Building healthy marriages through early and extended outreach with youth.This article presents a case for faith communities to strengthen efforts to build healthy marriages during teen years through an ecological approach using individual, social network, organizational and community strategies. Community-based marriage preparation programs for engaged couples are effective in reducing divorce and distress in the early years of marriage. Extending these commitment--and skill-training efforts into teen years and linking them to positive youth development programs might increase these benefits, especially for high-risk couples. In addition, faith communities are critical catalysts in fostering support and training networks, community policy and outreach that can promote more positive environments for marriages and families. This article presents a model and suggests strategies to support early and extended outreach to build healthy marriages.
Sustaining a happy marriage has become more challenging in the past two generations, especially for newlyweds. Many organizations have sought to support couples by offering or requiring marriage preparation programs. The most rigorous of these programs significantly decrease divorce rates and increase marital adjustment. Marital readiness might be further enhanced through investments in positive youth development and relationship skill training during the teen years. Faith-based organizations, including churches, religious organizations, and faith-sponsored agencies, are ideally positioned for outreach at three levels: 1) reaching individuals and couples with values--and skills-based training; 2) enhancing awareness and support within their organizations; and 3) contributing to pro-marriage attitudes and actions across their communities. This article describes the context of marital adjustment and marriage education and proposes three levels of involvement by faith-based communities A faith-based community is a community with members who all believe in the same religious concepts, or at least they did when it was founded. Many faith-based communities are communes, although this is not a requirement. in building healthy marriages beginning with youth.
THE CONTEXT FOR MARRIAGE AND COUPLES EDUCATION
Marriage Adjustment and Education
Marriage in the 21st Century carries more complex meanings and requires more sustained effort than the economic or social pairings of the past two centuries, yet it remains Americas most popular voluntary institution. Recent reviews of marriage studies show that the positive and negative outcomes of marriage have significant physical, emotional, social, and economic impact on partners, children, extended families, and communities (Whitehead whitehead /white·head/ (hwit´hed)
2. closed comedo.
1. & Popenoe, 1999; Waite & Gallagher, 2000). Fewer partners are as happy in marriage as previous generations (Glenn, 1991) and more youth and adults are ambivalent am·biv·a·lent
Exhibiting or feeling ambivalence.
Adj. 1. about marriage prospects (Orthner, 1990). Those who pursue alternatives such as cohabitation A living arrangement in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship that resembles a marriage.
Couples cohabit, rather than marry, for a variety of reasons. They may want to test their compatibility before they commit to a legal union. (Waite & Gallagher, 2000) and those who divorce, except after a miserable marriage, (Waite, Browning, Doherty, Gallagher, Luo, & Stanley, 2002) are even more likely to be disappointed. Consistent with traditional religious values, contemporary research finds that healthy, satisfying marriages reflect mutual commitment, open communication, effective stress coping, and wisdom in handling issues such as money, sex, and power (Gottman & Notarius, 2000; Greeley, 1991; Robinson & Blanton, 1993; Waite & Gallagher, 2000). Thus, it is surprising that recent research (Barna, 2001a) finds divorce is as common among believers as among unbelievers. So-called "Bible Belt Bible belt
Those sections of the United States, especially in the South and Middle West, where Protestant fundamentalism is widely practiced.
Bible belt " states (notably OK, AR, LA, TN and FL) have some of the highest divorce rates (Statistical Abstract of the United States The Statistical Abstract of the United States is a publication of the United States Census Bureau, an agency of the United States Department of Commerce. Published annually since 1878, the statistics describe social and economic conditions in the United States. , 1999), although these trends may reflect patterns among nominal believers or unchurched un·churched
Not belonging to or participating in a church.
