 4.41 .41 .97 .41

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69 Table17. Correlation coefficient for AAC age and AAC confidence level Variable Age Confidence Level Mean SD Age .02 49.50 12.02 Confidence level 4.31 .46 Table 18 score for AACs confidence level and church size Mean SD F P (sig) Under 50 (n=69) 4.27 .46 50-100 (n=52) 4.30 .40 100-300 (n=56) 4.35 .47 300-500 (n = 14) 4.18 .39 500-1000 (n=9) 4.19 .71 1000 plus (n =10) 4.62 .43 1.49 .19 Table 19 AACs confidence level and education Mean SD F P (sig) Ph.D (n=7) 4.27 .42 Doctor of Divinity (n=27) 4.37 .46 MA (n=46) 4.33 .47 BA (n = 54) 4.22 .43 AA (n=28) 4.30 .44 High School(n =44) 4.31 .52 .42 .86 Table 20. Mean, standard deviation, a nd F score for AACs confidence level Mean SD F P (sig) A degree from Seminary (n=112) 4.31 .47 Certification (n=73) 4.30 .46 Mentorship(n=16) 4.31 .46 Self Education (n = 3) 4.08 .25 .25 .86

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70Table 21 Correlation of AACs assessment of im portance of topics and their confidence TCS DEFR TCR DSFL DCSR AMFO TFFP DMC DFO AGR DPC FPI CC 0.22** 0.23** 0.29** 0.25** 0.36** 0.21** 0.03 0.15* 0.18* 0.23** 0.13* 0.11* CR 0.27** 0.14* 0.26** 0.24** 0.23** 0.26** 0.07 0.21** 0.09 0.15* 0.04 0.08 FFP 0.19** 0.14* 0.24** 0.32** 0.25** 0.25** 0.30** 0.06 0.12* 0.13* 0.16* 0.13* MGEF 0.17* 0.31** 0.25** 0.22** 0.23** 0.24** 0.09 -0.03 0.12* 0.11* 0.08 0.23** MGFO 0.31** 0.29** 0.33** 0.34** 0.29** 0.31** 0.19* 0.05 0.24** 0.16* 0.18* 0.23** CSR 0.16* 0.27** 0.26** 0.27** 0.41** 0.24** 0.08 0.12* 0.26** 0.24** 0.19* 0.20** FL 0.24** 0.23** 0.29** 0.41** 0.28** 0.27** 0.16* 0.19* 0.27** 0.27** 0.21** 0.27** CMW 0.23** 0.18* 0.23** 0.24** 0.28** 0.30** 0.07 0.21** 0.12* 0.17* 0.09 0.07 GP 0.16* 0.20** 0.24** 0.25** 0.27** 0.25** 0.16* 0.13* 0.21** 0.17* 0.16* 0.22** UFO 0.13* 0.16* 0.16* 0.25** 0.22** 0.13* 0.09 0.12* 0.33** 0.19* 0.25** 0.22** UGR 0.24** 0.22** 0.27** 0.25** 0.28** 0.26** 0.07 0.18* 0.30** 0.35** 0.19* 0.24** p < .05; ** p <.01 Note: TCS = Teaching communication skill; DEFR = Discussing the main tenance of extended family relationship; TCR= Teaching Conf lict Resolution; DSFL=. Discussing the si gnificance of fun and leisure; DCSR= Discussing couples sexual relationship; AMFO = Addressing maintenance of friendships out side the marriage; TFFP= Teaching family financial planning; DMC= Discu ssing meaning of commitment; DFO= Discussing family of origin issues; AGR= Addressing gender roles; DPC= Discussing pregnancy and childbirth; FPI= Focusing on pa renting issues

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71Table 22 Correlation coefficients between AACs level of confidence and AAC attitudes assessed in the BCPCS TCS DEFR TCR DSFL DCSR AMFO TFFP DMC DFO AGR DPC FPI PCMB 0.04 0.00 0.04 0.04 0.08 0.11* -0.04 0.09 0.04 0.03 0.10 0.05 PCSM 0.22** 0.12* 0.15* 0.19* 0.23** 0.19* 0.23** 0.15* 0.12* 0.15* 0.22** 0.18* PCPV 0.21** 0.16* 0.18* 0.21** 0.20* 0.15* 0.31** 0.10 0.13* 0.14* 0.22** 0.10 STPC 0.09 0.09 0.05 0.07 -0.04 -0.01 0.05 0.01 -0.07 -0.10 -0.01 -0.02 CFWT 0.06 0.06 0.16* 0.13* 0.14* 0.05 0.10 0.08 0.10 0.03 0.24** 0.06 SPCP 0.26** 0.35** 0.31** 0.29** 0.38** 0.32** 0.29** 0.16* 0.39** 0.25** 0.39** 0.31** DPCP 0.05 0.15* 0.09 0.01 0.09 0.09 0.08 0.05 0.19* 0.07 0.08 0.03 TIAS 0.18* 0.22** 0.24** 0.19* 0.19* 0.21** 0.13* 0.15* 0.23** 0.16* 0.31** 0.22** HCS 0.17* 0.18* 0.22** 0.21** 0.13* 0.21** 0.11 0.23** 0.22** 0.18* 0.22** 0.14* SCS 0.24** 0.29** 0.35** 0.26** 0.26** 0.26** 0.21** 0.24** 0.25** 0.22** 0.29** 0.23** APPC 0.33** 0.32** 0.32** 0.27** 0.29** 0.30** 0.27** 0.28** 0.22** 0.23** 0.23** 0.31** PMCM 0.05 0.04 0.07 0.14* 0.09 0.11* -0.02 0.09 -0.04 0.00 0.05 0.01 RPC 0.20** 0.21** 0.26** 0.19* 0.25** 0.23** 0.16* 0.12* 0.19* 0.17* 0.26** 0.17* RPCP 0.21** 0.26** 0.24** 0.29* 0.22** 0.27** 0.21** 0.12* 0.18* 0.10 0.28** 0.23** NFPC 0.04 0.03 0.12* -0.07 -0.11* -0.09 -0.03 -0.11 -0.02 -0.08 -0.07 -0.11 TPCS 0.09 0.02 0.05 -0.05 0.11* 0.05 -0.02 0.07 0.02 0.03 -0.03 0.05 LCD 0.07 0.16* 0.13* 0.03 0.00 0.05 0.06 0.14* 0.08 0.05 0.08 0.11 p < .05; ** p <.01 Note: PCMB= PMC should be mandatory; PCSM= PMC build strong marriages; PCPV= PMC prevent divorce; STPC= specialized training i n PMC; CFWT= I support clergy & counselors working together; SP CP= a strong PMC program; DPCP= Denomination has structured PMC program; TIAS= I use tests, invent ories, or assessments in session; HCS= I give homework to couples in session; SCS= I teach sk ills; APPC= adequately prepared to provide PMC; PMCM= welcome a PMC manual for Black clergy; RPC= My church has established reg ulations about PMC; RPCP= I already use a well researched PMC program; NFPC= I am not familiar with premarital counseling research; TPCS= I do most of the talking in session; LCD= I talk very little I fac ilitate couple discussion

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72 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION The negative effects of marital distress and divorce have a treme ndous impact on society, touching the lives of everyone in some way (S tanley and Markman, 1997). High divorce rates for first-time marriages of approximately 50% and ongoing domestic violen ce elicit a significant amount of alarm and apprehension among couples, reli gious leaders, political leaders, persons in the media, and public policy advocates. Stanley and Markman (1997) assert that marital distress and divorce has placed American children at great risk for p overty, alienation, and antisocial behavior. Conflicts at home lead to decreased work productivity for adults in their place of employment and for children in their schools. The authors further assert that both adults and children are at increased risk for mental and phy sical problems due to marital distress. These assertions along with the special challenges in the Black community (e.g., high incarceration rates, unemployment rates, high school dropout ra tes, single parent homes) calls for individual attention to be given to assi st this group of people. One enduring and prominent institution de dicated to the betterment of the Black community has always been and continues to be the Black Church. Premarital counseling can be a useful tool in promoting lasting marriages and reducing marital distress (Murray, 2004). The current study explores the att itudes, beliefs, preparation and practice of Clergy in the Black Church in premarital counseling. This chapter will discuss the limitations of this study, present a summary of my findings, present the implications of the findings and state recommendations for further research. Limitations of the Study When conducting survey research, there are inhe rent limitations to be considered when interpreting results (Nel son, 1996). This study has limitations in the following areas: sampling

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73 issues, limitations associated with a mixed modal survey, social desirability, and selfreporting/perception concerns. One limitation of this study is that a non-probability sampling method was used, specifically, snowball sampling. Snowball sampling involves the researcher asking participants to identify others to participate in the study. This method has been useful in recruiting a larger sample size. As a consequence, there wa s no knowledge of exactly who was in the study, (response rate) who did and did not complete the survey and how well they represented the target population (Creswell: 2004). Nelson (1996) as serts that non-probability sampling techniques increase sampling error. Because Black clergy are a widely dispersed and diverse population, and there is such a lack of representation of this population in counseling research, a major endeavor was to obtain a large number of survey responses. There were no restrictions that would possibly decrease my sample size. Nelson (1996) suggests that convenience sampling is appropriate for exploratory studi es where the population is larg e, potential biases are known by the researcher, and population lists are difficult to obtain. Another possible limitation is th e use of a mixed delivery modes for the survey. There were differences in the surveys appearance onlin e versus black and white paper based surveys. Dillman (2000) writes that differences in survey modes can influence pa rticipant responses. I also found that certain pastors have colleagues and cohorts w ho are of like education and technological skill. The pastors who responded on line were more likely to have completed higher levels of education and be more technolog ically savvy. These pastors forwarded survey links to other pastors who were similar in educa tion and who were more likely to participate in the study. I noticed more variety in clergy demographic factors in the paper based survey versus the internet survey.

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74 One other limitation of the study was the aspect of social desirability and relying on self report measures. It is assumed that clergy woul d answer questions honestly and to the best of their ability. However, the possibility that th ey would give an answer that presented the participant in a positive light is always present with everyone. In checking I found that some clergy avoided answering questi ons that would present them in a less positive light. Another limitation of the study was that percep tion/self reporting. I also found that some clergy answered questions incorrectly. Since I am a member of a particular denomination represented in the study, I know that our denomination does no t have established rules and regulations for premarital counseli ng. Nonetheless, some clergy i ndicated on the survey that my denomination did have established rules. Summary of Major Findings Major findings in this study a ddress attitudes, beliefs, prep aration and practices of Black clergy regarding premarital counsel ing. Specifically, these findings illustrated the following: Black clergys assessment of th e relative importance of specific topics in premarital counseling, their report of their confidence addressing specific topics in pr emarital counseling, their attitude about the importance and effectiveness of premarital counsel ing, their training and desire for training, their feelings of adequ acy, and the specific practices of Black clergy in premarital counseling. Importance of Topics and Clergys Confidence in Addressing them The findings of this study show that the topi cs rated most important by clergy were couple communication, couple commitment to the marriag e, and conflict resolu tion respectively. The topics selected as least importa nt were maintenance of friendships outside of the marriage, maintenance of extended family relationships, and family of origin issues. The topics clergy rated most confidence in addressing were the couples commitment to the marriage, their

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75 expectations/gender roles, and pa renting issues respectively. The topics selected as areas in which clergy had the least confidence were main tenance of friendships outside of the marriage, maintenance of extended family relations hips, and family of origin issues. Clergy Attitudes and Beliefs The study also explored clergy attitude s around premarital counseling. Black Clergy answered a variety of questions soliciting th eir thought, beliefs and attitudes about premarital counseling. The responses were based on a Like rt scale where 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neither agree nor di sagree, 4 = agree, and 5 = strongly agree. Almost all of the clergy 97%strongly agreed or agr eed that premarital counseling should be mandatory before marriage. When asked if premarital counseli ng helps build strong marriages 94% of clergy strongly agreed or agreed. Cler gy were also questioned if th ey thought premarital counseling helped prevent divorce; 75% str ongly agreed or agreed that pr emarital counseling helped prevent divorce. Black clergy were asked if they suppor ted collaboration with family counselors to provide premarital counseling: 91% strongly agreed or agreed. Clergy Preparation More Black clergy reported not having comp leted specialized training in premarital counseling (53.3%) than those that reported training (46.7%). Of the clergy who reported having had some preparation for premarital counseling, 29.5% completed a seminary class, 59.8% cited their reading program, and 9.4% re ported no training at all. Black Clergy also answered questions con cerning their preparation or desire for preparation to do premarital counseling. The re sponses were based on a Likert scale as above where 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = ne ither agree nor disagree, 4 = agree, and 5 = strongly agree. 57% of the clergy indicated fami liarity with premarital counseling research and 46% of clergy strongly agreed or agreed that they used a well researched premarital counseling

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76 program. 77% of clergy strongly ag reed or agreed that they fe lt adequately prepared to do premarital counseling. 86% of clergy strongly agreed or agr eed that they desired more specialized training in premarital counseling. 94% of the Clergy strongly ag reed or agreed that they would welcome a premarital couns eling manual created for Black clergy. Clergy Practices Most Black clergy (96.5%) requir ed premarital counseling before marrying a couple. They used a Likert scale as above to answer quest ions concerning their practices in premarital counseling. Approximately half of clergy (50% ) strongly agreed or agreed to talking little in sessions and facilitating couple discussion. 22% strongly agreed or agr eed that they do most of the talking in sessions. 75% of clergy reported t eaching skills in session. 68% of clergy gave homework, while slightly more than half ( 54%) reported using test s or inventories. Implications of the Study Implications for Practice Although approximately 75% of premarital coun seling is provided by clergy (Sullivan & Bradbury, 1997; Silliman & Schumm 1999), Sullivan & Bradbury (1997) assert that many clergy feel ambivalent about their prep aration for premarital counseling. Over 50% of Black clergy in this study had no specialized training in prem arital counseling. Th erefore many clergy are providing premarital counseling services without tr aining to do so. I join with Sullivan and Bradbury (1997) in calling for renewed efforts to train clergy to counsel premarital couples and working with Black churches to improve the pr ograms for African American couples taught by African American Clergy. This stud y confirms the fact that there is a lack of training and a need for training of Black clergy in pr emarital counseling. Findings in th is study revealed that 86% of Black clergy desired more specialized training in premarital counseling. When asked what was

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77 desired or needed to strengthen their premarita l counseling program, the Black clergy surveyed spoke as follows: Black clergy are interested in the use of ethnocentric assessments Conflict resolution, extended family issues financial planning, family planning Psychological evaluation skills, interpretati on skills, effective communication, are topics that clergy desire more training on. Clergy are interested in preparing couples for the true reality of life within their culture. Clergy desire more education and research Continuing education and workshops that are designed, outside of seminary for pastors. Clergy desires a premarital c ounseling manual that is bibl ically based and supported by research. The ability to develop a counseling component in my church with an established program consisting of workshops on marriage fo r couples before and after marriage This study elicited responses that the Bible is seen as the foundation on which training presented to Black clergy is gr ounded. Clergy expressed strong c onvictions that their role in premarital counseling is centered on the Bible. Examples of clergy responses include: Showing people what the Bible says about marri age, explaining Biblical roles in marriage To provide practical Bibl e based information that To bring out the biblical truth on marriage Biblical directions concerning marriage To help the couple understand God's purpose for marriage To give clear biblical instruction of what is expected of the husband and the wife To inform them about what th e bible says about a good marriage The Lord set me free and you can counsel every one with that Bible the word of God nothing more nothing less and it works for all color and race I want updated research on bi blical marriage counseling.

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78 Clergy expressed great interest in programs, a ssessments, and trainings that are biblically based. I recommend the researchers work to de velop materials that will reframe techniques, practices, and theories into a bi blical language. For example, Gottman (1999) speaks about soft start-ups instead of harsh startups in couple communication. In parallel the scripture states a soft answer turns away wrath (see the book of Pr overbs in the King James Version of the Bible). Finally, when asked about working with fam ily counselors 91% of the clergy in this sample supported collaboration with family counselor s in the area of premar ital counseling. This study highlights a need and an opport unity for researchers and practitioners to build and establish partnerships with African Ameri can clergy to assist them in premarital counseling. Knowledge of how the clergy see their role in premarital counseling gives research ers and practitioners insight into how they can help clergy achie ve their goals for th eir congregations and communities. Implications for Policy Black clergy are many things to many people (i.e. counselor, surrogate parent, mentor, advisor, social worker, etc). Clergy from th is study indicated a desire for more knowledge to assist them in conducting premarital counseling pa rticularly that synthesizes marital research with Biblical insights. Training in premarita l counseling developed for these clergy can be a tremendous asset. There are frequent conf erences and conventions that involve clergy educational sessions that offer a setti ng where such training can occur. Recommendations for Future Research Very few of the studies or literature regard ing premarital counseling addresses the unique factors of non-White people, particularly African American people. Most of the studies of premarital counseling focus on the characteristic s of middle class Cauc asians. Carroll and Doherty (2003) confirm this in their meta-analytic review of outcome research looking at 13

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79 prevention programs; they discove red that the samples in the re search are almost exclusively young, European American, middle class couples, a di scovery that led them to caution providers against generalizing this informati on to diverse populations. This lack of sample diversity in research calls for remediation now that ethnic groups make up a third of the US population (Carroll & Doherty, 2003). Silliman & Schumm (1999) note that almost no research has been done assessing the needs of non-white audiences or offering programming from a multicultural perspective. The authors call for more research that considers and em phasizes the needs of nonwhite clients, (whose needs remain unclear to many majority practitioners) (Silliman & Schumm, 1999) regarding premarital counseling. An asse ssment of the specific problems this population faces in their relationships would also prove helpfu l (i.e. HIV/AIDS epidemic). It would also be useful to explore Black couples perception of their premarit al counseling experience. Stanley et al (2005) report successful disse mination of the PREP program with clergy in the community as well as chaplains serving ar my bases. A small amount of the African Americans were represented in these studies. I r ecommend that replications of these studies and other dissemination studies be conducted for African American clergy serving the Black community. I recommend a more thorough investigation of Bl ack clergy. It became evident to me that some survey questions were misunderstood by those completing the survey. I also became aware that more in-depth information could be gathered from clergy in the context of an interview. I recommend research that provides an opportunity for Black clergy to ask questions for clarity, and converse about thei r needs, desires, and thoughts. Further research giving a more in-depth investigation on (a) Exactly what topi cs clergy do and do not co ver, (b) clergys method of delivery, and (c) what particular skills or competencies clergy want to develop.

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80 Finally, I recommend that research be conducte d to assess the perceptions and ideas of African American couples about their premarital counseling expe rience. I suggest research providing avenues for African Amer ican couples to discuss(a) how well they feel they were prepared in premarital counseling, (b) what di d they find helpful, (c)what did they find unhelpful, and (d) what topics or issues do they wish they would have covered or discussed in premarital counseling.

