PREP for Strong Bonds: A review of outcomes from a randomized clinical trial

Contemp Fam Ther. 2015 Sep 1;37(3):232-246. doi: 10.1007/s10591-014-9325-3.


To help address the relationship needs of service members, there have been a number of programs offered within active duty and veteran contexts. One program, offered within the Strong Bonds portfolio delivered by Army Chaplains, is PREP for Strong Bonds (PREP = the Prevention and Relationship Education Program). PREP has a number of empirically based and tested variants. This article reviews the disseminated research regarding results from a large randomized clinical trial designed to test the effectiveness of PREP for Strong Bonds. From a sample of 662 Army couples drawn from two sites, outcome papers have focused on different subsamples, marital outcomes, follow up time points, and moderators. Reviewing these disseminated outcomes, we conclude that PREP for Strong Bonds has significant divorce reduction effects at one site; these divorce effects were found at both one and two years post intervention, and were moderated by factors such as minority status, economic strain, and cohabitation history of the couple. In terms of marital quality outcomes, some modest overall effects were found pre to post intervention, but there were no overall marital quality outcome effects two years post intervention. However, marital quality outcomes are significantly moderated by infidelity and cohabitation history, with couples reporting these risk factors showing greater positive marital quality outcomes. These results to date are discussed in terms of clinical and research implications as well as directions for future work, such as examining longer term preventative effects.