(used with a pl. verb) People who do not belong to or participate in a church considered as a group. Used with the. couples and high proportions of limited resource couples across the region (Karney, 2001). Nevertheless, Southern Baptist Noun 1. Southern Baptist - a member of the Southern Baptist Convention
Southern Baptist Convention - an association of Southern Baptists
Baptist - follower of Baptistic doctrines State Executive Director Anthony Jordan, in supporting Oklahoma's Marriage Initiative, admitted that churches too easily accept divorce as a solution to marital problems among members (Nigh nigh
adv. nigh·er, nigh·est
1. Near in time, place, or relationship: Evening draws nigh.
2. Nearly; almost: talked for nigh onto two hours. , 2000). Since less than 5% of couples opt for Louisiana's Covenant Marriage A legal union of Husband and Wife that requires premarital counseling, marital counseling if problems occur, and limited grounds for Divorce.
The declining stability of U.S. marriages has been dramatic. (although they tend to be more religious) (Sanchez, Nock nock
1. The groove at either end of a bow for holding the bowstring.
2. The notch in the end of an arrow that fits on the bowstring.
tr.v. nocked, nock·ing, nocks
1. , Wilson, & Wright, 2002), the majority of couples married in religious settings choose conventional marriage with no-fault divorce No-fault divorce is divorce in which the dissolution of a marriage does not require fault of either party to be shown, or, indeed, any evidentiary proceedings at all. It occurs on petition to the court, typically a family court by either party, without the requirement that the . Other studies suggest that cohabitation, a non-traditional marriage alternative and predictor of divorce, occurs at similar rates among Christians as in the general population (Stanley & Markman, 2002). Clearly, many couples who affirm some level of Christian faith experience struggle in making practical adjustments and have difficulty in expressing the spiritual grace intended for marriage (Garland, 1999).
Research on marital adjustment points to two principal factors accounting for divorce and distress across the population: inconsistent commitment and inadequate interpersonal skills "Interpersonal skills" refers to mental and communicative algorithms applied during social communications and interactions in order to reach certain effects or results. The term "interpersonal skills" is used often in business contexts to refer to the measure of a person's ability to negotiate marital challenges (Markman, Stanley, & Blumberg, 2001; Waite & Gallagher, 2000). Among Christians, evidence that adults and youth are more typically pragmatic than biblical in moral judgments (Barna, 2001a, 2001b, 2002) suggests that short-term experiences and feelings-especially in the absence of indepth spiritual disciplines or support-govern decisions about staying in or leaving relationships. Studies of couple happiness suggest that pragmatism pragmatism (prăg`mətĭzəm), method of philosophy in which the truth of a proposition is measured by its correspondence with experimental results and by its practical outcome. in the short-term-breaking up to "cut losses" of broken ideals or everyday conflict-is often impractical im·prac·ti·cal
1. Unwise to implement or maintain in practice: Refloating the sunken ship proved impractical because of the great expense.
2. in the long term, since most distressed couples who stay together report positive adjustment five years later (Waite, Browning, Doherty, Gallagher, Luo, & Stanley, 2002). However, couples who "tough out" the marriage but remain conflicted experience the worst outcomes for themselves and their children (Waite & Gallagher, 2000). High divorce rates among Fundamentalist fundamentalist
An investor who selects securities to buy and sell on the basis of fundamental analysis. Compare technician. Christians, a group typically known for commitment to marriage ideals, may reflect the discontinuity dis·con·ti·nu·i·ty
n. pl. dis·con·ti·nu·i·ties
1. Lack of continuity, logical sequence, or cohesion.
2. A break or gap.
3. Geology A surface at which seismic wave velocities change. between those ideals and the practical realities of less-than-perfect partners (McIntosh & Spilka, 1995) or simply a lack of marriage education. Couples who view commitment as an active process rather than as a static ideal may find it easier to adjust interpretations of events and respond constructively to conflict (Bradbury, Fincham, & Beach, 2000). Attitudes of patience, determination, and openness to change reflected in actions such as expressing affection or nonjudgmental non·judg·men·tal
Refraining from judgment, especially one based on personal ethical standards.
Adj. 1. nonjudgmental problem solving problem solving
Process involved in finding a solution to a problem. Many animals routinely solve problems of locomotion, food finding, and shelter through trial and error. illustrate dedication commitment, which represents the couple's continuing investment in their relationship. By contrast, external constraints (e.g., economic and social costs of divorce) are typically inadequate to sustain marriages without such investments (Stanley, Trathen, McCain, Bryan, 1998).