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81 APPENDIX A THE BLACK CLERGY PREMARITAL COUNSELING SURVEY (BCPCS) 1. Church Denomination/Classification: a. Church of God in Christ (COGIC) b. African Methodist Episcopal (AME) c. Baptist d. Nondenominational e. Other __________________________ 2. Current age: _______Years 3. Marital status: a. 1st time Married b. Remarried c. Divorced, have not remarried d. Widowed, have not remarried e. Single, have not married 4. Gender: a. Male b. Female 5. Country of Origin a. United States b. Jamaica c. Haiti d. Other _________________ 6. Location of your church: a. Rural, small town or city b. Suburban, suburb of a major city c. Inner city, impoverished neighborhood in a large city d. City-upper middle class neighborhood 7. Church membership size: a. Under 50 b. 50 to 100 c. 100 to 300 d. 300 to 500 e. 500 to 1000 f. 1000 plus

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82 8. Your level of training (You may select more than one answer) a. A degree from Seminary, Bibl e College, University, etc b. Certification through training w ithin my church/denomination c. Mentorship apprenticeship under another pastor. d. Self Education e. Other_____________________________ 9. Your highest level of education completed a. Ph. D. b. Doctor of Divinity (or other theology degree) c. Masters Degree d. Bachelors Degree e. Associates Degree f. High school diploma or GED g. Less than a high school diploma or GED 10. Have you received any specialized trai ning in premarital c ounseling/education? a. Yes b. No 11. What level of training do you have in premarital counseling ? (You may select more than one answer) a. Took a class in seminary b. Attended a seminar or workshop c. Received training from a pr emarital education program d. Read book(s) about premarital counseling e. None f. other

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83 There are various topics discussed in premarita l counseling to prepare couples for a healthy marriage. How important are the following ite ms for healthy marriages. Use the following scale: 1= Absolutely no importa nce; 2= Very little importance; 3= Neutral; 4= Important; and 5 = Extremely important NI EI 12. Couple Communication 1 2 3 4 5 13. Conflict Resolution 1 2 3 4 5 14. Family financial planning 1 2 3 4 5 15. Maintaining good extended family rela tionships 1 2 3 4 5 16. Maintaining good friendships with others 1 2 3 4 5 17. The couples sexual relationship 1 2 3 4 5 18. Having fun & leisure time 1 2 3 4 5 19. Commitment to making th e marriage work 1 2 3 4 5 20. Good parenting 1 2 3 4 5 21. Understanding family-of-origin issues 1 2 3 4 5 22. Understanding gender roles and expectations 1 2 3 4 5 Many activities are done in premar ital counseling. For the following questions, please rate your level of confidence at this moment in doing the following activities in premarital counseling. Please rate using the following scale 1= Not at all confident; 2=Not rea lly confident; 3=Unsure; 4=Confident and 5 = Extremely confident. NC EC 23. Teaching communication skills 1 2 3 4 5 24. Discussing the maintenance of extended family relationships 1 2 3 4 5 25. Teaching conflict resolution strategies 1 2 3 4 5 26. Discussing the significance of fun and le isure 1 2 3 4 5 27. Discussing the couples sexual relationship 1 2 3 4 5 28. Addressing the maintenance of friendships outside the marriag e 1 2 3 4 5 29. Teaching family financ ial planning 1 2 3 4 5 30. Discussing the meaning of commitment 1 2 3 4 5 31. Discussing family-of-origin issues 1 2 3 4 5 32. Addressing gender roles and expectat ions 1 2 3 4 5 33. Discussing pregnancy and childbirth 1 2 3 4 5 34. Focusing on parenting issues 1 2 3 4 5

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84 There are numerous beliefs, and pr actices regarding premarital c ounseling. Please rate your agreement on the following items using the follo wing scale: 1=Strongly disagree; 2=Disagree; neither agree nor disagree; 4=Ag ree; and 5 = Strongly agree SD SA 35. Premarital counseling should be mandatory before marriage. 1 2 3 4 5 36. Premarital counseling helps build a strong marriage 1 2 3 4 5 37. Premarital counseling helps prevent divorce 1 2 3 4 5 38. I would like more specialized tr aining in premarital counseling 1 2 3 4 5 39. I support Clergy & family counselors working toge ther to do PMC 1 2 3 4 5 40. I feel like I have a strong premarital counseling program 1 2 3 4 5 41. My denomination has a structured premarital counse ling program 1 2 3 4 5 42. I use tests, inventories, or assessments at some point in my sessions 1 2 3 4 5 43. I give homework for the couples in my sessions 1 2 3 4 5 44. I teach skills to couples in my sessions 1 2 3 4 5 45. I feel adequately prepared to provide premarital counseling 1 2 3 4 5 46. I would welcome a PMC manual or program created for black cler gy 1 2 3 4 5 47. My church has established regulations about Pr emarital Counseling 1 2 3 4 5 48. I already use a well researched premarital counse ling program 1 2 3 4 5 49. I am not familiar with premar ital counseling research 1 2 3 4 5 50. I do most of the talking in the premarital counse ling sessions 1 2 3 4 5 51. I talk very little in sessi ons; I facilitate couple discussion. 1 2 3 4 5 Please answer the following questions: 52. Do you require those whom you marry to meet with you for premarital counseling? a. Yes b. No 53a. How many premarital c ounseling sessions would you recommend for a couple? _______________Sessions b. What is a reasonable le ngth for premarital counseling sessions? _______________Hour(s) 54. What do you see as your role in premarital counseling? 55. What skills or knowledge do you think would be most useful for you to develop in order to strengthen your premarital counseling program?

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85 APPENDIX B INFORMED WRITTEN CONSENT Dear Clergy Member: I am a minister at Williams Temple Church of God in Christ and a doctoral student in the department of Counselor Education at the Univ ersity of Florida. I am writing to ask your participation in a survey study on African American Clergy attitudes toward premarital counseling that I am conducting for my dissertation at the University of Fl orida. My study aims to explore the attitudes, beliefs, preparation, and practices of African American Clergy in premarital counseling. The results from the survey will allow marriage and family therapists to understand the attitudes, beliefs, preparation and practices of African American Clergy in premarital counseling. Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your participation is voluntary and you may withdraw your consent at any time. You also do not have to answer any question you do not wish to answer There is neither compensation nor perceived risks for your involvement in this study. You have the option to take the survey by phone or online. Either way the survey should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. If you have any further questions about this study, please contact me at adrianma@ufl.edu or at (352) 373-0329 or my faculty supervis or, Dr. Peter Sherrard at (352) 392-0731 or psherrard@coe.ufl.edu Questions or concerns about your rights as a re search participant rights may be directed to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611; ph (352) 392-0433. Please make sure that you sign and return one copy of this form with the survey. Thank you very much for participating in this important study. Sincerely,

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86 Adrian Manley, NCC, Dr. Peter Sherrard Principal Investigator Faculty Advisor I have read the consent form described a bove for this survey. I voluntarily agree to participate in the survey and I have received a copy of this description. ____________________________ ___________ Signature of participant Date

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87 Informed Online Consent Dear Clergy Member: I am a minister at Williams Temple Church of God in Christ and a doctoral student in the department of Counselor Education at the Univ ersity of Florida. I am writing to ask your participation in a survey study on African American Clergy attitudes toward premarital counseling that I am conducting for my dissertation at the University of Fl orida. My study aims to explore the attitudes, beliefs, preparation, and practices of African American Clergy in premarital counseling. The results from the survey will allow marriage and family therapists to understand the attitudes, beliefs, preparation and practices of African American Clergy in premarital counseling. Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your participation is voluntary and you may withdraw your consent at any time. You also do not have to answer any question you do not wish to answer There is neither compensation nor perceived risks for your involvement in this study. The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. If you have any further questions about this study, please contact me at adrianma@ufl.edu or at (352) 373-0329 or my faculty supervis or, Dr. Peter Sherrard at (352) 392-0731 or psherrard@coe.ufl.edu Questions or concerns about your rights as a re search participant rights may be directed to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611; ph (352) 392-0433. Thank you very much fo r participating in this important study. Sincerely, Adrian Manley, NCC, Dr. Peter Sherrard Principal Investigator Faculty Advisor

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88 Please click the I agree squa re below to affirm that you have read the consent form described above for this survey and that you volun tarily agree to partic ipate in this study I Agree

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89 Informed Phone Consent Hello Pastor I'm [NAME]. I am calling you on the behalf of Minister Adrian Manl ey, a minister at Williams Temple Church of God in Christ in Gaines ville Florida. He is also currently a doctoral student in the department of Counselor E ducation at the University of Florida Minister Manley is conducti ng a study for his dissertation on African American Clergy who provide premarital counseling. The study aims to explore the attitudes, beliefs, preparation, and practices of African American Clergy in pr emarital counseling. I am asking you to take a few moments out of your schedule to complete his survey. If y ou have time now I would like to give you some brief information about the survey and your rights in taking the survey so that I can formally receive your consent. Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your participation is voluntary and you may withdraw your consent at any time. You also do not have to answer any question you do not wish to answer There is neither compensation nor perceived risks for your involvement in this study. The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. If you would like to see a hard copy of this form you can look online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=412601914827 or just request to be sent a copy in the mail. If you have any further questions about this study, please co ntact Adrian at adrianma@ufl.edu or at (352) 373-0329 or my faculty s upervisor, Dr. Peter Sherrard at (352) 392-0731 or psherrard@coe.ufl.edu Questions or concerns a bout your rights as a research participant rights may be directed to the UF IRB office, University of Florida, Box 112250,

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90 Gainesville, FL 32611; ph (352) 392-0433. Pastor is there any questions I can answer for you at this time? Pastor will you agree I have read you th e consent form for this survey, you have understood what I have read, a nd that you voluntarily agree to participate in the survey? ______Yes ______No

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91 APPENDIX C LETTER TO CONTACT PERSON Dear Contact Person: I am currently a doctoral student in the de partment of Counselor Education at the University of Florida I am writing to invite you to participate in a study on African American Clergy who provide premarital c ounseling that I am conducting fo r my dissertation. My study aims to explore the attitudes, beliefs, preparation, and practices of African American Clergy in premarital counseling. I am contacting several African American Clergy to ask them to take a brief survey. The results from the survey will promote understand ing of the attitudes, beliefs, preparation and practices of African Amer ican Clergy in premarital counselin g. The answers to the survey will be anonymous, and participation in this survey is voluntary. There is neither compensation nor perceived risks for involvement in this study. Cl ergy have the option to take the survey by phone or online. Either way the survey should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. I am writing to ask your support. I am tryi ng to reach as many African American Clergy from various areas in the country. I am request ing your support as a person who could assist me in recruiting Clergy for the survey. You can do th is by providing me the contact information for clergy that you know or either dir ecting the clergy to the website where they can take the survey online. Here is a link to the survey http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=412601914827 I have also attached a letter that you can e-mail or give to other clergy. If you have any further questions about this study, please contact me at adrianma@ufl.edu or at (352) 373-0329 or my faculty supervis or, Dr. Peter Sherrard at (352) 392-0731 or

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92 psherrard@coe.ufl.edu I feel that this study will be a bl essing for African American Clergy and the families they serve. Thank you very much for participating in this important study. Sincerely, Adrian Manley PhD Candidate University of Florida

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93 APPENDIX D LETTER FOR CONTACT PERSON Greetings Pastor _________: I pray that all is well with you and yours. I am writing this letter on behalf of Minister Adrian Manley, a member of Williams Temple Church of God in Christ in Gainesville Florida. He is also currently a doctoral student in the department of Couns elor Education at the University of Florida Minister Manley is conducti ng a study for his dissertation on African American Clergy who provide premarital counseling. The study aims to explore the attitudes, beliefs, preparation, and practices of African American Clergy in pr emarital counseling. I am asking you to take a few moments out of your schedul e to complete his survey. The answers to the survey will be anonymous, and participation in this survey is voluntary. There is neither compensation nor perceived risks for involvement in this study. Clergy have the option to take the survey by phone or online. Ei ther way the survey should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. If you choose to complete the survey by phone then let me know the best time and number that you can be reached. If you choose to complete the survey online just click on http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=412601914827 or type it in your URL address box. I sincerely thank you for your time and participat ion. This study can be very beneficial to African American Clergy and the congregations we se rve. Please feel free to invite other pastors to take the survey as well. If you have any further questions about th is study, please contact Adrian at adrianma@ufl.edu or at (352) 373-0329 or myself Yours in Christ,

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94 Contact Person

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95 APPENDIX E PHONE SCRIPT LEAVING A MESSAGE Pastor [NAME] I'm [NAME]. I am calling you on the behalf of Minister Adrian Manley, a member of Williams Temple Church of God in Christ in Gaines ville Florida. He is also currently a doctoral student in the department of Counselor E ducation at the University of Florida Minister Manley is conducti ng a study for his dissertation on African American Clergy who provide premarital counseling. The study aims to explore the attitudes, beliefs, preparation, and practices of African American Clergy in premar ital counseling. I called to ask you to take a few moments out of your schedule to complete his 10 to 15 minute survey. It would wonderful if you could help us by taki ng this survey. It is available online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=412601914827 or I am more than happy to call back at a better time for you. May God Bless you Good Bye

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96 APPENDIX F AFRICAN AMERICAN CLERGY CALL LOG Caller Initals Date Number Made Contact Left Msg No answer Comments

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97 LIST OF REFERENCES Albee, G.W. & Ryan, K. (1998). An overview of Primary Prevention. Journal of Mental Health, 7, (5) 441-449. Asai, S.G. & Olson, D.H. (2004). Culturally se nsitive adaptation of PREPARE with Japanese premarital couples. Journal of Marital Therapy, 30 (4), 411-426. Barlow, J.L. (1999). A new model for pr emarital counseling w ithin the church. Journal of Pastoral Counseling, 48 (9) 3-9. Berger, R., & Hannah, M.T. (1999) Preventive approaches in couples therapy Philadelphia: Brunner/ Maze. Campion, M. A. (1982). Premarital sexual counse ling: Suggestions for ministers and other counselors Journal of Psychology and Christianity 1 (4), 53-60. Carroll, J.S. (2001). Translation and valida tion of the Spanish version of the RELATE questionnaire using a modifi ed serial approach for cross-cultural translation. Family Process, 40 211-231. Carroll, J. S. & Doherty, W. J. (2003). Eval uating the effectiveness of premarital prevention programs: A meta-analytic re view of outcome research. Family Relations 52, 105-118. Cherlin, A.J. (1992). Marriage, divorce, and remarriage London: Harvard University Press. Cole, C. L. & Cole, A. L. (1999). Marriage enrichment and prevention really works: Interpersonal competence training to ma intain and enhance relationships. Family Relations, 48 (3), 273-275 Cresswell, J.W. (2005 ). Educational research: Planning conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research Upper Saddle, New Jersey, Pearson-MerrillPrentice Hall. Dillman, D.A. (2000). Mail and internet surveys: The tailored design method New York: John Wiley & Sons. Douglas, K.B., and Hopson, R. E. (2001). Unde rstanding the Black Church: The dynamics of change. Journal of Religious Thought 56 (2), p95-104 Foccus Inc. (2003). Facilitating open couple comm unication and understanding study Retrieved November 30, 2004 fr om http://www.foccusinc.com. Fowers, B.J. & Olson, D.H. (1986). Predicting Marital Success With Prepare: A predictive validity study. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 12 (4), 403-413. Fraenkel, P., Markman, H., & Stanley, S. (1997) The prevention approach to relationship problems. Sexual and Marital Therapy 12 (3), 249-258.

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98 Giblin, P., Sprenkle, D.H., & Sheehan R. (1985) Enrichment outcome research: A meta-analysis of premarital, marital, and family interventions. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 11 (3) 257-271 Gottman, J.M. (1999). The marriage clinic: A scientifically based marital therapy New York City, NY: WW Norton & Company. Gottman, J.M. Gottman,J. (1999) The marriage surv ival kit: A research based marital therapy. In R. Berger and M.T. Hannah (Eds.), Preven tive approaches in couples therapy (pp. 304330). Levittown, PA: Brunner & Mazel Guerny, B. & Maxson, P. (1990). Marital and family enrichment research: A decade review and look ahead. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 52 (4), 1127-1135 Halford, W.K. (2004). The future of couple re lationship education: Suggestions on how it can make a difference. Family Relations 53 559-566. Holman, T.B., Larson. J.H. & Stacy Harmer. ( 1994). The development and predictive validity of a new premarital assessment instrument. Family Relations 43 46-52. Larson, J.H. & Holman,T.B. (1995). A review of comprehensive questionnaire used in premarital education and counseling. Family Relations 44 245-252. Lincoln, E.L. & Mamiya, L.H. (1990). The Black Church in the African American experience Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Markman, H.J., Whitton, S.W., Kline, G.H., St anley, S.M., Thompson, H., St. Peters, M. (2004).Use of an empirically based marriage ed ucation program by religious organizations: Results of a dissemination trial. Family Relations 53 504-512. Murray, C. E. (2004). Empirical investigation of the relative importance of client characteristics and topics in premarital counseling (Unpublished dissertation) University of Florida, Gainesville. Nelson, T.S. (1996) Survey research in marriage and family therapy. In Sprenkle, D.H. and Moon, S.M. (Eds.), Research methods in family therapy (pp. 447-468). New York: Guilford Press. Ooms, T & Wilson, P. (2004). The challenges of offering relationship and marriage education to low-income populations Family Relations, 53 440-447. Orbuch, T.L., Veroff, J., Hassan, H., & Horrocks, J. (2002). Who will divorce: A 14-year longitudinal study of black couples and white couples Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 19 (2), 179-202. Risch, G. S., Riley, L. A.., & Lawler, M. G. ( 2003). Problematic issues in the early years of marriage: Content for premarital education. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 31 (3), 253.

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99 Russell, M. & Lyster, R.F. (1992) Marriage preparation: Fact ors associated with consumer satisfaction. Family Relations 41 446-451 Saxton, L. (1996). The individual, marriage, and the family (9th ed). Boston: Wadsworth Publishing Company. Shipler,D. (1997 ). A country of strangers: Blacks and Whites in America New York: Alfred A. Knoff Inc. Silliman, B., Schumm, W.R., & Jurich, A.P. (1992). Young adults preference for premarital preparation program designs: An exploratory study. Contemporary Family Therapy 14 89-100. Silliman, B., & Schumm, W.R. (1999). Im proving practice in ma rriage preparation. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 25 23-43. Smart Marriages. (1996). The Coalition for Marriage, Family, and Couple Education Retrieved February 2, 2006 from http://www.smartmarriage.com Spanier, G. B., & Lewis, R. A. (1980). Marital quality : A review of the seventies Journal of Marriage and the Family 42 (4), 825-839 Stahmann, R. F. (2000). Premarital couns eling: A focus for family therapy. Journal of Family Therapy, 22, 104-117 Stahmann. R. F. & Hiebert, W. J. (1987). Premarital counseling: The professionals handbook Lexington Books, Massachusetts Stanley, S. M. (2001). Making a case for premarital education. Family Relations, 50, 272-280. Stanley, S. M., Allen, E. S., Markman, H. J., Sa iz, C. C., Bloomstrom, G., Thomas, R, Schumm, W. R., & Bailey, Albert E. (2005) Disseminati on and evaluation of marriage education in the army. Family Process 44 (2), 187-201. Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (1997, J une). Acting on what we know: The hope of prevention. Paper presented at the Fam ily Impact Seminar, Washington D.C. Sue, D.W. & Sue, D. (1999). Counseling the culturally diff erent: Theory and practice (3rd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons. Sullivan, K.T. & Bradbury, T. N. (1997). Are premarital prevention programs reaching couples at risk for marital dysfunction? Journal of Counseling and Clinical Psychology 65 (1), 2430. Valiente, C.E., Belanger, C.J., & Estrada, A.U. (2002). Helpful and harmful expectations of premarital interventions. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 28 71-77.

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100 Williams, L.M., Riley, L.A., Risch, G.S., & Van D yke, D.T. (2000). An empirical approach to designing marriage preparation programs. The American Journal of Family Therapy 27 271-283.

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101 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Adrian T. Manley was born February 10, 1979 to Terry Lamar and Jessie Manley. Adrian grew up in the small city of Groveland Florida. He graduated from South Lake High School in 1997. Adrian attended the University of Florida and obtained a Bachelors of Science degree in Rehabilitation Services. Adrian continued his edu cation at the University of Floridas Counselor Education where he received a Masters a nd Specialist degree in education. Adrian married the love of hi s life, Katrina Collier on February 26, 2005. Adrian works as a counseling specialist at the Santa Fe Community College Counseling Center and as an adjunct instructor at Santa Fe Comm unity College in the departme nt of Student Development Instruction. Adrian is an asso ciate minister at Williams Temple Church of God In Christ. Adrian plans to continue his work as a couns elor and instructor at Santa Fe Community College. He also plans to work with African Am erican clergy specifically in the Church of God in Christ to provide premarital counseling training for clergy, and to assist in the development and implementation of premarital education programs.


