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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Knowledge of marriage and family concepts and perceived competence of marriage educators conducting marriage preparation in two Protestant denominations in British Columbia Farnden, Rosan


Marriage is perhaps the most popular voluntary institution in Canadian society. Fifty-six percent of British Columbians choose to be married in a Christian church. Most of these couples will find that they are required to participate in a marriage preparation program. Little is known about these marriage preparation opportunites, or about the individuals who provide these opportunites. Recent studies (Bader, Riddle & Sinclair, 1981; Ridley, Avery, Harrell, Leslie & Dent, 1982) have begun to demonstrate the effectiveness of the field of marriage preparation, but no studies examine the qualifications of educators. This study had two objectives: 1) to measure the knowledge of marriage and family concepts of marriage educators providing marriage preparation and 2) to re-test Wright's (1976) finding that clergy do not perceive themselves to be competent providers of marriage preparation. A random sample of 25% of Anglican Church in Canada and United Church of Canada congregations in British Columbia (n=117) resulted in 62 marriage educators responding to this study. This represents a response rate of 57.7%. The respondents were asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire which allowed for the collection of demographic information about the congregations and respondents as well as the measurement of the dependent variable perceived competence, six independent variables and four control variables. As no instruments to measure knowledge of marriage and family concepts were available, a measure was developed for this study and is known as the Knowledge of Marriage and Family Concepts Instrument (KMFC). Respondents were found to have moderate scores on KMFC and perceived themselves to be reasonably competent providers of marriage preparation. No significant results were found for the relationships between either of the dependent variables and the independent variables. Post hoc analysis determined significant relationships between knowledge of marriage and family concepts and gender, and between perceived competence and total number of hours spent in marriage preparation. This study implies that clergy need increased training in content areas relevant to marriage preparation. Further research studies are suggested.

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