Interpersonal skills are critical for couples to live purposefully pur·pose·ful
1. Having a purpose; intentional: a purposeful musician.
2. Having or manifesting purpose; determined: entered the room with a purposeful look. , negotiate differences, and solve problems without the traditional family rules and supports of past generations. Well-adjusted couples consistently demonstrate self-control, empathy empathy
Ability to imagine oneself in another's place and understand the other's feelings, desires, ideas, and actions. The empathic actor or singer is one who genuinely feels the part he or she is performing. , and constructive conflict resolution in mastering life challenges (Gottman & Notarius, 2000). Among Christian couples, a partner's practice of these skills, rather than orthodoxy or·tho·dox·y
n. pl. or·tho·dox·ies
1. The quality or state of being orthodox.
2. Orthodox practice, custom, or belief.
a. or verbal affirmation of values, is correlated with marital satisfaction (Hatch, James, & Schumm, 1986). Unfortunately, relatively few couples approach marriage with the skills and commitment requisite to marital success (Berger & Hannah, 1999; Hunt, Hoff, & DeMaria, 1998; Markman, Stanley, & Blumberg, 2001). Yet relatively simple behavioral exercises and dialogue about commitment and values show promise in fostering these disciplines that produce stable, caring marriages (Silliman & Schumm, 2000; Stanley & Trauthen, 1994). Recent research suggests that local clergy can teach these skills as effectively as experienced clinicians (Stanley, Markman, Prado, Olmos-Gallo, Tonelli, St. Peters, Leber, Bobulinski, Cordova Cordova, Spain: see Córdoba. , & Whitton, 2001). Unfortunately, couples most at risk for distress and divorce are least likely to participate in marriage preparation (Sullivan & Bradbury, 1997) and most partners only receive training within one to six months of marriage (Olson, 1988). The growing consensus of scholars, practitioners, and policymakers is that marriage and couples education can be more effective if begun earlier and expanded to a broader audience (U.S. DHHS DHHS Department of Health & Human Services (US government)
DHHS Dana Hills High School (Dana Point, California)
DHHS Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
DHHS Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services , 2002b; Ooms, 1998).
Linkages Between Marriage Education and Youth Development
Promising practices with engaged couples should encourage faith communities from churches to YMCAs to specialized ministries to create early and expanded outreach to youth. A variety of youth ministries have long recognized the formative formative /for·ma·tive/ (for´mah-tiv) concerned in the origination and development of an organism, part, or tissue. and transformative potential of work with adolescents. During these years, the Years, The
the seven decades of Eleanor Pargiter’s life. [Br. Lit.: Benét, 1109]
See : Time emergence of abstract reasoning capacities as well as key aspects of personal identity (e.g., self-concept, personal values, friendship and peer relations, career and future focus) provide a foundation for ongoing adjustment and adult potentialities (Steinberg, 1999). Commitment attitudes and interpersonal skills critical to strong marriages are consistent with best practice outcomes in youth development (Eccles & Gootman, 2002; Mihalic, Irwin, Elliott, & Fagan, 2001; Strommen & Hardel, 2000) that are incorporated in many civic and faith-based youth programs. Dating and marriage topics inspire both immediate and long-range interest among teens (Silliman, 1996). Rap sessions rap session
An informal discussion held especially by a group of people with similar concerns.
Noun 1. rap session - conversation in a situation where feelings can be expressed and criticized or supported , training workshops, and role modeling of positive relationship skills can help youth apply lessons of character education, life skills, or discipleship dis·ci·ple
a. One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another.
b. An active adherent, as of a movement or philosophy.
2. training to group or solo dating experiences. Given their limited social reasoning, peer and media pressure, and insecure in·se·cure
1. Lacking emotional stability; not well-adjusted.
2. Lacking self-confidence; plagued by anxiety.
in identity, even youth raised and confirmed in faith communities may fail to apply values of respect and kindness in cross-gender relationships. They typically struggle in finding effective ways of dealing with jealousy, sexuality, or conflict. Such issues may be even more challenging for youth growing up without positive role models or healthy relationships. As these issues are effectively addressed by competent and caring adults, young people can learn to avoid dating violence Dating Violence is defined as the perpetration or threat of an act of violence by at least one member of an unmarried couple on the other member within the context of dating or courtship. , non-marital sexuality, and shallow and stereotypical relationships. Familiarity with communication skills and relationship issues may increase likelihood of seeking and benefiting from marriage preparation and enrichment. The remainder of this article presents a model for outreach to teens by faith communities designed to strengthen capacities for stable, healthy dating and marriage relationships.