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Title: Exploring the Attitudes, Beliefs, Preparation, and Practices of African-American Clergy in Premarital Counseling
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Title: Exploring the Attitudes, Beliefs, Preparation, and Practices of African-American Clergy in Premarital Counseling
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

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Source Institution: University of Florida
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EXPLORING THE ATTITUDES, BELIEFS, PREPARATION, AND PRACTICES OF
AFRICAN AMERICAN CLERGY IN PREMARITAL COUNSELING




















By

ADRIAN T MANLEY


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2006

































Copyright 2006

By

Adrian T. Manley


































This dissertation is dedicated to the memory of Elder I. L. Wootson, a man whose legacy of
wisdom, humility and love for all continues to inspire and encourage me.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
First and foremost I am grateful to God. Through this process I found myself constantly

praying in a variety of ways, sometimes crying, complaining, venting or otherwise. I always

gained peace, hope, and strength to endure the next hurdle.

I also wish to acknowledge all of the Black clergy that took the time to participate in my

research. Among the clergy two very special people, Dr. Detroit Williams and Elder Eullas

Brinson (my two pastors), were a tremendous source of support helping me connect to other

clergy. I would also like to express my gratitude to Dr. Valda Slack, who graciously opened

doors of opportunities for me to have a platform to speak about my research and ask for

participation both in the local, state and national assembly meetings of the Church of God in

Christ. I wish to thank Lakisha Scott, who was my constant supporter, confidante, comedian, and

encourager throughout this process. I also wish to express my gratitude to The Santa Fe

Community College Counseling Center staff for their tremendous support.

I was privileged to work with a very outstanding group of committee members. I wish to

thank Dr. Peter Sherrard, my committee chair, for his guidance, support, wisdom and patience

with me. I am grateful to Dr. Ellen Amatea for her expertise of the subj ect matter and the

research process as well as her constant support. I am extremely appreciative of Dr. David

Miller, who diligently helped me through the statistical aspects of this study. Last but not least I

wish to thank Dr. Sally Williams, who gave me valuable feedback and always assured me that I

would get Einished and get it done.

Last but not least I would like to thank my family who stood by me throughout my

education. Katrina, my dearest wife, loved me more than she loved herself and put some of her

dreams and desires on hold to help me fulfill mine. I will always love her for that. Terry, my

constant supportive mother, she did everything in her power to encourage me to keep on going.










Ocrietto Anderson, "Grandma" her strength, love, and commitment to me will always be strong

force behind all of my accomplishments. I thank James Anderson, for always being there and

making it his responsibility to ensure that all my needs were met. Sherry, my sister, always came

through for me. I thank Betty Curry, the sweetest Auntie in the world, whose kindness and

support is an inspiration to me.












TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............. ...............4.....


LIST OF TABLES ................ ...............9............ ....


AB S TRAC T ............._. .......... ..............._ 10...


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............12.......... ......


Theoretical Background............... ...............1
Purpose of Study ................. ...............19................
Research Questions............... ...............2
Definition of Terms .............. ...............2 1....

Or ganization of the Study ................. ...............22.......... .....

2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................. ...............23.......... .....


A Historical Review of Premarital Therapy ................. ................ ......... ........ .24
Before the 1900' s .................. ...............24........ ....
Between 1900 and the 1950' s................ ...............2
The 1950's and 1960's ........._._. ........... ...............25 ..
The 1970' s................. ......__ ...............26....
Premarital Counseling in Present .............. ...............27....
Predicting Marital Success .............. ..... ...............28.
The Effectiveness of Premarital Counseling ................. ...............30........... ...
Premarital Counseling Providers .............. ... ... ...... ..... .. ...............31...
Time of Counseling, Number of Sessions, and Length of Sessions ................... ...............32
Content of Premarital Counseling ................. .. ...............33.
African American Families and Premarital Counseling ................. ............................34
The Black Church ................. ...............36........... ....

Clergy .............. .. ...............37...
Use of Assessments ................. ......................... .................. ............39
PREPARE ................. ...............40.................
PREP-M ............ _. ..... ...............41....
FOCCUS............... ... ...............4

A Move Toward Diversity ............_...... ...............42...
Conclusion ............ _. ..... ...............43...


3 METHODOLOGY .............. ...............45....


Statement of Purpose ............_...... ...............45...
Variables ............. ...... ._ ...............45...
Research Design .............. ...............46....











Population ............ ..... ._ ...............46....
Sampling Procedure ............_......._ ...............46....
Person to Person Paper Surveys .............. ...............47....
Online Surveys .............. ...............48....
Telephone Surveys .............. ...............48....
Instrumentation ............... .. ..._ ..... ...._ .............4
Operational Research Questions and Hypotheses .............. ...............49....
Data Analysis............... ...............50

4 RE SULT S .............. ...............52....


Sample Demographics .............. .. ...._ .. .. ...._ ... ..... .. ........5
AAC's Assessment of Relative Importance of Topics in Premarital Counseling .................. 54
AAC's Level of Confidence of Teaching and or Discussing Certain Topics in Premarital
C counseling ...................... ... ... ..... .. ..... ...... ................5
AAC's Attitudes and Beliefs about Premarital Counseling and their Preparation to do
Premarital Counseling ........._. ...... ..._._ ..... ...._. ....... ... ............5
The Relationship between AAC Demographic Information and their Level of
Confidence in Providing Certain Aspects of Premarital Counseling. ........._.._... ...............57
The Relationship Between AAC's Assessment of Importance of Aspects of Premarital
Counseling and their Confidence Providing Counseling in those Particular Aspects........58
The Relationship between AAC's Level of Confidence in Providing Certain Aspects of
Premarital Counseling and AAC Attitudes Assessed in the BCPC S ................ ...............59
Response to Open ended Question .............. ...............60....

5 DI SCUS SSION ................. ...............72........_......


Limitations of the Study .............. ...............72....
Summary of M aj or Findings .................. .. .. ........ ............. ... ........7
Importance of Topics and Clergy's Confidence in Addressing them .............................74
Clergy Attitudes and Beliefs .............. ...............75....
Clergy Preparation............... ..............7
Clergy Practices............... ...............7
Implications of the Study ................. ...............76.......... .....
Impli cati ons for Practi ce ................. ...............76......_.._...
Implications for Policy .................. ...............78..
Recommendations for Future Research ........................_. ...............78. ....

APPENDIX


A THE BLACK CLERGY PREMARITAL COUNSELING SURVEY (BCPCS)...................81

B INFORMED WRITTEN CONSENT ................. ......... ...............85. ...

C LETTER TO CONTACT PERSON............... ...............91.

D LETTER FOR CONTACT PERSON .............. ...............93....












E PHONE SCRIPT LEAVING A MES SAGE ................ ...............95........... ..


F AFRICAN AMERICAN CLERGY CALL LOG................ ...............96..


LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............97................


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................. ...............101......... ......











LIST OF TABLES
Table page

1 Respondents' Church Denomination/Classification ................. ................ ......... .64

2 Respondent Marital Status ................ ...............64................

3 Respondents' Gender ................. ...............64........... ....

4 Respondents' Country of Origin ................. ...............64...............

5 Respondents' Church Location................ ...............6

6 Respondents' Church membership size ................. ...............65........... ...

7 Respondents' level of training ................ ................ ........ ......... ........ .65

8 Respondents' highest level of education completed ................. ................ ......... .66

9 Respondents' specialized training in premarital Counseling ................. ............. .......66

10 Respondents' Level of training in premarital counseling ................. ................ ...._.66

11 Respondents assessment of relative importance of certain topics ................ ................ .67

14 Reliability Statistics .............. ...............68....

15 AAC's confidence level with regards to specialized training............... ...............68

16 Mean, standard deviation, and F score for AAC's confidence level ................ ...............68

17 Correlation coefficient for AAC age and AAC confidence level ................ ................. 69

18 Score for AAC's confidence level and church size .............. ...............69....

19 AAC's confidence level and education............... ...............6

20 Mean, standard deviation, and F score for AAC's confidence level ................ ...............69









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

EXPLORING THE ATTITUDES, BELIEFS, PREPARATION AND PRACTICES OF
AFRICAN AMERICAN CLERGY IN PREMARITAL COUNSELING


By

Adrian T. Manley

December 2006

Chair: Peter Sherrard
Major Department: Mental Health Counseling

The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes and beliefs of African American

clergy concerning premarital counseling. Using the Black Clergy Premarital Counseling Survey,

African American clergy reported their thoughts about the necessity, importance, and value of

premarital counseling; their training experiences in premarital counseling; their interest for

further training in premarital counseling; their degree of confidence in implementing certain

aspects of premarital counseling and finally their assessment of the relative importance of certain

topics in premarital counseling.

This study also explored the current practices of African American clergy in providing

premarital counseling. Black clergy reported their recommended number of sessions, their

recommended length of sessions, their use of inventories, their role in the counseling process and

their particular style of conducting premarital counseling.

There were 247respondents ages ranging from 19 to 86 years with the average age being

49.5 years. The age representing the median and mode is 51 years and 50 years respectively.

Males comprised 84.9% of the sample and females made up 15.1%









The Eindings from this study demonstrate that Black clergy desire more knowledge and

training regarding premarital counseling. More than half of the Black clergy in this study do not

have specialized training in premarital counseling. Over 85% of the clergy reported a desire for

additional specialized training in premarital counseling. Results also indicated that the Black

clergy who had specialized training in premarital counseling reported significantly higher

confidence than those clergy who did not have specialized training.

Findings from this study also revealed the topics considered by Black clergy to be most

important in premarital counseling. Couple communication, couple commitment to the marriage,

and conflict resolution respectively were rated most important by Black clergy.

Based on the findings of this study, recommendations for further research are discussed.

The Eindings suggest that attention be given to the development and implementation of training

and preparatory programs assisting African American clergy in establishing stronger premarital

programs for the African American community.









CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

Marriage is a fundamental and enduring social institution that has developed in all cultures

and societies. Every society possesses some form of marriage (Saxton, 1996). A recent study

reveals that 93% of Americans rate having a happy marriage as one of their most important goals

(Carroll & Doherty, 2003). Studies show that successful marriages promote mental, physical,

and family health (Carroll & Doherty, 2003).

However, high divorce rates of approximately 50% and increasing reports of illicit

domestic violence elicit a significant amount of alarm and apprehension in a great number of

couples, religious leaders, political leaders, persons in the media, and public policy advocates.

Stanley and Markman (1997) assert that the after-shocks of marital distress and divorce affect us

all. Researchers assert that conflicted and unstable marriages undermine well-being and incur

large social and financial costs for communities (Carroll & Doherty, 2003). Stanley (2001)

reports that marital distress negatively affects physical health, mental health, and work

productivity. One way politicians and researchers are addressing these concerns is through

prevention via premarital counseling (Murray, 2004).

Increased attention is being given to helping couples prevent marital distress and divorce.

The divorce and separation rates, and concerns about the future of marriage and family life have

inspired a marriage movement that is gaining momentum in the United States (Stanley, 2001).

Private organizations like the Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment, the Institute for

American Values, and the Family Life Educator initiative of the National Council on Family

Relations were formed to protect and enhance marriage. These organizations are active in

sounding an alarm about marriage and family processes and dynamics (Stanley, 2001).

Religious leaders are also becoming more concerned about strengthening and protecting the









family. Many religious leaders are noticing the negative effects of marital distress on members

in their local congregations.

Like never before, state and federal governments are advocating strengthening and

maintaining marriages. In Florida, the Marriage Preparation and Preservation Act of 1998 was

designed to promote premarital education. This act subtracts $32.50 from the cost of marriage

licenses for couples who attend at least four hours of premarital counseling from an approved

provider (mostly licensed mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists,

psychologists, social workers and approved religious leaders). The state of Florida identifies

specific topics for premarital counseling including conflict management, financial management,

communication, and children and parenting responsibilities. The Florida Bar has published a

family law handbook that addresses all aspects of the law pertaining to marriage and families; it

is available to couples from the clerk of the circuit court upon application for a marriage license

(Smart Marriages, 1996).

Very few of the studies or literature regarding premarital counseling addresses the unique

factors of non-White people, particularly African American people. Most of the studies of

premarital counseling focus on the characteristics of middle class Caucasians. Carroll and

Doherty (2003) confirm this in their meta-analytic review of outcome research looking at 13

prevention programs; they discovered that the samples in the research are almost exclusively

young, European American, middle class couples, a discovery that led them to caution providers

against generalizing from this information to diverse populations. This lack of sample diversity

in research calls for remediation now that ethnic groups make up a third of the United States

population (Carroll & Doherty, 2003). Silliman and Schumm (1999) note that little research has

been done assessing the needs of non-white audiences or offered programming from a









multicultural perspective. The authors call for research that considers the needs of non-white

clients, a population whose needs remain unclear to majority practitioners (Silliman & Schumm,

1999).

The differences between cultures can no longer be ignored. David K. Shipler, in his book,

A Country of Strangers: Blacks and' Whites in America (1997), demonstrates how the lives of

African Americans and Caucasians in America are different in communication styles, language

use, economic status, family structure, and lifestyle. In many ways they are strangers to each

other. How they behave, and how their language about their experiences often appears alien,

strange, and extraordinary for the other group. This phenomenon is apparent even among

African Americans and Caucasians who work at the same company or attend school at the same

institution.

Because premarital counseling prepares clients to live as couples in the society in which

they reside, it is imperative that premarital counseling address cultural differences that may

influence how couples construct their marriage. What is ideal for White couples may not be

ideal for Black couples. And, what is dysfunctional for White couples and families may be

normal and functional for Black couples and families. Ooms and Wilson (2004) assert that

because African Americans live life differently than Caucasian Americans, African American

couples need programs and inventories that are designed for them, programs that take into

account differences in communication/ language, socioeconomic status, family structure, and

lifestyle.

For example, African Americans significantly differ from Caucasian in the number of

single-family households, marriage rates, separation rates, and divorce rates. Sue and Sue (1999)

report that 82% of Blacks have no live-in father in the home compared to 43% of Whites, and









that 47% of black males are single, divorced, or widowed compared to 28% of White males.

Saxton (1996) notes that African Americans have higher rates of separation and divorce than any

other ethnic group in the United States. He also observed that two-thirds of Black children,

compared to one in five White children, are born out of wedlock, and that 39% of Black children

live with both parents compared to 76% of White children. Ooms and Wilson (2004), in their

article, "The Challenges of Offering Relationship an2dMarriage Education to Low income

Populations," report that in 1950, 64% of Blacks and 68% of Whites were married. In 2002

however 44% of Blacks and 59% of Whites were married. Not only are African Americans

marrying less frequently than Caucasian, a higher percentage of them are divorcing and

separating (Ooms & Wilson, 2004). Ooms and Wilson (2004) attribute these differences to such

adverse circumstances among African Americans as high mortality, high incarceration, high

joblessness and high rates of out-of-wedlock childbirth.

These trends suggest that modern marriages need help, and African American couples need

specialized attention. Premarital counseling is one solution. Research suggests (Silliman &

Schumm 1999; Sullivan & Bradbury, 1997) that approximately 75% of premarital counseling is

provided by clergy, many of whom have no training. Premarital counseling/preparation is not

covered in a great number of seminaries, and a significant number of African American clergy

never attended seminary. Nonetheless, counseling services are provided.

Given little training, one is left to wonder what are the beliefs, attitudes, and current

practices of African American pastors in premarital counseling. Sullivan and Bradbury (1997)

assert that many clergy feel ambivalent about their preparation for premarital counseling. They

call for therapists to work with churches to improve the programs to African American couples

at Black churches by African American Clergy.









Sue and Sue (1999) observed that if counselors are to provide meaningful help to a

culturally diverse population, they must develop new culturally effective helping approaches.

Premarital counseling is more effective when it is contextually and culturally sensitive. To

accomplish this goal, we must work with African American pastors to develop evidence-based

programs that address the special issues and needs of their congregation. Douglas and Hopson

(2001) quote W.E.B. Dubois in stating that the "Negro" church is the social center of African

American life in the United States. Therefore the Black church is an excellent place in which to

serve black couples who want to get married. Helping African American pastors explore and

clarify their attitudes, beliefs, values, and current practices in conducting premarital counseling is

essential.

Theoretical Background

Albee and Ryan (1998) define prevention as (1) doing something now to forestall or

prevent something undesirable from happening in the future, and (2) doing something now that

will increase desirable outcomes in the future. L'Abate defines prevention as any approach,

method, or procedure designed to improve interpersonal competence and functioning for people

as individuals, partners, and parents (Berger & Hannah, 1999). Prevention has typically focused

on assessing self and other awareness, providing knowledge for decision-making, and enhancing

interpersonal skill (Stanley & Markman, 1997). Prevention historically has been the province of

public health. Leaders in public health assert that it is more feasible to keep the population

healthy rather than to repair health that has deteriorated. We see prevention in action today in

promoting flu shots and nutrition, for example, as effective deterrents from diseases. Public

health policy is organized around three prevention strategies: First, identifying the noxious agent

and attempting to remove it or neutralize it; second, strengthening the host to resist the noxious










agent; and third, preventing transmission of the noxious agent to the host (Albee and Ryan,

1999). These strategies are now being applied to mental health policies.

Stanley and Markman (1997) note that little attention has been given to prevention of

marital distress in the form of premarital preparation until the past two decades. As experts

began to understand the magnitude and implications of our society's marital problems, they

adopted prevention strategies such as premarital counseling. Prevention theory suggests that

interventions be made before problems begin or before problems become bigger problems.

Premarital education helps couples to more effectively facilitate or manage developmental

transitions, conflict resolution and decision-making, responding to life crisis, and engaging social

support systems (Stanley & Markman, 1997).

Effective preventive interventions will address factors that are associated with increased

risk in ways designed to lower those risks. Research in premarital counseling (Stanley &

Markman, 1997) helps couples anticipate problems to avoid and confirms efficacious skills that

enhance relationships. Prevention not only prevents dysfunction but also promotes wellness.

Stanley and Markman (1997) assert that premarital prevention efforts seek to raise protective

factors and minimize risk factors. They explain thatincreasing protective factors enhances the

chances of a couple doing well over time. These factors include enhancing such things as

friendship in the marital relationship, interpersonal support and mutual dedication. They cite risk

factors as negative factors clearly associated with greater risk of marital failure; lowering these

factors is crucial in prevention. Risk factors include negative interactive patterns and

dysfunctional relationship beliefs (Stanley & Markman, 1997).










The prevention strategy chosen depends on the timing of the intervention. The Institute of

Medicine differentiates three types: "universal" or "primary" prevention, "selective" or

"secondary" prevention, and "indicated" or "tertiary" prevention (Berger & Hannah, 1999).

Primary prevention is said to be proactive in that it deals with problems and issues before

they arise (Albee & Ryan, 1998). Primary prevention is what L'Abate called true prevention

because the intervention occurs before problems happen, that is, for example, before couples

have difficulties (Berger & Hannah, 1999). Primary prevention consists of proactive efforts to

reduce emotional and behavioral deficits or disorders in order to maintain and enhance healthy

functioning (Stanley & Markman, 1997).

Secondary prevention occurs after the onset of a problem. It seeks to prevent further

problems and the loss of desirable relationship characteristics with at-risk couples who are

experiencing some difficulty and dissatisfaction. L'Abate describes this as intervening with

couples before they get worse (Berger & Hannah, 1999). Stanley and Markman (1997) agree,

noting that secondary prevention consists of early identification, diagnosis and treatment of

deficits in order to avert more serious breakdown and to re-establish healthy functioning. Berger

and Hannah (1998) note that there is overlap between primary and secondary intervention and

most premarital programs use both.

Tertiary prevention aims to keep serious couple problems from destroying the relationship

and the marriage; it is what L'Abate calls intervening before it is too late (Berger & Hannah,

1999). Tertiary prevention addresses chronic problems that threaten to drive married couples

toward divorce.

There are economic and psychological benefits in adopting preventive approaches.

