HMRE Evaluation Data Tool

For more than 15 years, federally funded Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education (HMRE) programs have taught youth, individuals, and couples—either unmarried, married, or co-parenting—how to communicate effectively, manage conflict, identify signs of an unhealthy relationship, and apply other skills found to be important for developing and maintaining healthy and stable family relationships. During this time, large-scale, multi-site federal evaluation studies have assessed the effectiveness of HMRE programming on targeted outcomes.

This HMRE Evaluation Data Tool orients researchers to measures included in two of these federal evaluations, both of which are publicly available: Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) and Building Strong Families (BSF). In addition to orienting users to the participant-level and program-level measures included in the SHM and BSF evaluation studies, the tool also shares when those measures are available. Users can compare the availability of measures across data sets to help identify the data set best suited to explore specific topics or questions. This tool focuses primarily on the direct survey and administrative measures collected, although it does include some constructed measures.

How to use the HMRE Evaluation Data Tool

By clicking one of the “Explore” buttons below, users can explore measures included in the SHM and BSF evaluation studies about either HMRE program participants or about HMRE programs themselves. After clicking “Explore,” users will be prompted to select a topic to explore, and then a subtopic within that topic category. After a subtopic is selected, the tool will generate a table that indicates the availability of the various measures included on that subtopic in the SHM and/or BSF evaluation studies, and will indicate which data set (or sets) includes these measures. Users will be able to email themselves a link to the table to save the data.

Note: The measures listed in this tool capture constructs or concepts that may be present across evaluation studies and data sets. They do not refer to the names of specific variables. Users will need to refer to the SHM and BSF codebooks to identify the specific variable or variables used to assess each measure in each data set. For well-established constructed measures, the name of the measure and the number of items in the measure are indicated.

Choose participant or program topics

Evaluation Participant Characteristics, Attitudes, and Behaviors

The SHM and BSF studies gathered data from all evaluation participants on a wide range of family and individual characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors.

In this section, users can explore topics and measures assessed in the SHM and BSF data sets. They can additionally see when these data were collected (i.e., at baseline and/or follow-up).

Program Participation and Implementation

For program participants only (i.e., the treatment group), the SHM and BSF studies collected data on the HMRE programs and program sites and on individuals’ participation in the program.

In this section, users can explore specific topics and measures related to programs and to individuals’ program participation.

Notes: When Mother, Father, Parent, Couple, and Child/Youth are capitalized, they refer to the partners and one randomly selected child (“focal child”) who were included in the baseline data collection. At the time of follow-up surveys, some parents had re-partnered with someone other than the Mother or Father. At those later waves, this person is referred to as “Current Partner.” Measures related to the specific HMRE program evaluated refer to the “Program,” while measures about other programs outside of the evaluation are referred to as “program.”

Both SHM and BSF randomly assigned evaluation participants to an HMRE program (treatment) group or a control group (participants are not in an HMRE program but might receive other services). The studies then collected rich longitudinal information on all evaluation participants, as well as specific details on program participation and implementation from program enrollees. This tool includes measures across multiple data sets from both the SHM and BSF studies. See the dropdown boxes below for more information on each study and which study data are available in the tool.

About the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) Evaluation

About the study. The SHM evaluation (2003-2014) investigated the effectiveness of HMRE programs for low-income, co-residential couples (81% were married at baseline, while the remainder were cohabiting) and their children in 10 locations in eight states across the United States. All local programs used one of four curricula to conduct relationships workshops that lasted for about a year and offered close to 20 hours of education per couple. All programs also held educational and social events for couples to practice relationship skills and provided family support services to address participation barriers and challenges that families faced. Other program characteristics differed by location. For example, two programs targeted new and expectant parents, while six targeted couples with children.

Data included in this tool:

  • Core data. The SHM evaluation collected data from both spouses participating in the evaluation at baseline, 12 months, and 30 months following the baseline.
  • Child longitudinal data. At baseline, couples reported on all children in their household and updated the information about them in each of the 12- and 30-month follow-ups.
  • 30-M youth survey. A separate survey was administered to the focal child (if ages 8.5 or older) at 30 months following the baseline. A focal child is a child randomly selected for each couple at baseline.
  • MIS data. A management information system (MIS) tracked attendance and service receipt of program participants.

Click here to learn more about the SHM evaluation study and data sets.

About the Building Strong Families (BSF) Evaluation

About the study. The BSF evaluation (2002-2013) examined the effectiveness of eight HMRE programs for low-income unmarried couples expecting or having recently had a baby in seven states. These local programs implemented group sessions based on one of three curricula adapted for unmarried parents. In addition, a family coordinator was assigned to each couple to reinforce relationship skills, encourage participation, address family needs, and refer families to appropriate services as needed. Depending on the format and frequency, group sessions took six weeks to five months to complete. The programs mostly recruited participants in health care settings (hospitals and clinics), targeting only prenatal, pre- and postnatal, or only postnatal parents.

Data included in this tool:

  • Core data. The BSF evaluation collected data from both unmarried partners participating in the evaluation, at baseline, 15 months, and 36 months following the baseline.
  • MIS data. Basic program participation data were collected through the programs’ management information systems (MIS).

Click here to learn more about the BSF evaluation study and data sets.

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