AN ECOLOGICAL, APPROACH FOR BUILDING STRONG MARRIAGES THROUGH EARLY AND EXTENDED OUTREACH TO TEENS
The ecological perspective seeks to understand development in the context of relationships (e.g., families, peers, mentors) and environments (e.g., neighborhood, economic and social communities, media) which shape each life and which, in turn, are shaped by the growing person (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; cf. Anderson, 2001: 235; Huston, 2000). Practitioners in human development (Garbarino, 1992), social work (Fraser, 1997), and Christian education (Garland, 1999; Strommen & Hardel, 2000) recommend an ecological approach for a variety of prevention and educational programs. The model recognizes that a child's most profound learning occurs in microsystems, intimate relational settings such as families, friendship and peer groups. Nonetheless, personal and relationship learning is significantly influenced by connections-or disconnections-with mesosystem settings such as schools, churches, and youth groups as well as norms and resources in macrosystems such as neighborhoods, peer culture, or the larger society. Moreover, continuity between systems more effectively supports positive development, as evident when explicit teaching matches role modeling, organizational support, and community norms.
Most marriage preparation (Stanley et al., 2001) and youth life skills (Mihalic et al., 2001) programs target skill training at the microsystem level because it is the most direct and effective strategy to reduce risks and promote competencies and because it is the most feasible strategy (e.g., changes in personalities or social systems require more extensive investments and are more resistant to alteration). Yet large-scale prevention studies indicate that multi-faceted and multi-level strategies are more effective than single strategy approaches (Mihalic et al., 2001; Reese, Vera, Simon, & Ikeda, 2000). Practically speaking, the combination of direct approaches such as skill training or youth activities with indirect efforts such as training parents to coach positive relationships, adult-youth mentoring, and community support, holds the best promise to positively influence teens' exposure to healthy dating and marriage messages. When such efforts shift from isolated professional services (job) professional services - A department of a supplier providing consultancy and programming manpower for the supplier's products. to consistent congregational con·gre·ga·tion·al
1. Of or relating to a congregation.
2. Congregational Of or relating to Congregationalism or Congregationalists.
Adj. 1. involvement, faith communities also expand potential to change their communities. Faith communities are also well-positioned to weave cultural values and rituals into the learning of commitment and interpersonal skills. Subsequent discussion focuses on strategies targeting a) individual and couple learning (microsystem); b) organizational capacities to train and support those who interact with teens (mesosystem); and c) community values and practices that support healthy dating and marriage relationships (microsystem). Currently, each of these strategies is at least partially implemented. As practice strategies at each level are implemented and linked, following the ecological model, communities can more effectively reduce divorce and violence and promote healthy dating and marriage relationships. Moreover, as these strategies are practiced throughout a child's life and across high-risk as well as low-risk communities, capacities (of couples and communities) to reduce risks and strengthen marriages will more closely match the challenges of contemporary marriage.