Preventive approaches are less expensive than remediation and are less psychologically









exhausting and draining than remedial approaches. But to win the benefits, two barriers have to

be overcome. Motivation is a barrier when couples see no need for a counselor if there are no

obvious difficulties. The second barrier is that couples may not want to admit to strangers that

they are having problems before they marry (Berger& Hannah, 1999).

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the attitudes, preparation, and current practices of

African American Clergy in regards to premarital counseling. Barlow (1999) asserts that the

church has a responsibility to prepare couples to build strong marriages from the very beginning

so that divorce is not an option. And a survey by Murray (2004) reveals that approximately 75%

of premarital counseling in Florida is currently provided by clergy, indicating that many

churches take their responsibility seriously. By contrast, Stahmann (2000) notes that premarital

counseling has not been identified as a regular part of the clinical practice of most of today's

marriage and family therapists.

This study examined the attitudes and beliefs of African American clergy concerning

premarital counseling. African American clergy's thoughts about the necessity, importance, and

value of premarital counseling for the members of their local congregations and denominations

were surveyed. In addition clergy were asked what extent premarital counseling is mandatory or

optional and if so, what criteria, bylaws, or ordinances are observed within their congregations

and denominations concerning premarital counseling.

This study also focused on the training experience that African American pastors may have

received that prepared them to engage in premarital counseling. These training experiences

included the following: A seminary class, training by a marriage education group (i.e., Prep,

Prepare, RE, etc.), special seminars or workshops, extensive reading or personal experience. The

study will also examine to what degree African American clergy feel they are adequately










prepared to provide premarital counseling, the degree of confidence of the clergy doing certain

aspects of premarital counseling, what interest they may have for training in premarital

counseling, and to what degree they are willing to collaborate with mental health professionals in

regard to premarital counseling.

Thirdly, this study surveyed the current practices of African American Clergy in providing

premarital counseling. Researchers (Fowers & Olson, 1986; Risch, Riley & Lawler, 2003;

Stahmann & Hiebert, 1987; Stanley & Markman, 1997) in premarital counseling agree on the

issues to be addressed in premarital counseling: conflict resolution, communication, finances,

parenting, family, friends, leisure, commitment, family of origin, and gender roles within the

marriage. Are these topics covered by African American clergy who provide premarital

education? This study examined the number of sessions, length of sessions, inventories used,

style of the clergy (instructive vs. interactive), clergy's role (determine if the couple is ready for

marriage or just assist in helping the couple prepare for marriage), and fees and other procedures,

rules and requirements for premarital counseling.

Research Questions

This study addressed the following research questions:

* What are the background characteristics (Length of time as pastors providing premarital
counseling, religious aff61iation/denomination, gender, age, congregation size, church
location (i.e., rural, suburb, or city), and educational background) of African American
Clergy?

* What topics do AAC feel are most and least important in premarital counseling?

* What is the level of confidence of AAC teaching and/or discussing certain topics in
premarital counseling?

* What are AAC's attitudes and beliefs about premarital counseling and their preparation to
do premarital counseling?

* Are there differences in AAC's level of confidence in providing certain aspects of
premarital counseling based on AAC demographics (whether or not the AAC has received










specialized training in PMC, age, church size, level of education/training, and church
denomination)?

* What is the relationship between AAC's assessment of importance of aspects of premarital
counseling and their confidence providing counseling in those particular aspects?

* What is the relationship between AAC's level of confidence in providing certain aspects of
premarital counseling and AAC attitudes assessed in the BCPCS (would like more
training, support more clergy and family counselors working together, feeling adequately
prepared to provide premarital counseling and welcoming a PMC manual or program
created for black clergy)?

Definition of Terms

* African American may be also referred to as Black also inclusive of Jamaican Americans
and Haitian Americans, who are similar to African Americans in racial features.

* Black Church also known as African American church is a group of people, mostly
African American together with an African American pastor who worships God together in
the same place as an organized group or institution. Douglas (2001) describes the Black
Church as a multitudinous community of churches that are diversified by origin,
denomination, doctrine, worshipping culture, spiritual expression, class, size, and other
less-obvious factors. He explains that although black churches may seem disparate, they
share a special history, culture, and role in black life, all of which attest to their collective
identity as the Black church.

* Clergy also used synonymously with Pastors, the leaders of a church congregation.

* Denomination term used to distinguish and classify churches into large groups by belief
and type of organization. Three common denominations surveyed in this study will be
Church of God in Christ, African Methodist Episcopal, and Baptist.

* Premarital counseling synonymous with marriage education and marriage preparation.
Stahmann (2000) defines premarital counseling as a process that enhances and enriches
premarital relationships in order to promote more satisfactory and stable marriages and less
divorce. The goals of premarital counseling include easing the transition from single to
married life, increasing couple stability and satisfaction, increasing friendship and
commitment to the relationship, increasing couple intimacy, and enhancing problem
solving and decision making skills (Stahmann, 2000). Russell and Lyster (1992) concur
noting that marriage preparation provide couples with the opportunity to examine
important aspects of their relationship and to develop skills necessary for communication
and negotiation around areas critical to the development of intimacy.










Organization of the Study

Chapter 2 contains a review of relevant literature. Chapter 3 contains the methodology of

this study including the research design sampling procedures, instrumentation, data collecting

procedures, research questions and hypotheses and procedures data analysis. Chapter 4 contains

the data analysis. Lastly chapter 5 discussed the findings of this study, implications for practice,

and recommendations for further research.









CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF LITERATURE

The negative affects of marital distress and divorce reverberate throughout society,

touching the lives of everyone in some way. Stanley and Markman (1997) assert that marital

distress and divorce has placed American children at great risk for poverty, alienation, antisocial

behavior, and mental and physical problems. Conflicts at home lead to decreased work

productivity for adults in their place of employment and for children in their schools. High

divorce rates (now above 50% for first-time marriages), and increased reports of domestic

violence elicit cries of alarm and apprehension in a great number of couples, religious leaders,

political leaders, persons in the media, and public policy advocates.

Preparation for marriage or premarital counseling has been suggested as one form of

divorce prevention (Fowers & Olson, 1986). Increased attention is being given to helping

couples prevent marital distress and divorce. Historically, little attention has been given to

premarital preparation until the past two decades (Stahmann, 2000). Support for prevention is

growing because people are increasingly getting clarity on the magnitude and implications of our

society's marital problems. Fraenkel, Markman, and Stanley (1997) assert that the rationale for

prevention is to provide couples with core skills and concepts for handling the inevitable

disagreements and problems of married life as they arise. They further propose that prevention

helps couples avoid the high emotional costs that accrue from unresolved, repetitive, and often

increasingly harsh arguments, and the significant loss of time and money spent in marital therapy

trying to restore an unhealthy marriage. Stahmann (2000) asserts that premarital counseling can

enhance and enrich premarital relationships thereby helping couples lead more satisfactory and

stable marriages.









Premarital counseling/marriage preparation strategies have evolved and developed over

time as researchers continue to conduct studies examining various issues regarding the

procedures and effectiveness of premarital counseling, including the stage of engagement in

which sessions take place, length of counseling sessions, number of sessions, role of the

provider, provider training, use of assessments, and content discussed. This chapter provides a

historical review of the premarital counseling literature in order to establish a rationale for this

study .

A Historical Review of Premarital Therapy

Before the 1900's

The literature before 1900 contains rare gems on premarital counseling and marriage

preparation. Around 80 A.D. the Apostle Paul wrote instructions about marriage to Christians in

Corinth and Ephesus and it is probable that these words have been shared with premarital

couples ever since (See I Corinthians and Ephesians in the New Testament). Stahmann and

Hiebert (1987) report that as early as 1164 marriage was an established sacrament in the church

and clergy had a special role to play in the lives of premarital couples. Clergy spoke of the

significance of marriage as a sacred union of a man and a woman, initiating a new relationship

with God as well as each other. It is interesting to note that clergy were counseling couples

numerous years before psychology and family therapy were established as professional

disciplines.

Between 1900 and the 1950's

Stahmann and Hiebert (1987) state that in the early 1900s premarital counseling by the

clergy consisted of teachings about the Christian nature of marriage, the place of religion in the

home, and rehearsal of the wedding rite. Before the 1950's psychologists would not have met

with those who suffered difficulties about the nature of their interpersonal relationship. Instead









they would havemet each person individually because problems were viewed as stemming from

neurotic or psychotic individuals in the relationship. The first mention of premarital counseling

as something of value in emotional and physical health was in an article in The Journal of

Obstetristics and' Gynecology in 1928. From that time to the mid 1950's, literature in premarital

counseling addressed physicians and made suggestions about what to include in the premarital

physical exam (Stahmann and Hiebert, 1987).

Stahmann and Hiebert (1987) report that the first course titled Preparation for Marriage

and Famnily Living was offered at Boston University instructed by Ernest R. Groves in 1924 and

Teachers College at Columbia University offered a similar class in 1929.

The first premarital program was developed at Merrill Palmer institute in 1932 (Carroll &

Daugherty, 2003). The Philadelphia Marriage Council was the first to establish a standardized

program in 1941 that sought to help young couples understand what companionship in married

life involves (Carroll & Doherty, 2003).

The 1950's and 1960's

Stahmann and Hiebert (1987) note that the challenges of World War Two had a great

impact on the growth of the Hield of psychology, particularly in advancing theories of human

interaction and personality. The search for explanations of schizophrenia led psychotherapists to

examine the family contexts of schizophrenic clients. They attended carefully to communication

patterns among family members, parents in particular, and learned that the health of marital

relationships did not solely rest on the mental health of the individuals in the marriage.

Therapists also began to see that the quality of the marital relationship was critical to the health

of families. However it was still a rarity for mental health professionals to conduct premarital

counseling.









Nonetheless, conversations about premarital counseling expanded in the 1950's and

1960's, with some writers asserting that premarital counseling is a vital informational and

educational service to couples, while others promoted premarital counseling as fostering skill

development (Stahmann & Hiebert, 1987). For example, Butterfield asserted that persons must

develop skills that enable them to function well in marital and family relationships just as they do

to function effectively in social relationships (Stahmann & Hiebert, 1987). Butterfield suggested

that young people are disappointed and develop problems in marriage because they lack the

skills to have a successful marriage. Stahmann and Hiebert (1987) also cite Ellis who argued

that ignorance about the nature of marriage is a cause of marital failure; that "it is assumed that

persons entering the marriage will automatically know how to adapt themselves to it, when in

fact this is often not the case" (Stahmann & Hiebert, 1987). Rutledge saw marriage as requiring

a maturing process that nurtures adult growth and responsibility, and suggested three basic

factors in preparing for marriage: discovery of selfhood, continued growth as an individual, and

possession of communication and problem solving skills.

The birth of family therapy attracted clergy members who thought training in this area

would be beneficial for ministry to the families in their congregation. Stahmann and Hiebert

(1987) cite researchers Stewart and Rutledge who recognized the expanding role of clergy in the

1940's and 1950's in examining and addressing the emotional readiness and maturity of the

couple for marriage (Stahmann & Hiebert, 1987).

The 1970's

Olson asserts that up until the 1970's premarital counseling for clergy and non-clergy alike

had a repair orientation and a pathological focus (Stahmann and Hiebert: 1987). In the 1970's

there was an elevated interest by both clergy and marriage professionals in preparing couples for

marriage. Spanier and Lewis (1980) emphasized the importance of the relationship between










premarital factors and marital quality as crucial to later quality and stability in marriage. The

first of four factors crucial to later marital satisfaction and stability is the variable of homogamy,

which asserts that the greater the homogamy or similarity in social and demographic factors, the

higher the marital qualities. The second of four factors relates to the similarity of emotional and

personal resources, such as interpersonal skills, emotional health, positive self concept, high

educational level, an older age at first marriage, high social class, physical health and a high

degree of acquaintance before marriage. The third factor said to produce higher marital

satisfaction for a couple involves positive parental models and includes: high marital quality in

family of origin, high level of happiness in one' s childhood, and a positive relationship with his

or her parents. The fourth and Einal factor references support from significant others, including

parent approval of the future mate, each partner liking the future in-laws, and the support of

friends. Spanier and Lewis (1980) add that premarital pregnancy, premarital sexual history, and

motivation for marriage should be considered and are moderated by the four factors (Stahmann

and Hiebert, 1987).

Premarital Counseling in Present

Premarital counseling has grown and expanded since the 1970's, and numerous, manuals,

programs, outcome research reports, inventories, publicity, and incentives promote premarital

counseling. The high divorce and separation rates and the social importance of stable families is

inspiring a marriage movement that is gaining momentum in the United States (Stanley, 2001).

Stanley (2001) states that there are private organizations like the Association for Couples in

Marriage Enrichment, the Institute for American Values, and the Family Life Educator initiative

of the National Council on Family Relations that are active in protecting and enhancing marriage

and family processes and dynamics (Stanley, 2001). Religious leaders are also becoming more









concerned about the strength and protection of the family as they notice the negative effects of

marital distress on members in their local congregations.

Like never before, state and federal governments are advocating for strengthening and

maintaining marriages. In Florida, the Marriage Preparation and Preservation Act of 1998

promotes premarital education. This act subtracts $32.50 from the cost of marriage licenses for

couples who attend at least four hours of premarital counseling from an approved provider (i.e.,

licensed mental health counselors, marriage and family therapist, psychologists, clinical social

workers and religious leaders who have registered with the state). The state of Florida developed

a list of topics that are recommended during the premarital sessions including conflict

management, financial management, communication, and children and parenting responsibilities.

The Florida Bar also wrote a family law handbook addressing all aspects of the law pertaining to

marriage and families; it is available to couples from the clerk of the circuit court upon

application for a marriage license (Smart Marriages, 1996).

Predicting Marital Success

Larson and Holman (1994) report that predicting marital success has been an interest of

family scholars and researchers for over half a century. The authors cite maj or studies with

premarital prediction components (i.e. Adams, 1946; Burgess & Cottrell, 1939; Burgess &

Wallin, 1953; Terman & Oden, 1947). Although marital prediction research in its beginnings

was theoretical in nature, marital prediction research has evolved today with theoretical

developments and advances in methodologies. Studies show that the quality of interaction

between the couple is highly predictive of future outcomes (Stanley & Markman, 1997)

John Gottman (1999) and associates have been conducting longitudinal research regarding

marriage prediction for over ten years. Gottman (1999) studied over 700 couples in evaluating

what contributes to their marital success and failure. In an article Gottman co-authored with his










wife, it says that it is possible to predict divorce and marital satisfaction with over 90% accuracy

using three predictors: emotional behavior, cognition and perception, and physiology (Gottman

& Gottman, 1999).

In regards to emotional behavior, Gottman and Gottman (1999) assert that there are four

negative interactional patterns that are most predictive of divorce. Gottman termed these

patterns as "the four horsemen of the apocalypse". These patterns are criticism, defensiveness,

contempt, and stonewalling. By contrast they look for a 5 to 1 positive to negative ratio of

interactions in predicting marital satisfaction.

In using cognition and perception as predictors, they look at whether the couple views their

marital problems as severe, whether they experience loneliness and arrange parallel lives to

avoid each other, and whether they believe there is no point in trying to work things out because

the partner won't change. Gottman and Gottman (1999) assert that such cognitions and

perceptions are predictive of divorce.

Gottman (1999) asserts that physiological responses can also be a predictor of divorce.

When people are upset and or stressed, their heart rate rises. When one's heart rate reaches 95 to

100 beats per minute, their body secretes epinephrine that diffuses physiological arousal.

Gottman and Gottman (1999) posit that persistent diffuse physiological arousal is predictive of

divorce.

Stanley & Markman (1997) base predicting marital success on the presence of risk factors

vs. protective factors. Risk factors are negative factors clearly associated with greater risk of

marital failure. Examples of risk factors include negative interactive patterns and dysfunctional

relationship beliefs. Protective factors are those that add to the chances of a couple doing well

over time and are therefore targets in preventive efforts. Examples of marital protective factors









include enhancing friendship, interpersonal support, and mutual dedication (Stanley & Markman,

1997).

Stanley & Markman (1997) write that factors shown to increase the risk of marital

dissolution include wives' employment and income, neuroticism, premarital cohabitation,

difficulties in the areas of leisure activities and sexual relations, physiological arousal prior to

problem-solving discussions, parental divorce, negative communication and problem-solving,

religious dissimilarity, differing levels of communication, and having dissimilar attitudes.

Strong signs of marital distress include negative reciprocity, poor affect management, and

withdrawal during problem conversations.

The Effectiveness of Premarital Counseling

Researchers, counselors, and family life educators are faced with the question of the long-

term effectiveness of premarital counseling. Because little longitudinal research has been

conducted evaluating marital satisfaction among those who received premarital counseling.

However, there is evidence of effectiveness in premarital counseling in some studies, notably the

landmark meta-analysis by Giblin, Sprinkle, and Sheehan, in 1985.

Giblin, Sprenkle, and Sheehan (1985) conducted a meta-analysis of 85 programs of

premarital, marital, and family interventions. This study, representing 3,886 couples, serves as a

foundational study supporting the effectiveness of marriage preparation/premarital counseling.

The study yielded an average effect size of .44 with a 95% confidence interval. When measuring

the premarital area alone the effect size was .53. The authors summarize the conclusion of their

study by stating:

The findings of the present study provide the most comprehensive
data base for existing enrichment research. Based on the 85 studies
included in this meta-analysis, enrichment produces an average affect
size of .44. This number is a standard deviation unit, which is
equivalent to a Z-score. By referring to a Z-table, this figure represents









an area of normal distribution curve of 67%, which is the difference
between treatment and control means. Thus, the average person participating
in enrichment is better off than 67% of persons who do not. If enrichment
was not effective, there would be an effect size of 0 (Giblin, Sprenkle, and
Sheehan, 1985)

Carroll and Doherty (2003) conducted another meta-analysis, reporting favorable results

about the effectiveness of premarital counseling. The authors' results revealed a .80 mean effect

size for premarital counseling meaning that the average person who participates in a premarital

counseling program is significantly better off than 79% of people who do not participate in a

premarital program. Cole and Cole (1999) assert that the greatest hope for helping couples

achieve the satisfying marriages they want lies in prevention programs and strength based

therapy programs. Stahmann (2000) writes that no studies have shown a negative affect in

participating in marital preparation programs. Stanley and Markman (1997) at Creighton

University, report on premarital preparation in the Catholic Church. These researchers found

that within the first four years of marriage 80% of those surveyed reported training as valuable.

Sullivan and Bradbury (1997) found that 90% of couples that had taken premarital counseling

would do so again.

Guerney and Maxson (1990) agree that enrichment programs are effective. The

researchers asserted that in regards to marriage enrichment programs, the field is entirely

legitimate, and no more research needs to be done regarding the issue.

Premarital Counseling Providers

Silliman and Schumm (1999) observe that premarital counseling is provided by clergy,

professional counselors, paraprofessionals, and counseling trainees. Premarital counseling

research and literature (Barlow, 1999; Murray, 2004; Stanley & Markman, 1997) continually

reports that clergy provide 75 to 80% of the premarital counseling offered. Silliman, Schumm,

and Jurich' s (1992) study reported that most people desire clergy as a premarital counseling









provider. Stahmann (2000) lends support, noting that premarital counseling has not been

identified as a regular part of the clinical practice of today's family therapists.

Silliman, Schumm, and Jurich (1992) write that premarital counseling provider traits most

valued by consumers are that the provider be well trained and respectful. On the contrary the

least desirable traits of providers are lack of openness and probing into the private lives of the

couple. Silliman and Schumm (1999) add that providers should be open, warm, professionally

competent, and able to provide confidentiality. The authors stress the importance of professional

competence over the providers' marital status.

Time of Counseling, Number of Sessions, and Length of Sessions.

Russell and Lyster (1992) assert that the timing of counseling has an impact on the

satisfaction levels. Couples whose wedding date was close to the counseling received reported

less satisfaction. The authors report that couples receiving counseling less than two months

before the wedding took fewer risks in talking about troublesome issues and learning new skills

than those receiving counseling more than two months before their wedding date. Silliman and

Schumm (1999) suggest that premarital counseling should take place four to twelve months

before the wedding, stating that new learning may pose a threat to wedding plans or established

relationship patterns. They believe that couples can benefit from premarital counseling in all

stages of their relationship; however, they should be advised of the risks of last minute training.

