Couple Relationships

We conduct research to better understand couple functioning and translate that research into programs that improve couple relationship quality.

Our research examines the association between key predictors of relational quality that are outlined in the National Extension and Relationship Education Model and the impact of couples and relationship education (CRE) on couple functioning. For example:

  • In collaboration with our colleagues at Auburn University, we are evaluating the impact of a new relationship education program, ELEVATE: Taking Your Relationship to the Next Level.
  • With support from a fiver-year federal grant, we are evaluating the impact of relationship education offered through Project F.R.E.E. on the couple, co-parenting, and parent-child relationships of families engaged in child welfare and/or home visitation services as well as foster caregivers.
  • Based on data collected in collaboration with Dr. Robert Nielsen from a random statewide sample of married individuals across Georgia, we are studying how relationship behaviors and financial management practices affect couples’ relationship well-being.
  • We are evaluating the impact of the PREPARE program on changes in engaged and newly married couples' relationship behaviors and marital quality.

Funding Sources

  • Office of the Vice President for Public Services and Outreach (2007-2008)
  • University of Georgia Research Foundation (2008)
  • Georgia Department of Community Affairs (2008)
  • College of Family and Consumer Sciences (2008; 2011)
  • Division of Family and Children Services (2015-2016)
  • U.S., Dept of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (2015-2025)

Recent Publications (Select)

  • Arroyo, A., Richardson, E. W., Hargrove, C. & Futris, T. G. (2023). Foster Caregivers' Depressive Symptoms and Parenting Stress: Applying the Theory of Resilience and Relational Load. Family Relations. Advanced online publication.
  • Richardson, E. W., Mallette, J. K., Futris, T. G., & Pettit, M. (2023). Non-relative foster caregivers’ changes in mindfulness and couple relationship skills following relationship education.Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 40 (5), 1332-1353.
  • Dai, Y., Futris, T. G., Stanford, W., Richardson, E. W., & Koss, K. (2022). The association between financial distress, conflict management, and co-parenting support for couples receiving child welfare. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 39(11), 3329–3350.
  • Stanford, W. D., Futris, T. G., Richardson, E. W., Koss, K. J., & Brown, G. L. (2022). Social integration buffers the impact of financial distress on coparenting. Journal of Family Psychology, 36, 919-931.  
  • Peterson, C. T., O’Neal, C.W., & Futris, T.G. (2022). Military couples’ childhood experiences and romantic relationship satisfaction: The role of accepting influence. Family Process, 61, 689-704.
  • Richardson, E. W., Mallette, J. K., Futris, T. G., Dai, Y., & DeMeester, K. (2022). Foster caregivers’ parenting stress as a moderator of change in coparenting following relationship education. Journal of Family Issues, 43(10), 2599-2623.
  • Adler-Baeder, F., Futris, T. G., McGill, J., Richardson, E. W., Yildirim, E. D. (2022). Validating the couple relationship skills inventory. Family Relations, 71(1), 279-306.
  • Richardson, E. W., Pettit, M., Futris, T. G., & Gale, J. (2022). A latent class analysis of non-relative foster caregivers’ trait mindfulness and individual and relationship outcomes. Journal of Family Psychology, 36(7), 1262-1273.
  • Palmer, L., Richardson, E., Goetz, J., Futris, T. G., Gale, J., Williams, T., DeMeester, K. (2021) Financial self-efficacy: Mediating the association between self-regulation and financial management behaviors. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 32(3), 535-549. DOI: 10.1891/JFCP-19-00092
  • Karlsen, A. S., Futris, T. G., & Richardson, E. W. (2020). The dyadic effects of relationship uncertainty on relationship maintenance and damaging behaviors. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 19(4), 347-367.
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