There are a variety of assertions in premarital counseling research about the length and

number of premarital counseling sessions. Duncan, Box, & Silliman (1996), in their study of

Black and White college students, report that consumers prefer one to six hours of counseling.

Williams, Riley, Risch, and Dyke (2000) conducted a study and found that eight to nine sessions

are ideal. Silliman, Schumm, and Jurich (1992) conducted a study of 185 undergraduates that









reveals that 3-4 hours in premarital counseling is preferred and options involving more than six

hours produced significantly lower mean scores for desirability.

Silliman and Schumm (1999) report that there are differences in the length and amount of

sessions, depending on the type of premarital counseling program. The authors state that church

based programs are usually shorter, rarely exceeding six hours. They also note that school or

community programs are longer than church based programs, often requiring more than eight

hours. Finally, Silliman and Schumm (1999) state that research-based programs are the longest,

usually ranging from 10 to 30 hours of training. The authors add that weekend formats work

well. The authors report the same for short sessions that occur over several weeks.

Content of Premarital Counseling

Premarital counseling content is one of the most researched and published aspects of

premarital counseling. Various authors write about the content of premarital counseling. Risch,

Riley, and Lawler (2003) note that content areas for PMC include: communication, conflict

resolution, marital expectations, role differentiation, sexuality, finances, parents and in-laws,

parenting, leisure, and religion. Stahmann (2000) asserts that important topics include marriage

quality/stability, family of origin influences, finance/budgeting, communication, decision-

making, intimacy, parenting, and sexuality. Stanley and Markman (1997) report a survey study

by the Center for Marriage and Family noting that the top three content areas for PMC in rank

order are communication, commitment and conflict resolution. The Center for Marriage and

Family also reports research that asserts the role of religion, values and children are important

topics for children.

Stanley and Markman' s (1997) research points toward the importance of targeting such

content areas as communication interactionall patterns), conflict management, attitudes and

beliefs, and core beliefs pertaining to marriage. Russell and Lyster (1992) agree, noting that










aspects of couple relationships include, but are not limited to, parenting, economic management,

relations with friends and family, ways of managing conflict, and communication styles.

Valiente, Belanger, and Estrada (2002) give further support with their study. These researchers

asked 56 individuals to identify three interventions that would help their relationship and report

that communication and problem solving are the aspects of premarital counseling that people

find most helpful. Duncan, Box, & Silliman, (1996) mention parenting skills, resolving

differences, and effective listening as the most desirable topics in premarital counseling. The

authors also reference research by Koval et al. (1992) that found that the most cited topics

desired in marriage preparation are communication skills, problem solving strategies, having

children, preventing violence, and identifying strengths and weaknesses in the relationship.

African American Families and Premarital Counseling

Silliman and Schumm (1999) report that little attention is paid in premarital counseling

research to the needs of premarital counseling clients and what they want to obtain from

premarital counseling. This is especially true of research that assesses the needs of non-white

audiences. The vast majority of the studies in premarital counseling are based on middle class

Caucasians. Carroll and Doherty's (2003) meta-analytic review of outcome research looking at

13 prevention programs revealed that the samples in the research are almost exclusively young,

European-American, middle-class couples. So, the authors caution providers against

generalizing this information to diverse populations. This lack of sample diversity is one of the

most glaring issues of research in premarital counseling because non-white groups make up a

third of the US population (Carroll & Doherty, 2003).

Duncan, Box and Silliman, (1996) in a study of Black and White college students, found

that Blacks reported a greater need than Whites for marriage preparation. Strikingly, the authors

also discovered that Blacks have less awareness of marriage preparation programs in general and









the norms surrounding them in particular. Ooms and Wilson (2004) write that because African

Americans live life differently than Caucasian Americans, African American couples need

programs and inventories that are designed for them and about them or at least with them in

mind.

African American family dynamics and structure differ from Caucasian in the number of

single-family households, marriage rates, separation rates, and divorce rates. Shipler (1997)

illustrates that the lives of African Americans and Caucasians in America are different. Sue and

Sue (1999) write that 82% of Blacks have no live-in father in the home compared to 43%

Whites, and 47% of black males are single, divorced, or widowed compared to 28% White

males. Saxton (1996) notes that Blacks have higher rates of separation and divorce rates than

any other ethnic groups in the United States. He continues by noting about two-thirds of black

children compared to one in five white children are born out of wedlock. Saxton (1996) further

writes that 39% of black children live with both parents compared to 76% of white children.

Ooms and Wilson (2004) present more findings in their article The Challenges of Oiffering

Relationship and Marriage Education to Low Income Populations, noting in particular that in

1950, 64% of Blacks and 68% of whites were married compared with 59% Whites and 44%

Black in 2002. Not only are African Americans marrying less frequently but more who do marry

are divorcing and separating than do Caucasians who marry (Ooms & Wilson, 2004). The

authors add that African American' s adverse circumstances of high mortality, high incarceration,

high j oblessness, and high rates of having a child out of wedlock contributes to their being less

likely to get married or stay married (Ooms & Wilson, 2004).









The Black Church

Douglas and Hopson (2001) state that the Black Church is a multitudinous community of

churches, diversified by origin, denomination, doctrine, worshipping culture, spiritual

expression, class, size, and other less-obvious factors that share a special history, culture, and

role in black life. They further assert that the Black Church plays a pervasive role in the lives of

black people as a conserver of morals and a strengthener of family life, often standing as the final

authority on what is Good and Right (Douglas & Hopson, 2001). Lincoln & Mamiya (1990) add

that historically, the Black Church has been the most important and dominant institutional

phenomenon in the black community. The authors report that as far back as the ending of the

civil war, the Black Church has assisted the black community, teaching economic rationality,

promoting education, and helping keep families together. Contrasting the Black Church with

white churches, Lincoln and Mamiya (1990) write that while civil and social concerns reflect a

Samaritan impulse in many white churches; such concerns are integral to what it means to be

church in the Black church. The Black church is the cultural womb of the black community

giving birth to new institutions like schools, banks, and low income housing, and it nurtures and

supports young talent for musical, dramatic, and artistic development. The black church is

engaged in most spheres of black life.

Lincoln and Mamiya (1990) state that The Church of God in Christ (COGIC), African

Methodist Episcopal (AME), National Baptist Convention USA (NBC), National Baptist

Convention of America (NBCA), and the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) are

among the seven maj or historically black denominations. It is estimated that 20 to 25% of all

black churches are rural. This is a high percentage considering the rural black population. It is

not uncommon for rural clergy to pastor more than one church. Rural church members seldom

receive the kind of pastoral attention such as counseling, pastoral visits, and pastoral leadership









as do members in urban and suburban churches. Lower class, uneducated Black people make up

a large part of black rural churches (Lincoln & Mamiya, 1990).

Lincoln and Mamiya (1990) estimate that approximately 95% of clergy in black churches

are male with an average age of 51 years old. The authors also note that most African

American Clergy have completed high school. Lincoln and Mamiya (1990) estimate that 42.9%

of the pastors of rural churches and 57.9% of the pastors of urban churches are full time pastors

without any other occupation (Lincoln & Mamiya, 1990).

Clergy

Stanley and Markman (1997) believe that religious organizations comprise the single

largest array of institutions in our culture that have both great interest in preventing marital

breakdown and the capability to deliver premarital intervention. They support their assertion in

stating that most people get married under the auspices of a religious organization. Furthermore,

religious organizations are more embedded in their respective cultures than other organizations,

and cultural resistances and barriers, which other institutions may encounter, are likely to be

greatly lessened because of it. Markman et al (2004) concur stating that clergy and laypersons

represent a passionate group of practitioners with access to many couples for premarital

counseling; they are unlikely to read scientific j ournals, but are receptive to summarizations of

research. Barlow (1999) writes that the Catholic Church has operated a program for engaged

couples for over 30 years; some churches even offer premarital Sunday school classes.

Barlow (1999) believes that change concerning premarital counseling must take place in

the church in order to help combat the increasing divorce rate. She observes that many clergy do

not have the time or training to carryout effective premarital counseling. Although, some

denominations have included instructions to pastors about the necessity of preparing couples for

marriage, detailed steps to follow are not provided. Clergy are not instructed on specific issues









to be discussed or the amount of sessions necessary, and are not given guidelines on how to

conduct premarital counseling. This leads to premarital counseling that is inconsistent and

ineffective. Barlow (1999) also asserts that because of the amount of time given to other duties

and responsibilities, pastors may not have time to devote six sessions to each couple. In

addition, ministers may feel under-trained and think they are not providing the best counseling

possible (Barlow, 1999). Silliman and Schumm (1999) add that few seminaries or graduate

schools train students in marriage preparation, resulting in clergy ambivalence.

Campion (1982) notes the difficulty clergy may have in addressing sexuality as a topic due

to embarrassment, and lack of knowledge, and breadth. He recommends questions on 1) sexual

history; 2) sexual honesty; 3) birth control/medical exam; 4) marital sex; 5) spiritual

considerations (but nothing on guilt, compatibility, or satisfaction criteria). He further proposes

discussions based on male and female responsiveness, sex role differences and consequences for

sex education and relationships. Other points of discussion include the broad definition of

sexuality, obstacles of sexual exploitation/violence, idealization, and the naturalism myth.

Finally he recommends rehearsing several male/female differences: 1) sight (M) and sound (F)

stimulation; 2) briefer male arousal time; 3) mood influences (F) and misinterpretations; 4) male

and female orgasmic experiences; 5) male and female "sexual peaks;" 6) physical and emotional

meanings of sex. He also notes importance of communication process about sex and intimacy.

Silliman and Schumm (1999) points out that clergy and many religiously oriented

premarital counseling programs are particularly concerned with moral teaching, evangelism,

screening and approval for marriage, and wedding rehearsals. In many cases, religiously

oriented young adults are uninterested in including such components in their premarital

counseling. Furthermore counseling with clergy can cause anxiety for some clients who fear









they will be criticized for their lifestyle and/or be denied a wedding service (Silliman &

Schumm, 1999).

Use of Assessments

Research in Premarital therapy has provided couples and counselors with a vast amount

of tools, techniques, assessments, and programs. Williams, Riley, Risch, and Van Dyke (2000)

found that using a premarital counseling inventory along with discussion between partners is

reported as the most helpful component of premarital counseling. Silliman and Schumm (1999)

assert that individual and couple strengths and needs should be assessed in premarital counseling.

The authors further posit that this assessment can be formal or informal but it should address

couple dynamics that predict marital outcomes and are amenable to behavioral change (i.e.

conflict resolution and patterns of communication). Larson and Holman (1995) note that an

adequate assessment should be 1) primarily or exclusively designed for assessing the premarital

relationship, 2) reliable and valid, and 3) easy to administer and interpret.

There are three widely used and psychometrically sound premarital inventories that will

now be reviewed: The Premarital Personal and Relationship Evaluation (PREPARE),

Preparation for Marriage (PREP-M) also referred to as Relationship Evaluation or RELATE, and

Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study (FOCCUS). They will be

described in terms of content, usage, psychometric properties, and sampling demographics.

Halford (2004) writes in her article The Future of Couple Relationship Education: Suggestions

on How It Can Make a Difference, that PREPARE, RELATE, and FOCCUS are the most widely

used inventories. The author further reports that these three inventories assess a broad range of

couple functioning dimensions and provide the couple with systematic feedback about the results

of the assessment. Halford (2004) mentions that the PREPARE, FOCCUS, and RELATE









instruments predict the traj ectory of relationship satisfaction in early years of marriage. Each

inventory measures a number of factors that are relevant to relationship outcomes.

PREPARE

PREPARE is a 125 item inventory designed to identify relationship strengths and work

areas in 11 different relationship areas. These areas include: realistic expectations,

communication, conflict management, children and marriage, sexual relationship, family and

friends, leisure activities, equalitarian roles, religious orientation, personality issues and financial

management (Fowers & Olson, 1986). According to Larson and his associates, a major strength

of PREPARE is that it is short and comprehensive. In contrast, the authors mention that a

weakness is that PREPARE is an expensive measurement inventory (Larson & Holman, 1995).

PREPARE is proven to be valid. PREPARE is also proven to be reliable with an internal

consistency reliability (alpha) averaged .70 and a test retest reliability average of .78 (Fowers &

Olson, 1986).

The participants in the original study consisted of 164 couples (328 individuals). The

average age of the husbands was 25.2 and the average age of the wives were 23.2. The median

income was $14,400 annually. Couples were primarily white and were Christian (Fowers &

Olson, 1986).

Presently over 1,000,000 couples have used PREPARE (www.1ifeinnovations. com). There

are other versions of PREPARE available to couples. There is a version for couples with

children (PREPARE-MC) as well as for couples who are cohabitating together (PREPARE-CC).

There are also several different translations for the PREPARE, including those in German and

Japanese (www.1lifeinnovations. com).









PREP-M

The PREP-M is another well-known inventory. The PREP-M was developed in 1980 and

originally called The Marital Inventories. During this time the test had over 350 items that were

designed for unmarried couples. The 1986 revision of the marital inventories became known as

the PREP-M (Holman, Larson, & Harmer, 1994). The PREP-M measures factors in five broad

areas: couple unity in values, attitudes, and beliefs; partner readiness for marriage; background

and home environment factors; personal readiness for marriage; and couple readiness for

marriage (Larson & Holman, 1995). According to Larson and Holman., the PREP-M is one of

the most comprehensive and least expensive instruments available to premarital couples and

others (Larson & Holman, 1995).

In 1989 the PREP-M was a 204-item test that took about 45 minutes to complete.

Something different about PREP-M is that it could be used with friends, family, or even

strangers as well as dating or engaged couples (Holman, Larson, & Harmer, 1994). The PREP-

M was also found to be reliable and valid.

There were 103 couples (206 individuals) that participated in the development of the

PREP-M. Sixty-eight percent of the participants grew up in the western United States. Seventy-

two percent of the participants had some form of college education. The ages of the participants

ranged from 17-48 years old. The mean age of all the participants was 22 years old. Ninety-five

percent of the participants in this study were Caucasian. Eighty percent of the participants were

Mormon (Holman, Larson, & Harmer, 1994).

The PREP-M has now developed further and in 1997 the name changed to RELATE

(Relationship Evaluation) assessment. Carroll (2001) notes that RELATE is divided into four

main subsystems: the individual subsystem (personality characteristics, styles of interacting,

values, and beliefs); the couple subsystem (couple communication, pattern of interacting, conflict









resolution); the familial context (parents couple relationship, parent-child relationships, overall

family tone); and the cultural context (social support, race, socioeconomic status, religion,

cultural beliefs) (Carroll, 2001).

FOCCUS

FOCCUS is a 156 item assessment thatwas published by the Archdiocese of Omaha

Nebraska. FOCCUS was designed to help couples learn and explore more about themselves and

their relationship. It was designed to help couples work through certain pertinent issues before

marriage. Larsen and Holman (1995) write that the inventory covers several areas including:

lifestyle expectations, personality match, personal issues, problem solving, religion and values,

parenting issues, marriage covenant, financial issues, and readiness issues (Larson and Holman,

1995). FOCCUS can be administered to groups or individuals and is available in Spanish,

Chinese, Korean, French, Portuguese, Polish, and Italian. FOCCUS is also available in Braille,

on audiotape, and in sign language on video (www.foccusinc. com).

FOCCUS has been used many times in a variety of contexts and has proven to be valid and

reliable (www.foccusinc. com). FOCCUS was updated in 1997 with cohabitating couples items

and was revised in 2000 based on items related to spirituality and religion (www.foccusinc. com).

A Move Toward Diversity

There is recent research (Asai & Olson, 2004) emphasizing a cross-cultural perspective in

premarital counseling. Each of the three questionnaires mentioned in the paper have been

translated into other languages. However, more emphasis needs to be placed in making these

inventories multiculturally sensitive in additional ways. Language makes up only a small part of

any individual or couple's culture. These instruments and inventories need to be revised in light

of the values, belief, and customs of each culture. Shuji Asai and David Olson make several

powerful assertions regarding this issue in their article Culturally Sensitive Adaptation of









PREPARE 0I ith Japanese Premarital Couples. The first assertion the authors make is that

studies that examine the issue of premarital relationships using cross-cultural populations are

needed, particularly since most premarital research in the United States is based on

predominantly white samples. Asai and Olson (2004) believe that many premarital inventories

lack cultural applicability due to the lack of effort to establish cultural sensitivity and

applicability through a carefully designed adaptation process. They report that in their research,

PREPARE was changed only in some sections rather drastically in an effort to be culturally

sensitive to Japanese couples. They note that it is rare that content experts from Caucasian and

other ethnic minorities collaborate together to discern the cultural applicability of the inventories

originally based on Caucasian normative sampling. They cite Gottman (1994) in declaring that it

is essential that family researchers place current premarital relationship issues in the historical

and cultural contexts in which particular familial structures are imbedded.

Conclusion

Change in the content and perspective of premarital counseling is greatly needed for non-

white populations, particularly for providers of premarital counseling to African American

couples. Research suggests (Sullivan & Bradbury, 1997; Silliman & Schumm, 1999) that

approximately 75% of premarital counseling is provided by clergy. The authors assert that many

clergy feel ambivalent about their preparation for premarital counseling because it is not covered

in most seminaries. Sullivan & Bradbury (1997) posit that continued efforts are needed for

marital therapists to work with churches to improve their premarital counseling programs. In

most cases, counseling services for African Americans will be provided at the black church by an

African American pastor. There are a significant number of African American pastors who

never attended seminary. Because fewer African American pastors attend seminary, and a small

number of seminaries or graduate schools provide training in marriage preparation programming,









it is unlikely that African American pastors have any training in premarital counseling. One is

left to wonder what are the beliefs, attitudes, and current practices of African American pastors

in premarital counseling.

Silliman & Schumm (1999) note that almost no research has been done that has assessed

the needs of non-white audiences or offered programming from a multicultural perspective. The

authors assert that more research is needed that considers and emphasizes the needs of non-white

clients. Silliman & Schumm (1999) state that the needs of minorities remain unclear today.

Sue and Sue (1999) write if counselors are to provide meaningful help to a culturally diverse

population, they must develop new culturally effective helping approaches. I believe that

premarital counseling is more effective when it is contextually and culturally sensitive. A way to

accomplish this goal is to work with African American pastors in developing programs that are

empirically supported programs that address the special issues of their congregation. The first

step in this process is to identify the attitudes, beliefs, values and current practices of African

American pastors in premarital counseling.









CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this study was to (a) describe the background characteristics of African

American Clergy who provide premarital counseling in the Black Church, (b) assess African

American Clergy attitudes and beliefs about the necessity, importance, and value of premarital

counseling in their local congregations and denominations, (c) assess the African American

Clergy perceived self efficacy in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling, (d)

determine African American Clergy desire for training in premarital counseling, (e) compare

African American Clergy premarital counseling content to the content for premarital counseling

supported by research, (f) compare African American Clergy premarital counseling style with

the style of premarital counseling supported by research, (g) assess the influence of African

American Clergy demographic factors on the content of their premarital counseling sessions, (h)

assess the influence of African American Clergy demographic factors on their style of premarital

counseling, and (i) assess clergy belief about their role in premarital counseling.

Variables

The independent variables included (a) whether the African American Clergy had received

specialized training in premarital counseling, (b) religious aff61iation/denomination, (c) age, and

(d) other related professional training of African American Clergy.

One set of dependent variables, the content of premarital counseling sessions, included (a)

conflict resolution, (b) communication, (c) finances, (d) parenting, (e) family, (f) friends, (d)

leisure, (e) commitment, (f) family of origin, (g) gender roles within the marriage (h) religion,

and (i) the sexual relationship.










Another set of dependent variables, included (a) African American Clergies' feelings about

being adequately prepared to provide premarital counseling, (b) their desires for training in

premarital counseling, and (c) their willingness to collaborate with mental health professionals in

regards to premarital counseling.

Research Design

This study used a cross sectional mixed mode survey research methodology. Cresswell's

(2005) report that cross sectional studies examine current attitudes, beliefs, opinions, or practices

supports this decision. Dillman's (2000) tailored design methods were utilized with a multi-

mode survey using phone, Internet, and face-to-face paper and pencil surveys. The tailored

design method is a way to develop surveys and design survey studies taking into account

respondent trust, reward and cost in order to reduce survey error. The study participants (African

American Pastors/Clergy) received a survey instrument that included their demographic

information investigates their beliefs, attitudes, preparation and practices in premarital

counseling.

Population

The population of this study was comprised of African American Clergy who were pastors

of predominantly black churches and who provided premarital counseling to their local

congregation. The pastors are comprised of various denominations within the context of the

black church. The three largest predominantly African American denominations were The

Church of God In Christ, Baptist, and African Methodist Episcopal so the maj ority of the sample

came from these denominations.

Sampling Procedure

Data Collection began after receiving approval of this study by the University of Florida

Institutional Review Board. Pastors were surveyed using three methods. The researcher









surveyed pastors in person by attending conferences where they were gathered, through online

surveys, and surveys conducted by phone. Because very little is found in the literature

concerning African American clergy and premarital counseling, the goal of this study was to

obtain a sample size of 300 persons. For this reason, the snowball sampling method was used as

the sampling method. Creswell (2005) described snowball sampling as a type of nonprobability

sampling that is an alternative to convenience sampling where the researcher asks participants to

identify other possible participants. Creswell (2005) further states that this sampling method can

yield a large number or participants for the study.

Key contact persons within the churches of various denominations were utilized. These

contact persons received a letter by email or by hand (See appendix B) asking them to provide

contact information for pastors whom they referred to the study. These key contact persons also

received a letter (see appendix C) explaining the purpose of the research and asking for support

that they gave to those persons they referred to the study. I also obtained contact information

from online denominational directories and those churches that are listed in online yellow pages

and phone books.

Person to Person Paper Surveys

Using contacts throughout various denominations, I attended several conferences where

African American Clergy gather for enrichment. I spoke to the conference coordinators and

participators asking them to announce or to allow me to announce my presence and purpose at

their conference. I also conducted free workshops at one conference in particular on the topic of

premarital counseling. In the case of the workshop, I asked that the surveys be done before

hearing me present to avoid bias on the survey. In the cases where there were no workshops, I set

up an area where I was able to explain my research and ask pastors to take the time to fill out the

survey. I also gave the pastors the option of filling out the survey online.









Online Surveys

Church and clergy e-mail addresses were obtained from Internet Church and

denominational directories and other clergy who referred clergy to the study by forwarding the e-

mail I originally sent. The African American Clergy (AAC) were sent an email explaining who I

was, the purpose of this research, and asking their participation in this research study. The e-

mail sent to AAC included a link to the online survey, as well as my contact information inviting

them to contact me for further questions as needed; they could also request a copy of the results

of the study if they so desired. The survey itself was designed in a manner that was considered

to be user friendly for those with minimal computer skills (Dillman, 2000). Survey Monkey, a

web company that hosts surveys online maintained the site where African American Clergy went

to complete the survey.

Telephone Surveys

Nelson (1996) asserts that phone interviews are effective when a large number of people

must be interviewed. Since many pastors are not intemet savvy, a few people were hired and

trained to call African American Clergy and to ask them to participate in the study. To make

African American Clergy feel more comfortable taking the survey by phone, the people trained

to call clergy were selected based upon there knowledge of the Black Church and its culture and

language. These individuals were given a script (see appendix D) as to what they were to say on

the phone before reading the survey. A script for leaving a message was also provided for those

making the phone calls. I acquired a list of pastors' contact information from key contact people

in various denominations. I also discovered phone numbers from Intemet searches. Those

interviewing by phone were asked to put a CP in the comer of the upper right side of the paper to

note the person was contacted by phone. A confidential phone log (see appendix F) was

maintained by the callers to help them keep track of who they called and when they called.









Instrumentation

The Black Clergy Premarital Counseling Survey (BCPCS) is a 54 question survey. The

survey requests African American Pastors' demographic information, their attitudes and beliefs

about premarital counseling, their confidence in premarital counseling, and the topics they think

are important to cover in premarital counseling.

To establish content validity, three licensed marriage and family therapy professionals

reviewed the BCPCS and provided suggestions on possible revisions. The survey was then

given to five African American Clergy. The clergy were asked the following after looking at the

survey: 1) Is there anything about the survey that was unclear to you, 2) Is there any part of the

survey that seemed offensive to you, 3) What are you thoughts about the length of the survey, 4)

What are your thoughts about the appearance of the survey, 5) Is there anything you think should

or should not be included in the survey, and 6) Do you have any other comments, questions, or

suggestions regarding this survey? Revisions were then made according to the feedback and

suggestions from the clergy. Because the BCPCS is basically a questionnaire to gather

information, it was decided that a pilot test of the instrument was not needed. See the copy of

the BCPCS in appendix A.

Operational Research Questions and Hypotheses

The following research questions and hypotheses were evaluated in the data analyses:

* Research question 1: What are the background characteristics and demographics of
African American Clergy (AAC) providers of premarital counseling based on responses on
the BCPCS?

* Research question 2: What topics do AAC feel are most and least important in premarital
counseling?

* Research question 3: What is the level of confidence of AAC teaching and or discussing
certain topics in premarital counseling?









* Research question 4: What are AAC's attitudes and beliefs about premarital counseling
and their preparation to do premarital counseling?

* Research question 5: Are there differences in AAC's level of confidence in providing
certain aspects of premarital counseling based on AAC demographics (whether or not the
AAC has received specialized training in PMC, age, church size, level of
education/training, and church denomination)?

* Ho(1): There will be a difference in AAC's level of confidence in providing certain
aspects of premarital counseling based on whether or not AAC has received specialized
training.

* Ho(2): There will be no difference in AAC's level of confidence in providing certain
aspects of premarital counseling based on AAC church denomination.

* Ho(3): There will be a difference in AAC's level of confidence in providing certain
aspects of premarital counseling based on AAC age.

* Ho(4): There will be a difference in AAC's level of confidence in providing certain
aspects of premarital counseling based on AAC's church size.

* Ho(5): There will be a difference in AAC's level of confidence in providing certain
aspects of premarital counseling based on AAC's level of education/training.

* Research question 6: What is the relationship between AAC's assessment of importance
of aspects of premarital counseling and their confidence providing counseling in those
particular aspects?

* Research question 7: What is the relationship between AAC's level of confidence in
providing certain aspects of premarital counseling and AAC attitudes assessed in the
BCPCS (would like more training, support more clergy and family counselors working
together, feeling adequately prepared to provide premarital counseling and welcoming a
PMC manual or program created for black clergy)?

* Ho(6): There will not be a positive relationship between AAC's level of confidence
providing certain aspects and their attitudes and beliefs about premarital counseling and
their a preparation to do premarital counseling.

Data Analysis

Descriptive statistics were calculated for the African American Clergy demographic

variables. Means and standard deviations were calculated for each of the continuous variables

(i.e. age, length of sessions, number of sessions). Frequencies and percentages were calculated

for each categorical variable (i.e. whether or not the clergy has received specialized training in










premarital counseling, level of education/training, church size, church location, church

denomination).

Psychometric properties were determined for the BCPCS. The BCPCS content validity

was determined by a review of the BCPCS by two marriage and family therapists who are

professors. A group of Hyve pastors were asked to take the survey and provide feedback about its

clarity, length, and formatting style.

A rank ordered means of analysis was used to answer question three. Mean scores for all

the topics were calculated for each of the topics. The topics were then ranked according to their

means for all African American Clergy.

An ANOVA was used to answer question four assessing AAC's confidence, and question

Hyve assessing AAC's attitudes and beliefs about premarital counseling. Nelson (1996) notes that

ANOVA's are appropriate statistical tests to use in survey research to answer likert scale

questions.

Several ANOVA' s were conducted to test hypothesis based on research question six,

which corresponds to hypothesis one through Hyve. Because age was not a categorical variable in

this study, correlation analysis was used to analyze the relationship of age and AAC confidence.

A correlation analysis was conducted to determine if there is a relationship between AAC's

assessment of importance of aspects of premarital counseling and their confidence providing

counseling in those particular aspects for question seven. The same statistic was used to

determine if there is a relationship between AAC's level of confidence in providing certain

aspects of premarital counseling and AAC attitudes assessed in the BCPCS for question eight.









CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

The results of a survey of African American/Black Clergy are presented in this chapter.

The survey assessed the attitudes, beliefs, preparation, and practices of Black clergy in

premarital counseling. First, the background and demographic characteristics of the sample

are presented. Next, the analysis of each research question in this study is discussed

including the following: (a) AAC's assessment of the relative importance of topics in

premarital counseling; (b) AAC's level of confidence in teaching and/or discussing specific

topics in premarital counseling; (c) AAC's attitudes and beliefs about premarital counseling;

(d) AAC's preparation to do premarital counseling; (e) The relationship between AAC

demographic information (whether or not the AAC has received specialized training in PMC,

age, church size, level of education/training, and church denomination) and their level of

confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling; (f) the relationship between

AAC's assessment of the importance of aspects of premarital counseling and their confidence

providing counseling in those particular aspects; (g) the relationship between AAC's level of

confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling and AAC attitudes assessed

in the BCPCS (i.e., would like more training; support more clergy and family counselors

working together; feeling adequately prepared to provide premarital counseling and

welcoming a PMC manual or program created specifically for black clergy). Lastly, AAC's

responses to the open ended question on the BCPCS are reported. All tables referred to in

this chapter are located at the end of the chapter.

Sample Demographics

The first research question examined the background information of Black/African

American Clergy. Because of the difficulty in quantifying an exact number in the population,

the lack of information about African American clergy in counseling research, and the desire










to gain information from as many African American clergy as possible, a convenience sample

method was chosen.

The Black clergy in this study represented several denominations, church locations, and

congregation sizes. The Church of God in Christ (the denomination of the researcher)

comprised 56.9% of the respondents, African Methodist Episcopal and Baptist denominations

each made up 8% of the participants. Nondenominational churches comprised 10.2% of the

sample, and 17. 1% of respondents represented congregations that did not fit in either of these

categories (Table 1). In terms of marital status, 63.5% of the clergy were in their first

marriage, 22.4% had remarried after the death of a wife or a divorce, 4. 1% were widowed

and had not remarried, 5% had never married, and 5% were divorced and had not remarried

(Table 2).

The age of the respondents ranged from 19 to 86 years with the average age being 49.5

years. The median and modal age was 51 years and 50 years respectively. Males comprised

84.9% of the sample and females made up 15.1% (Table 3). Most of the sample 97.5 % was

from the United States. Other countries represented in this study were Jamaica, Canada,

England, St. Kitt and Nigeria (Table 4).

Approximately half of the clergy who participated in this study served churches that

were located in rural areas (47%). Clergy serving in inner city/impoverished neighborhoods

comprise 26.1%. The remaining 26.9% of the sample served in suburban areas or upper

middle class areas near large cities (Table 5). In terms of the number of people in the various

congregations, 3 1.1% of the respondents report being from churches with less than 50 people.

26% of the participants are from churches having 50 to 100 and 100 to 300 members

respectively. Less than 10% of the clergy in this study served churches with over 500

members (Table 6).









The Black clergy in the sample also had various levels of ministerial training.

Approximately half (53.3%) had earned a seminary degree, 40.9% reported certification

based on training received within their church or denomination, 26.9% based on

mentorship/apprenticeship training, 18.6% were self educated and 8.7% indicated other

means of education (Table 7). The educational achievements of the Black clergy in the

sample ranged from one without a high school diploma to 9 PhD degrees (Table 8). A small

percentage of the sample 3.8% had earned a PhD, 23% a master' s degree, 27.6% a bachelor' s

degree 14.2% an associate's degree, and 22.2% a high school diploma. Only one respondent

reported never having graduated from high school (.4%).

More Black clergy reported not having completed specialized training in premarital

counseling (53.3%) than those that reported completing such training (46.7%) (Table 9) Of

the clergy who reported having had some preparation for premarital counseling, 29.5%

completed a seminary class, 59.8% cited their reading program, and 9.4% reported no

training at all (Table 10).

AAC's Assessment of Relative Importance of Topics in Premarital Counseling

Question two dealt with Black Clergy's assessment of relative importance of certain

topics in premarital counseling. The responses ranged from 1 which indicated the topic was

of absolutely no importance to 5 which indicated that it was extremely important. Mean

scores were calculated for each topic listed on the Black Clergy Premarital Counseling

Survey (Table 11). The topics rated as most important by clergy are couple communication,

with a mean of 4.96 and a standard deviation of .21, couple commitment to the marriage, with

a mean of 4.94 and standard deviation of 0.25, and conflict resolution, with a mean of 4.85

and a standard deviation of 0.40. The topics selected as least important were maintenance of

friendships outside of the marriage, with a mean of 3.88 and a standard deviation of 0.74,









maintenance of extended family relationships, with a mean of 4. 15 and a standard deviation

of 0.73, and family of origin issues, with a mean of 4. 19 and a standard deviation of 0.81.

AAC's Level of Confidence of Teaching and or Discussing Certain Topics in Premarital
Counseling

Question four dealt with Black Clergy's assessment of their confidence in teaching,

addressing and discussing various topics in premarital counseling. The responses ranged

from 1 which indicated s/he was not at all confident to 5 which indicated s/he was extremely

confident. Mean scores of clergy confidence were calculated for each topic listed on the

Black Clergy Premarital Counseling Survey (see table 12). The topics clergy rated as "most

confidence in addressing" were (a) couples commitment to the marriage, with a mean of4.68

and standard deviation of 0.50, (b) Couples expectation/gender roles, with a mean of 4.45 and

a standard deviation of 0.61, and (c) Parenting issues, with a mean of 4.43 and a standard

deviation of 0.64. The topics selected as areas in which clergy had the least confidence were

(a) maintenance of friendships out side of the marriage, with a mean of 4.09 and a standard

deviation of 0.76, (b) maintenance of extended family relationships, with a mean of 4. 13 and

a standard deviation of 0.73, and (c) family of origin issues, with a mean of 4. 16 and a

standard deviation of 0.75.

AAC's Attitudes and Beliefs about Premarital Counseling and their Preparation to do
Premarital Counseling

Black Clergy answered a variety of questions soliciting their thoughts, beliefs and

attitudes about premarital counseling. The responses were based on a Likert scale with 1 =

strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neither agree nor disagree, 4 = agree, and 5 = strongly

agree (Table 13). Eighty-four percent of clergy strongly agreed that premarital counseling

should be mandatory before marriage. While 12% agreed, 3% neither agreed nor disagreed

and only one person disagreed that premarital counseling should be mandatory before

marriage. The average response for this question was 4.81. When asked if premarital









counseling helps build strong marriages 69% of clergy strongly agreed, 25% agreed, 6%

neither agreed nor disagreed, and only one person disagreed. The average response for this

question was 4.62. Clergy were also questioned if they thought premarital counseling helped

prevented divorce; 42% strongly agreed, 33% agreed, 19% neither agreed nor disagreed, 4%

disagreed, and 3% strongly disagreed. The average response for this question was 4.07. In

regards to specialized training, 50%of the clergy responding strongly agreed to "desiring

more specialized training in premarital counseling", 36% agreed, 10% neither agreed nor

disagreed, 4% disagreed and 1% strongly disagreed. The average response to this question

was 4.30. Black clergy were asked if they supported collaboration with family counselors to

provide premarital counseling: 54% strongly agreed, 37% agreed, 7% neither agreed nor

disagreed, and 2% disagreed. The average response for this question was 4.42. These

questions were tested for internal consistency using Cronbach's coefficient alpha. The

Cronbach's alpha score was .88 (Table 14).

Using the same Likert scale, Black clergy were asked if they felt they had a strong

premarital counseling program: 23% strongly agreed, 41% agreed, 25% neither agreed nor

disagreed, 8% disagreed and 2% strongly disagreed. The average response for this question

was 3.76. Clergy were also asked if they felt adequately prepared to do premarital counseling:

33% strongly agreed, 44% agreed, 17% neither agreed nor disagreed, 5% disagreed, and 2%

strongly disagreed. The average response for this question was 4.0. Clergy were asked if

they would welcome a premarital counseling manual created for Black clergy: 72% strongly

agreed, 22% agreed, 4.1% neither agreed nor disagreed, with only one respondent strongly

disagreeing. The average response for this question was 4.65.

Black Clergy were asked a variety of questions regarding their preparation to provide

premarital counseling. More Black clergy reported not having completed specialized training

in premarital counseling (53.3%) than those that reported training (46.7%). Of the clergy









who reported having had some preparation for premarital counseling, 29.5% completed a

seminary class, 59.8% cited their reading program, and 9.4% reported no training at all.

Black clergy were asked to rate on a Likert scale their familiarity with premarital counseling

research and whether or not they used a well researched premarital counseling program. 17%

of clergy strongly agreed, 29% agreed, 26% neither agreed nor disagreed, 19% disagreed and

9% strongly disagreed to using a well researched program. The answers ranged from 1 to 5

with the average being 3.27. Concerning their familiarity with premarital counseling

research, 7% strongly agreed, 12% agreed, 24% neither agreed nor disagreed, 22%

disagreed, and 35% said that they were NOT familiar with premarital counseling research.

The Relationship between AAC Demographic Information and their Level of
Confidence in Providing Certain Aspects of Premarital Counseling

The fifth question examined the relationship between certain demographic factors of

Black clergy and their confidence in performing various functions in premarital counseling.

The first research hypothesis states that there will be a difference in AAC's level of

confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling based on whether or not

AAC has received specialized training. A t-test was conducted. The results of this analysis

revealed that there was a statistically significant difference between clergy who had

specialized training in premarital counseling and clergy who did not have specialized training

thus, indicating support for the first research hypothesis (Table 15).

The second hypothesis was that there will be no difference in AAC's level of

confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling based on AAC church

denomination. The results of an ANOVA indicated that there were no significant differences

between various denominations and the clergies' level of confidence (p=.41) thus, supporting

the research hypothesis (Table 16).

The third hypothesis states that there will be a significant relationship between AAC's

level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling and AAC age. Using









correlation analysis, the third research hypothesis was tested. The result of the analysis

indicated that there were no statistically significant relationship between AAC's age and

AAC's level of confidence (r = .02, p = .75) thus failing to support the research hypothesis

(Table 17).

The fourth hypothesis states that there will be a difference in AAC's level of

confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling based on AAC's church size.

Using ANOVA, the fourth research hypothesis was tested. The result of the analysis

indicated that there were no statistically significant difference among AAC church

membership size on AAC's level of confidence (p=. 19) thus, failing to support the research

hypothesis (Table 18).

The fifth hypothesis states that there will be a difference in AAC's level of confidence

in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling based on AAC's level of education.

Using ANOVA, the fifth research hypothesis was tested. The result of the analysis indicated

that there were no statistically significant difference among AAC's level of education on

AAC's level of confidence (p=.86) thus, failing to support the research hypothesis (Table 19).

The six hypothesis states that there will be a difference in AAC's level of confidence in

providing certain aspects of premarital counseling based on AAC's level of training. Using

an ANOVA, the sixth research hypothesis was tested. The result of the analysis indicated that

there were no statistically significant difference among AAC's level of training on AAC's

level of confidence (p=.86) thus, failing to support the research hypothesis (Table 20).

The Relationship Between AAC's Assessment of Importance of Aspects of Premarital
Counseling and their Confidence Providing Counseling in those Particular Aspects

The sixth question examines the relationship between AAC's assessment of importance

of aspects of premarital counseling and their confidence providing counseling in those

particular areas. Correlation analyses were used to answer this question. Correlation

coefficients between AAC's assessment of importance of aspects of premarital counseling









and their confidence providing counseling in those particular aspects are presented (Table

21). The result of the analysis indicated that there were several statistically significant

relationships between AAC's assessment of the importance of aspects of premarital

counseling and their confidence providing counseling in those particular aspects. For

example, individuals who reported a high level of confidence in discussing the couple's

sexual relationship also rated this topic as very important (r = .41, p < .01).

There were also certain noteworthy patterns of significant relationships when

examining the data. For example, the columns noting confidence in discussing fun and

leisure and discussing couple's sexual relationships had significant correlations with the

assessment of relative importance for each topic tested. Those columns regarding confidence

in teaching conflict resolution and addressing maintenance of friendships outside of the

marriage also had significant correlations with the assessment of relative importance for each

topic. When examining patterns by topic, there are significant relationships with the measure

of confidence in each area for the topic of fun and leisure in a marriage (Table 21).

The Relationship between AAC's Level of Confidence in Providing Certain Aspects of
Premarital Counseling and AAC Attitudes Assessed in the BCPCS

The seventh question examined the relationship between AAC's level of confidence in

providing certain aspects of premarital counseling and AAC attitudes assessed in the BCPCS

Correlation analyses were used to answer research question eight. Correlation coefficients

between AAC's level of confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling and

AAC attitudes assessed in the BCPCS are presented (Table 22). The result of the analysis

indicated that there were several statistically significant relationships between AAC's level of

confidence in providing certain aspects of premarital counseling and AAC attitudes assessed

in the BCPCS.

There are several patterns of significant correlations regarding certain attitudes and

clergy confidence. For example there were significant correlations in every area of









confidence and those rating feeling adequately prepared to do research and those feeling like

they have a strong premarital counseling program. Also, interestingly there were no

correlations with any area clergy confidence and the desire for more training in premarital

counseling (Table 22).

Response to Open ended Question

Four open ended questions were asked at the end of the survey. The first two questions

asked Black Clergy their suggestions on the number and length of sessions they thought

appropriate for premarital counseling. The number of sessions ranged from one to 12 with

three and six sessions suggested as the model number. The suggested length of premarital

counseling sessions ranged from 30 minutes to four hours, the mode or most commonly

suggested length of a session was one hour.

There were a variety of responses to the third open ended question which asked Black

clergy how they view their role in premarital counseling. However common themes and

roles were suggested the most common of which was the role of a facilitator. Examples of

clergy responses are as follows:

* Facilitation and guide to discussing issues of marriage

* To facilitate each session by encouraging them to begin the communication process

* Discussion and discovery facilitator

* Facilitator and discussion leader.

* Facilitate discussion of matters and issues relevant to couple.

* Facilitator listener

* Facilitate understanding and communication.

* Facilitate bring awareness of expectations

* Facilitative helper

* Facilitation/leading in bible base direction










A number of clergy emphasized the role of spiritual teacher by identifying these

activities:

* Showing people what the Bible says about marriage, explaining Biblical roles in
marriage

* To provide practical Bible based information that

* Spiritual aspect of marriage

* To let them know that they need to keep the Lord Jesus Christ 1st and foremost in their
marriage

* To bring out the biblical truth on marriage

* Biblical directions concerning marriage

* To help the couple understand God's purpose for marriage

* To give clear biblical instruction of what is expected of the husband and the wife

* To inform them about what the Bible says about a good marriage

* Make sure I marry two Christians

* Direct lives according to the Bible

* Basic biblical principles

* Resident theologian to clarify and reinforce Christian marriage principles and
encourage a Christ centered marriage. Help the couple see marriage through the eyes of
God.

Various clergy emphasized the role of expert/advisor. Examples of clergy responses

regarding their role as an expert/advisor include:

* An advisor

* Strongly advise implement marriage advice on how to hold a marriage together for
long time

* To explain the good and bad about marriage and relationships

* Advising recommendations

* Giving advice answering questions

* Make people aware of what marriage is all about










* I guide, direct, advise and provide information to ensure success

* Advisor informer,

* Adviser/teacher/facilitator, etc

Some clergy screen couples to make sure that the couples are right for each other and

that each couple is ready for marriage. Examples of clergy responses that place them in the

role of a screener include:

* On occasion, slow them down and let them know its O.K. to postpone or even cancel
the wedding to work through issues. (I had one couple who took 5 years to decide they
were ready.)

* Assist in making sure each person has selected the right person and to discuss
information with them.

* I have refused to marry couples after some sessions.

The last open ended question asked Black clergy what skills or knowledge they think

they need or want to develop to strengthen their premarital program. There were some

notable common salient themes found in the responses of the clergy, particularly the desire

for more training, education, tools, and support. Examples of such response include:

* I serve as Certification Chair within my professional organization, American
Association of Pastoral Counselors www.aapc.org. We set standards and structure in
pastoral care and counseling. This is a mainstream body of clergy but few of us are
clergy of color. Every clergyperson needs advanced study in counseling theory which
includes marriage and family issues. This is crucial due to poor emotional health in the
African American community. It is now illegal to offer counseling without a licensure

* Proper material and practice

* Courses, seminars

* Educate OJT

* Workshop material assist with building a strong marriage

* Conflict resolution, extended family issues, financial planning, family planning

* Reality of life within culture. Don't play with truth

* Ethnocentric Assessments

* Better skill in how to elicit information









*A PMC Manual


* Insights from other Christian leaders on the topic of marriage

* Academic training

* Taking a course in premarital counseling to enhance my skills

* There needs to be workshops on marriage and as a continuous part of the local church.
There needs to be an established program for couples before and after marriage

* More education and research

Some Black clergy felt that they did not need anything to strengthen their premarital

program. Examples of responses of clergy with this perspective include:

* Well sir let me say this I been in the COGIC for a long time and it is time that we
talked to everyone the same. Let me explain you are stating black marriages which are
no different than white or any other color that' s one hang up cause I don't believe we
are just black ministers or ministering to black people. When I first came into the
COGIC being a white man but following what the lord had told me I would pray that I
would get some black parishioners and at the same time would hope they wouldn't
come cause I was frightened that I might not know how to minister to them especially
in a marriage situation so one bible study night I sat in my office bound in fear and
torment hoping no black person would show up yet so badly I wanted that mixed
church, when all of a sudden the lord spoke to me and said why are you so fearful after
telling him he said to me you don't have to be bound you have the best tool for
everything right there it will work for all ages and groups and people. The Lord set me
free and you can counsel every one with that bible the word of god nothing more
nothing less and it works for all color and race even Isaiah said we shall call him
counselor and my church is mixed and 80%black 5% Hispanic the rest white I
believe it works that' s the real bishop mason church ( mixed)

* I'm ok as is.

* N/A










Table 1 Re spondents' Church Denominati on/Clas sifi cati on
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Percent
Valid COGIC 139 56.3 56.5 56.5
AME 21 8.5 8.5 65.0
Baptist 20 8.1 8.1 73.2
Non-Den 24 9.7 9.8 82.9
Other 42 17.0 17.1 100.0
Total 246 99.6 100.0
Missing System 1 .4
Total 247 100.0


Cumulative
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Percent
Valid Male 208 84.2 84.9 84.9
Female 37 15.0 15.1 100.0
Total 245 99.2 100.0
Missing System 2 .8
Total 247 100.0

Table 4 Respondents' Country of Origin
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Percent


Table 2 Respondent Marital Status


Table
3
Respo
ndents


Valid Percent
63.8
22.5
5.0


Frequency
153
54


Percent
61.9
21.9
4.9
4.0
4.5
97.2
2.8
100.0


Valid


1st marriage
Remarried
Divorce not remarried
Widowed not remarried
Single never married
Total
System


4.2 Gende
4.6r
100.0


Missing
Total


97.5
98.3
100.0


235
2


95.1
.8
1.6
97.6
2.4
100.0


97.5


Valid


USA
Jamaica
Other
Total
System


1.7
100.0


Missing
Total














































Valid






Missing
Total


Degree
Certification
Mentorship
Self-education
other
Total
System


Table 5 Respondents' Church Location


Cumulative
Percent
47.7
63.9
90.0


Frequency
115
39
63

24

241
6
247


Percent
46.6
15.8
25.5


Valid Percent
47.7
16.2
26.1


Valid


Rural
Suburban
Inner city
City
middle
Total
System


9.7

97.6
2.4
100.0


10.0


100.0


100.0


Missing
Total


Table 6 Respondents' Church membership size


Cumulative
Percent
31.3
57.5
84.2
90.8
95.0
100.0


Frequency
75
63
64
16
10
12
240
7
247


Percent
30.4
25.5
25.9
6.5
4.0
4.9
97.2
2.8
100.0


Valid Percent
31.3
26.3
26.7
6.7
4.2
5.0
100.0


Valid








Missing
Total


50 or less
50-100
100-300
300-500
500-1000
Over 1000
Total
System


Table 7 Respondents' level of training


Cumulative
Percent
54.2
88.1
96.2
98.7
100.0


Frequency
128
80
19
6
3
236
11
247


Percent
51.8
32.4
7.7
2.4
1.2
95.5
4.5
100.0


Valid Percent
54.2
33.9
8.1
2.5
1.3
100.0





























Table 9 Respondents' specialized training in premarital Counseling
Cumulative
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Percent
Valid Yes 113 45.7 46.9 46.9
No 128 51.8 53.1 100.0
Total 241 97.6 100.0
Missing System 6 2.4
Total 247 100.0

Table 10 Respondents' Level of training in premarital counseling
Frequenc Cumulative
y Percent Valid Percent Percent
Valid Seminary ^


Table 8 Respondents' highest level of education completed


Cumulative
Percent
3.8
17.9
38.9
65.4
79.1
99.6


Valid Percent
3.8
14.1
20.9
26.5
13.7
20.5


Frequency
9
33
49
62
32
48


Percent
3.6
13.4
19.8
25.1
13.0
19.4


Valid










Missing
Total


PhD
Doc Div
Master
Bachelor
Associate
High/GED
Less than
high/GED
Total
System


100.0


94.7
5.3
100.0


100.0


class
Workshop/
semmnar
Premarital
program
Read books
None
Total
System


30U.0

32.1

6.7

22.9
8.3
100.0


30U.0


31.2

6.5

22.3
8.1
97.2
2.8
100.0


91.7
100.0


Missing
Total










Table 1 1 Respondents assessment of relative importance

couple communication 235
conflict resolution 236
financial planning 236
maintaining good ext fam rel 232
maintaining good friendships 230
couple sexual relationship 236
Having fun leisure time 237
making the marriage work 236
Good parenting 234
Understanding family-of-origin 236
Understanding husband/wife roles 237
Valid N (listwise) 216


of certain topics
Mean S1
4.96
4.85
4.74
4.15
3.88
4.53
4.49
4.94
4.74
4.19
4.70


td. Deviation
0.213
0.405
0.460
0.730
0.744
0.601
0.615
0.247
0.512
0.805
0.510


Table 12 Respondents level of Confidence

Teaching communication skills
maintenance of extended family
relationships
Teaching conflict resolution strategies
Discussing the significance of fun
Discussing the couple's sexual relationship
Addressing the maintenance of friendships
outside the marriage
Teaching family financial planning
Discussing the meaning of commitment
Discussing family-of-origin
Addressing husband/wife roles and
expectations
Discussing pregnancy and childbirth
Focusing on parenting issues
Valid N (list wise)

Table 13 Respondents attitudes and beliefs

Premarital counseling should be mandatory
before marriage
Premarital counseling helps build a strong
marriage
Premarital counseling helps prevent divorce
I would like more specialized training in
premarital counseling
I support Clergy & family counselors
working together to do premarital counseling
I feel like I have a strong premarital
counseling program
My denomination has a structured premarital
counseling program


N Mean
230 4.35
232 4.13


Std. Deviation
0.642
0.729


4.27
4.26
4.26
4.09

4.31
4.69
4.16
4.45

4.24
4.44


0.734
0.692
0.776
0.760

0.734
0.501
0.746
0.609

0.777
0.641


Mean
4.81

4.62

4.07
4.31

4.42

3.77

2.70


Std. Deviation
0.490

0.620

1.006
0.855

0.729

0.958

1.219










Table 13 continued
N Mean Std. Deviation

I use tests, inventories, or assessments in 226 3.48 1.266
premarital counseling sessions
I give homework for the couples in my 225 3.81 1.218
sessions
I teach skills to couples in my sessions 223 3.94 0.987
I feel adequately prepared to provide 225 4.01 0.931
premarital counseling
I would welcome a premarital counseling 229 4.65 0.663
manual or program created for black clergy
My church has established regulations about 221 3.15 1.362
Premarital Counseling
I already use a well researched premarital 225 3.29 1.196
counseling program
I am not familiar with premarital counseling 226 2.36 1.272
research
I do most of the talking in the premarital 227 2.58 1.139
counseling sessions
I talk very little in sessions I facilitate couple 225 3.43 1.063
discussion
Valid N (listwise) 203

Table 14 Reliability Statistics
Cronbach's Alpha N of Items
0.886 12


Table 15 AAC's confidence level with regards to specialized training
Mean SD t p (sig)


AAC with special training (n=103)
AAC without special training (n=111)


4.40
4.22


2.93


Table 16 Mean, standard deviation, and F score for AAC's confidence level
Mean SD F


P (sig)
.41


Church of God (n=1 19)
African Methodist (n=18)

Baptist (n=16)
Non-Denomination (n = 23)


4.26
4.35
4.41
4.41










Tablel7. Correlation coefficient for AAC age and AAC confidence level
Variable Age Confidence Level Mean SD


Age


49.50


12.02

.46


Confidence level


4.31


Table 18 score for AAC's confidence level


Under 50 (n=69)
50-100 (n=52)
100-300 (n=56)
300-500 (n = 14)
500-1000 (n=9)
1000 plus (n =10)


and church size
Mean SD

4.27 .46
4.30 .40
4.35 .47
4.18 .39
4.19 .71
4.62 .43


F

1.49











F

.42


P (sig)
.19











P (sig)
.86


Table 19 AAC's confidence level and education
Mean


Ph.D (n=7)
Doctor of Divinity (n=27)

MA (n=46)
BA (n = 54)
AA (n=28)

High School(n =44)


4.27
4.37
4.33
4.22
4.30
4.31


Table 20. Mean, standard deviation, and F


A degree from Seminary (n=112)
Certification (n=73)
Mentorship(n=1 6)
Self Education (n = 3)


score for AAC's confidence level
Mean SD F


P (sig)
.86


4.31
4.30
4.31
4.08










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CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION

The negative effects of marital distress and divorce have a tremendous impact on society,

touching the lives of everyone in some way (Stanley and Markman, 1997). High divorce rates

for first-time marriages of approximately 50% and ongoing domestic violence elicit a significant

amount of alarm and apprehension among couples, religious leaders, political leaders, persons in

the media, and public policy advocates. Stanley and Markman (1997) assert that marital distress

and divorce has placed American children at great risk for poverty, alienation, and antisocial

behavior. Conflicts at home lead to decreased work productivity for adults in their place of

employment and for children in their schools. The authors further assert that both adults and

children are at increased risk for mental and physical problems due to marital distress. These

assertions along with the special challenges in the Black community (e.g., high incarceration

rates, unemployment rates, high school dropout rates, single parent homes) calls for individual

attention to be given to assist this group of people.

One enduring and prominent institution dedicated to the betterment of the Black

community has always been and continues to be the Black Church. Premarital counseling can be

a useful tool in promoting lasting marriages and reducing marital distress (Murray, 2004). The

current study explores the attitudes, beliefs, preparation and practice of Clergy in the Black

Church in premarital counseling. This chapter will discuss the limitations of this study, present a

summary of my findings, present the implications of the findings and state recommendations for

further research.

Limitations of the Study

When conducting survey research, there are inherent limitations to be considered when

interpreting results (Nelson, 1996). This study has limitations in the following areas: sampling









issues, limitations associated with a mixed modal survey, social desirability, and self-

reporting/perception concerns.

One limitation of this study is that a non-probability sampling method was used,

specifically, snowball sampling. Snowball sampling involves the researcher asking participants

to identify others to participate in the study. This method has been useful in recruiting a larger

sample size. As a consequence, there was no knowledge of exactly who was in the study,

(response rate) who did and did not complete the survey and how well they represented the target

population (Creswell: 2004). Nelson (1996) asserts that non-probability sampling techniques

increase sampling error. Because Black clergy are a widely dispersed and diverse population,

and there is such a lack of representation of this population in counseling research, a maj or

endeavor was to obtain a large number of survey responses. There were no restrictions that

would possibly decrease my sample size. Nelson (1996) suggests that convenience sampling is

appropriate for exploratory studies where the population is large, potential biases are known by

the researcher, and population lists are difficult to obtain.

Another possible limitation is the use of a mixed delivery modes for the survey. There

were differences in the survey's appearance online versus black and white paper based surveys.

Dillman (2000) writes that differences in survey modes can influence participant responses. I

also found that certain pastors have colleagues and cohorts who are of like education and

technological skill. The pastors who responded on line were more likely to have completed

higher levels of education and be more technologically savvy. These pastors forwarded survey

links to other pastors who were similar in education and who were more likely to participate in

the study. I noticed more variety in clergy demographic factors in the paper based survey versus

the internet survey.









One other limitation of the study was the aspect of social desirability and relying on self

report measures. It is assumed that clergy would answer questions honestly and to the best of

their ability. However, the possibility that they would give an answer that presented the

participant in a positive light is always present with everyone. In checking I found that some

clergy avoided answering questions that would present them in a less positive light.

Another limitation of the study was that perception/self reporting. I also found that some

clergy answered questions incorrectly. Since I am a member of a particular denomination

represented in the study, I know that our denomination does not have established rules and

regulations for premarital counseling. Nonetheless, some clergy indicated on the survey that my

denomination did have established rules.

Summary of Major Findings

Maj or findings in this study address attitudes, beliefs, preparation and practices of Black

clergy regarding premarital counseling. Specifically, these findings illustrated the following:

Black clergy's assessment of the relative importance of specific topics in premarital counseling,

their report of their confidence addressing specific topics in premarital counseling, their attitude

about the importance and effectiveness of premarital counseling, their training and desire for

training, their feelings of adequacy, and the specific practices of Black clergy in premarital

counseling.

Importance of Topics and Clergy's Confidence in Addressing them

The findings of this study show that the topics rated most important by clergy were couple

communication, couple commitment to the marriage, and conflict resolution respectively. The

topics selected as least important were maintenance of friendships outside of the marriage,

maintenance of extended family relationships, and family of origin issues. The topics clergy

rated most confidence in addressing were the couple's commitment to the marriage, their









expectations/gender roles, and parenting issues respectively. The topics selected as areas in

which clergy had the least confidence were maintenance of friendships outside of the marriage,

maintenance of extended family relationships, and family of origin issues.

Clergy Attitudes and Beliefs

The study also explored clergy attitudes around premarital counseling. Black Clergy

answered a variety of questions soliciting their thought, beliefs and attitudes about premarital

counseling. The responses were based on a Likert scale where 1 = strongly disagree, 2 =

disagree, 3 = neither agree nor disagree, 4 = agree, and 5 = strongly agree. Almost all of the

clergy 97%strongly agreed or agreed that premarital counseling should be mandatory before

marriage. When asked if premarital counseling helps build strong marriages 94% of clergy

strongly agreed or agreed. Clergy were also questioned if they thought premarital counseling

helped prevent divorce; 75% strongly agreed or agreed that premarital counseling helped prevent

divorce. Black clergy were asked if they supported collaboration with family counselors to

provide premarital counseling: 91% strongly agreed or agreed.

Clergy Preparation

More Black clergy reported not having completed specialized training in premarital

counseling (53.3%) than those that reported training (46.7%). Of the clergy who reported having

had some preparation for premarital counseling, 29.5% completed a seminary class, 59.8% cited

their reading program, and 9.4% reported no training at all.

Black Clergy also answered questions concerning their preparation or desire for

preparation to do premarital counseling. The responses were based on a Likert scale as above

where 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neither agree nor disagree, 4 = agree, and 5 =

strongly agree. 57% of the clergy indicated familiarity with premarital counseling research and

46% of clergy strongly agreed or agreed that they used a well researched premarital counseling









program. 77% of clergy strongly agreed or agreed that they felt adequately prepared to do

premarital counseling. 86% of clergy strongly agreed or agreed that they desired more

specialized training in premarital counseling. 94% of the Clergy strongly agreed or agreed that

they would welcome a premarital counseling manual created for Black clergy.

Clergy Practices

Most Black clergy (96.5%) required premarital counseling before marrying a couple. They

used a Likert scale as above to answer questions concerning their practices in premarital

counseling.

Approximately half of clergy (50%) strongly agreed or agreed to talking little in sessions

and facilitating couple discussion. 22% strongly agreed or agreed that they do most of the

talking in sessions. 75% of clergy reported teaching skills in session. 68% of clergy gave

homework, while slightly more than half (54%) reported using tests or inventories.

Implications of the Study

Implications for Practice

Although approximately 75% of premarital counseling is provided by clergy (Sullivan &

Bradbury, 1997; Silliman & Schumm 1999), Sullivan & Bradbury (1997) assert that many clergy

feel ambivalent about their preparation for premarital counseling. Over 50% of Black clergy in

this study had no specialized training in premarital counseling. Therefore many clergy are

providing premarital counseling services without training to do so. I join with Sullivan and

Bradbury (1997) in calling for renewed efforts to train clergy to counsel premarital couples and

working with Black churches to improve the programs for African American couples taught by

African American Clergy. This study confirms the fact that there is a lack of training and a need

for training of Black clergy in premarital counseling. Findings in this study revealed that 86% of

Black clergy desired more specialized training in premarital counseling. When asked what was









desired or needed to strengthen their premarital counseling program, the Black clergy surveyed

spoke as follows:

* Black clergy are interested in the use of ethnocentric assessments

* Conflict resolution, extended family issues, financial planning, family planning
Psychological evaluation skills, interpretation skills, effective communication, are topics
that clergy desire more training on.

* Clergy are interested in preparing couples for the true reality of life within their culture.

* Clergy desire more education and research Continuing education and workshops that are
designed, outside of seminary for pastors.

* Clergy desires a premarital counseling manual that is biblically based and supported by
research.

* The ability to develop a counseling component in my church with an established program
consisting of workshops on marriage for couples before and after marriage

This study elicited responses that the Bible is seen as the foundation on which training

presented to Black clergy is grounded. Clergy expressed strong convictions that their role in

premarital counseling is centered on the Bible. Examples of clergy responses include:

* Showing people what the Bible says about marriage, explaining Biblical roles in marriage

* To provide practical Bible based information that

* To bring out the biblical truth on marriage

* Biblical directions concerning marriage

* To help the couple understand God's purpose for marriage

* To give clear biblical instruction of what is expected of the husband and the wife

* To inform them about what the bible says about a good marriage

* The Lord set me free and you can counsel every one with that Bible the word of God
nothing more nothing less and it works for all color and race

* I want updated research on biblical marriage counseling.










Clergy expressed great interest in programs, assessments, and training that are biblically

based. I recommend the researchers work to develop materials that will reframe techniques,

practices, and theories into a biblical language. For example, Gottman (1999) speaks about soft

start-ups instead of harsh start-ups in couple communication. In parallel the scripture states a

soft answer turns away wrath (see the book of Proverbs in the King James Version of the Bible).

Finally, when asked about working with family counselors 91% of the clergy in this

sample supported collaboration with family counselors in the area of premarital counseling. This

study highlights a need and an opportunity for researchers and practitioners to build and establish

partnerships with African American clergy to assist them in premarital counseling. Knowledge

of how the clergy see their role in premarital counseling gives researchers and practitioners

insight into how they can help clergy achieve their goals for their congregations and

communities.

Implications for Policy

Black clergy are many things to many people (i.e. counselor, surrogate parent, mentor,

advisor, social worker, etc...). Clergy from this study indicated a desire for more knowledge to

assist them in conducting premarital counseling particularly that synthesizes marital research

with Biblical insights. Training in premarital counseling developed for these clergy can be a

tremendous asset. There are frequent conferences and conventions that involve clergy

educational sessions that offer a setting where such training can occur.

Recommendations for Future Research

Very few of the studies or literature regarding premarital counseling addresses the unique

factors of non-White people, particularly African American people. Most of the studies of

premarital counseling focus on the characteristics of middle class Caucasians. Carroll and

Doherty (2003) confirm this in their meta-analytic review of outcome research looking at 13










prevention programs; they discovered that the samples in the research are almost exclusively

young, European American, middle class couples, a discovery that led them to caution providers

against generalizing this information to diverse populations. This lack of sample diversity in

research calls for remediation now that ethnic groups make up a third of the US population

(Carroll & Doherty, 2003). Silliman & Schumm (1999) note that almost no research has been

done assessing the needs of non-white audiences or offering programming from a multicultural

perspective. The authors call for more research that considers and emphasizes the needs of non-

white clients, (whose needs remain unclear to many maj ority practitioners) (Silliman & Schumm,

1999) regarding premarital counseling. An assessment of the specific problems this population

faces in their relationships would also prove helpful (i.e. HIV/AIDS epidemic). It would also be

useful to explore Black couples perception of their premarital counseling experience.

Stanley et al (2005) report successful dissemination of the PREP program with clergy in

the community as well as chaplains serving army bases. A small amount of the African

Americans were represented in these studies. I recommend that replications of these studies and

other dissemination studies be conducted for African American clergy serving the Black

community .

I recommend a more thorough investigation of Black clergy. It became evident to me that

some survey questions were misunderstood by those completing the survey. I also became

aware that more in-depth information could be gathered from clergy in the context of an

interview. I recommend research that provides an opportunity for Black clergy to ask questions

for clarity, and converse about their needs, desires, and thoughts. Further research giving a more

in-depth investigation on (a) Exactly what topics clergy do and do not cover, (b) clergy's method

of delivery, and (c) what particular skills or competencies clergy want to develop.









Finally, I recommend that research be conducted to assess the perceptions and ideas of

African American couples about their premarital counseling experience. I suggest research

providing avenues for African American couples to discuss(a) how well they feel they were

prepared in premarital counseling, (b) what did they find helpful, (c)what did they find

unhelpful, and (d) what topics or issues do they wish they would have covered or discussed in

premarital counseling.









APPENDIX A
THE BLACK CLERGY PREMARITAL COUNSELING SURVEY (BCPCS)


1. Church Denomination/Classification:
a. Church of God in Christ (COGIC)
b. African Methodist Episcopal (AME)
c. Baptist
d. Nondenominational
e. Other
2. Current age:
Years
3. Marital status:
a. 1st time Married
b. Remarried
c. Divorced, have not remarried
d. Widowed, have not remarried
e. Single, have not married
4. Gender:
a. Male
b. Female
5. Country of Origin
a. United States
b. Jamaica
c. Haiti
d. Other
6. Location of your church:
a. Rural, small town or city
b. Suburban, suburb of a major city
c. Inner city, impoverished neighborhood in a large city
d. City-upper middle class neighborhood
7. Church membership size:
a. Under 50
b. 50 to 100
c. 100 to 300
d. 300 to 500
e. 500 to 1000
f. 1000 plus









8. Your level of training (You may select more than one answer)
a. A degree from Seminary, Bible College, University, etc...
b. Certification through training within my church/denomination
c. Mentorship apprenticeship under another pastor.
d. Self Education
e. Other
9. Your highest level of education completed
a. Ph. D.
b. Doctor of Divinity (or other theology degree)
c. Masters Degree
d. Bachelors Degree
e. Associates Degree
f. High school diploma or GED
g. Less than a high school diploma or GED
10. Have you received any specialized training in premarital counseling/education?
a. Yes
b. No
11i. What level of training do you have in premarital counseling-? (You may select more than one answer)
a. Took a class in seminary
b. Attended a seminar or workshop
c. Received training from a premarital education program
d. Read books) about premarital counseling
e. None
f. Other








There are various topics discussed in premarital counseling to prepare couples for a healthy
marriage. How important are the following items for healthy marriages. Use the following
scale: 1= Absolutely no importance; 2= Very little importance; 3= Neutral; 4= Important; and 5
= Extremely important


NI El

12. Couple Communication 1 2 3 4 5
13. Conflict Resolution 1 2 3 4 5
14. Family financial planning 1 2 3 4 5
15. Maintaining good extended family relationships 1 2 3 4 5
16. Maintaining good friendships with others 1 2 3 4 5
17. The couple's sexual relationship 1 2 3 4 5
18. Having fun & leisure time 1 2 3 4 5
19. Commitment to making the marriage work 1 2 3 4 5
20. Good parenting 1 2 3 4 5
21. Understanding family-of-origin issues 1 2 3 4 5
22. Understanding gender roles and expectations 1 2 3 4 5


Many activities are done in premarital counseling. For the following questions, please rate your
level of confidence at this moment in doing the following activities in premarital counseling.
Please rate using the following scale 1= Not at all confident; 2=Not really confident; 3=Unsure;
4= Confident and 5 = Extremely confident.

NC EC
23. Teaching communication skills 1 2 3 4 5
24. Discussing the maintenance of extended family relationships 1 2 3 4 5
25. Teaching conflict resolution strategies 1 2 3 4 5
26. Discussing the significance of fun and leisure 1 2 3 4 5
27. Discussing the couple's sexual relationship 1 2 3 4 5
28. Addressing the maintenance of friendships outside the marriage 1 2 3 4 5
29. Teaching family financial planning 1 2 3 4 5
30. Discussing the meaning of commitment 1 2 3 4 5
31. Discussing family-of-origin issues 1 2 3 4 5
32. Addressing gender roles and expectations 1 2 3 4 5
33. Discussing pregnancy and childbirth 1 2 3 4 5
34. Focusing on parenting issues 1 2 3 4 5









There are numerous beliefs, and practices regarding premarital counseling. Please rate your
agreement on the following items using the following scale: 1= Strongly disagree; 2=Disagree;
neither agree nor disagree; 4=Agree; and 5 = Strongly agree
SD SA
35. Premarital counseling should be mandatory before marriage. 1 2 3 4 5
36. Premarital counseling helps build a strong marriage 1 2 3 4 5
37. Premarital counseling helps prevent divorce 1 2 3 4 5
38. I would like more specialized training in premarital counseling 1 2 3 4 5
39. I support Clergy & family counselors working together to do PMC 1 2 3 4 5
40. I feel like I have a strong premarital counseling program 1 2 3 4 5
41. My denomination has a structured premarital counseling program 1 2 3 4 5
42. I use tests, inventories, or assessments at some point in my sessions 1 2 3 4 5
43. I give homework for the couples in my sessions 1 2 3 4 5
44. I teach skills to couples in my sessions 1 2 3 4 5
45. I feel adequately prepared to provide premarital counseling 1 2 3 4 5
46. I would welcome a PMC manual or program created for black clergy 1 2 3 4 5
47. My church has established regulations about Premarital Counseling 1 2 3 4 5
48. I already use a well researched premarital counseling program 1 2 3 4 5
49. I am not familiar with premarital counseling research 1 2 3 4 5
50. I do most of the talking in the premarital counseling sessions 1 2 3 4 5
51. I talk very little in sessions; I facilitate couple discussion. 1 2 3 4 5

Please answer the following questions:

52. Do you require those whom you marry to meet with you for premarital counseling?
a. Yes
b. No

53a. How many premarital counseling sessions would you recommend for a couple?
Sessions

b. What is a reasonable length for premarital counseling sessions?


54. What do you see as your role in premarital counseling?


55. What skills or knowledge do you think would be most useful for you to develop in order to
strengthen your premarital counseling program?









APPENDIX B
INFORMED WRITTEN CONSENT


Dear Clergy Member:

I am a minister at Williams Temple Church of God in Christ and a doctoral student in the

department of Counselor Education at the University of Florida. I am writing to ask your

participation in a survey study on African American Clergy attitudes toward premarital

counseling that I am conducting for my dissertation at the University of Florida. My study aims

to explore the attitudes, beliefs, preparation, and practices of African American Clergy in

premarital counseling. The results from the survey will allow marriage and family therapists to

understand the attitudes, beliefs, preparation and practices of African American Clergy in

premarital counseling.

Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your participation is

voluntary and you may withdraw your consent at any time. You also do not have to answer any

question you do not wish to answer There is neither compensation nor perceived risks for your

involvement in this study. You have the option to take the survey by phone or online. Either

way the survey should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

If you have any further questions about this study, please contact me at adrianma@ufl.edu

or at (352) 373-0329 or my faculty supervisor, Dr. Peter Sherrard at (352) 392-0731 or

psherrard@coe.ufl. edu. Questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant rights

may be directed to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 1 12250, Gainesville, FL 3261 1;

ph (3 52) 392-0433. Please make sure that you sign and return one copy of this form with the

survey. Thank you very much for participating in this important study.

Sincerely,










Adrian Manley, NCC,

Principal Investigator


Dr. Peter Sherrard

Faculty Advisor


I have read the consent form described above for this survey. I voluntarily agree to

participate in the survey and I have received a copy of this description.


Signature of participant


Date









Informed Online Consent


Dear Clergy Member:

I am a minister at Williams Temple Church of God in Christ and a doctoral student in the

department of Counselor Education at the University of Florida. I am writing to ask your

participation in a survey study on African American Clergy attitudes toward premarital

counseling that I am conducting for my dissertation at the University of Florida. My study aims

to explore the attitudes, beliefs, preparation, and practices of African American Clergy in

premarital counseling. The results from the survey will allow marriage and family therapists to

understand the attitudes, beliefs, preparation and practices of African American Clergy in

premarital counseling.

Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your participation is

voluntary and you may withdraw your consent at any time. You also do not have to answer any

question you do not wish to answer There is neither compensation nor perceived risks for your

involvement in this study. The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

If you have any further questions about this study, please contact me at adrianma@ufl.edu

or at (352) 373-0329 or my faculty supervisor, Dr. Peter Sherrard at (352) 392-0731 or

psherrard@coe.ufl. edu. Questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant rights

may be directed to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 1 12250, Gainesville, FL 3261 1;

ph (352) 392-0433. Thank you very much for participating in this important study.

Sincerely,

Adrian Manley, NCC, Dr. Peter Sherrard

Principal Investigator Faculty Advisor









Please click the "I agree" square below to affirm that you have read the consent form

described above for this survey and that you voluntarily agree to participate in this study







I Agree









Informed Phone Consent


Hello Pastor

I'm [NAME]. I am calling you on the behalf of Minister Adrian Manley, a minister at

Williams Temple Church of God in Christ in Gainesville Florida. He is also currently a doctoral

student in the department of Counselor Education at the University of Florida

Minister Manley is conducting a study for his dissertation on African American Clergy

who provide premarital counseling. The study aims to explore the attitudes, beliefs, preparation,

and practices of African American Clergy in premarital counseling. I am asking you to take a

few moments out of your schedule to complete his survey. If you have time now I would like to

give you some brief information about the survey and your rights in taking the survey so that I

can formally receive your consent.

Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your participation is

voluntary and you may withdraw your consent at any time. You also do not have to answer any

question you do not wish to answer There is neither compensation nor perceived risks for your

involvement in this study. The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. If you

would like to see a hard copy of this form you can look online at

http://www. surveymonkey.com/s. asp?u=412601914827 or just request to be sent a copy in the

mail.

If you have any further questions about this study, please contact Adrian at

adrianma@ufl.edu or at (352) 373-0329 or my faculty supervisor, Dr. Peter Sherrard at (352)

392-0731 or psherrard@coe.ufl.edu. Questions or concerns about your rights as a research

participant rights may be directed to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 1 12250,










Gainesville, FL 32611; ph (352) 392-0433. Pastor is there any questions I can answer for you at

this time?

Pastor will you agree I have read you the consent form for this survey, you have

understood what I have read, and that you voluntarily agree to participate in the survey?

Yes No









APPENDIX C
LETTER TO CONTACT PERSON


Dear Contact Person:

I am currently a doctoral student in the department of Counselor Education at the

University of Florida I am writing to invite you to participate in a study on African American

Clergy who provide premarital counseling that I am conducting for my dissertation. My study

aims to explore the attitudes, beliefs, preparation, and practices of African American Clergy in

premarital counseling.

I am contacting several African American Clergy to ask them to take a brief survey. The

results from the survey will promote understanding of the attitudes, beliefs, preparation and

practices of African American Clergy in premarital counseling. The answers to the survey will

be anonymous, and participation in this survey is voluntary. There is neither compensation nor

perceived risks for involvement in this study. Clergy have the option to take the survey by phone

or online. Either way the survey should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

I am writing to ask your support. I am trying to reach as many African American Clergy

from various areas in the country. I am requesting your support as a person who could assist me

in recruiting Clergy for the survey. You can do this by providing me the contact information for

clergy that you know or either directing the clergy to the website where they can take the survey

online. Here is a link to the survey http://www. surveymonkey.com/s. asp?u=412601914827. I

have also attached a letter that you can e-mail or give to other clergy.

If you have any further questions about this study, please contact me at adrianma@ufl.edu

or at (352) 373-0329 or my faculty supervisor, Dr. Peter Sherrard at (352) 392-0731 or









psherrard@coe.ufl. edu. I feel that this study will be a blessing for African American Clergy and

the families they serve. Thank you very much for participating in this important study.

Sincerely,

Adrian Manley

PhD Candidate

University of Florida









APPENDIX D
LETTER FOR CONTACT PERSON


Greetings Pastor

I pray that all is well with you and yours. I am writing this letter on behalf of Minister

Adrian Manley, a member of Williams Temple Church of God in Christ in Gainesville Florida.

He is also currently a doctoral student in the department of Counselor Education at the

University of Florida.

Minister Manley is conducting a study for his dissertation on African American Clergy

who provide premarital counseling. The study aims to explore the attitudes, beliefs, preparation,

and practices of African American Clergy in premarital counseling. I am asking you to take a

few moments out of your schedule to complete his survey.

The answers to the survey will be anonymous, and participation in this survey is voluntary.

There is neither compensation nor perceived risks for involvement in this study. Clergy have the

option to take the survey by phone or online. Either way the survey should take approximately

10 to 15 minutes to complete. If you choose to complete the survey by phone then let me know

the best time and number that you can be reached. If you choose to complete the survey online

just click on http://www. surveymonkey.com/s. asp?u=412601914827 or type it in your URL

address box.

I sincerely thank you for your time and participation. This study can be very beneficial to

African American Clergy and the congregations we serve. Please feel free to invite other pastors

to take the survey as well. If you have any further questions about this study, please contact

Adrian at adrianma@ufl.edu or at (352) 373-0329 or myself

Yours in Christ,










Contact Person









APPENDIX E
PHONE SCRIPT LEAVING A MESSAGE




Pastor [NAME]

I'm [NAME]. I am calling you on the behalf of Minister Adrian Manley, a member of

Williams Temple Church of God in Christ in Gainesville Florida. He is also currently a doctoral

student in the department of Counselor Education at the University of Florida

Minister Manley is conducting a study for his dissertation on African American Clergy

who provide premarital counseling. The study aims to explore the attitudes, beliefs, preparation,

and practices of African American Clergy in premarital counseling. I called to ask you to take a

few moments out of your schedule to complete his 10 to 15 minute survey.

It would wonderful if you could help us by taking this survey. It is available online at

http://www. surveymonkey.com/s. asp?u=41260191 48270r I am more than happy to call back at a

better time for you. May God Bless you Good Bye



















Caller Date Number Made Left No Comments

Initals Contact Msg answer


I I I I I I


I I I I I I


I I I I I I


APPENDIX F
AFRICAN AMERICAN CLERGY CALL LOG









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