TARGETING INDIVIDUALS AND COUPLES TO REDUCE RISKS AND BUILD RELATIONSHIP COMPETENCIES
Research and Practice History
Programming targeted to individuals and couples is the most direct approach to relationship growth and the most typical activity in faith-, school-, and community-based organizations. Estimates suggest that 60% of couples receive some formal preparation before their wedding (Markman & Stanley, 1996), although probably a much smaller number participate in dating or life skills training during teen years. The quantity and quality of youth activities and programs generally remains largely undocumented and untested (Eccles & Gootman, 2002). However, research on dating violence prevention (Foshee, Bauman, Arriaga, Helms, Knock, & Linder, 1998; Macgowan, 1997), sex education (Bearman & Bruckner, 2001; Kirby, 2001; Rector RECTOR, Eccl. law. One who rules or governs a name given to certain officers of the Roman church. Dict. Canonique, h.v. , 2002), and life skills (Hawkins, Catalano, Kosterman, Abbott, & Hill, 1999; Mihalic, et al., 2001; SAMHSA SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , 2003) demonstrates that well-designed programs can effectively reduce risk behavior as well as promote self-esteem, reasoning and assertiveness assertiveness /as·ser·tive·ness/ (ah-ser´tiv-nes) the quality or state of bold or confident self-expression, neither aggressive nor submissive. skills, and choices for positive activities. Emerging evidence for teen dating skills training (Gardner, 2000; Heitland, 1986) suggests such programs enhance practical application of skills as well as knowledge of issues. Research in risk prevention and life skills with adolescents (Eccles & Gootman, 2002; Hawkins, et al., 1999; Mihalic, et al. 2001; Moore & Zaff, 2002) and marriage education with young adults (Berger & Hannah, 1999) consistently shows that how programs are implemented is even more important than what they teach. Principles derived from program evaluation Program evaluation is a formalized approach to studying and assessing projects, policies and program and determining if they 'work'. Program evaluation is used in government and the private sector and it's taught in numerous universities. research, relevant to dating and marriage education with teens, are listed below.
Principles for Effective Prevention and Competence Building with Youth
* Early intervention ear·ly intervention
n. Abbr. EI
A process of assessment and therapy provided to children, especially those younger than age 6, to facilitate normal cognitive and emotional development and to prevent developmental disability or delay. is generally more effective than crisis-response or therapy in promoting positive developmental outcomes (Berger & Hannah, 1999; Hair, Jager, & Garrett, 2002);
* Promotion of personal and interpersonal competence and resilience resilience (r·zilˑ·yens),
n protective factors tends to produce better results than focus on simply avoiding risk (Foshee, et al., 1998; Kirby, 2001; Macgowan, 1997; Rector, 2002; Silliman, Stanley, Coffin, Markman, & Jordan, 2001);
* Long-range outcomes valued by adult educators and researchers are most likely achieved through short-term processes and outcomes most relevant to youth (Eccles & Gootman, 2001; Hair, Jager, & Garrett, 2002);
* Experiential ex·pe·ri·en·tial
Relating to or derived from experience.
ex·peri·en methods result in greater practice of values and skills than didactic di·dac·tic
Of or relating to medical teaching by lectures or textbooks as distinguished from clinical demonstration with patients. methods (Fournier & Olson, 1986; Gardner, 2000);
* Programs of greater intensity, duration, and repetition are more likely to produce attitude and behavior change Behavior change refers to any transformation or modification of human behavior. Such changes can occur intentionally, through behavior modification, without intention, or change rapidly in situations of mental illness. than those that are less so (Redd, Brooks, & McGarvey, 2002; Hawkins, et al., 1999);
* Programs tend to be more effective when adapted to appropriate developmental, cultural, and risk levels (Institute of Medicine, 1994).
Impacting Microsystems: Strategies for Working with Individuals and Couples
Keeping in mind the principles above, faith communities could extend and expand marriage and couples education with youth through the following strategies:
1 Empower parents as models and interpreters of healthy relationships. Parents are children's most powerful teachers, role models, sources of information and support (Silliman, Schumm, & Jurich, 1992). Even after divorce, parents who communicate constructively rather than with hostility promote better adjustment in children (Amato, 2000). Many faith traditions regard families as primary interpreters of faith and family values family values
The moral and social values traditionally maintained and affirmed within a family. (Browning, Miller-McLemore, Couture, Lyon, & Franklin, 1997; Garland, 1999), and parent models and guidance remain the most important influences on teens (Hair, Jager, & Garrett, 2002; Moore & Zaff, 2002). While most parents maintain dialogue with their teens, all find issues like risk behaviors tough to discuss (Kaiser Family Foundation/Children Now, 1998). Faith communities-at the level of organizational change-can provide resources and training to empower parent modeling, teaching, monitoring, and support (e.g., key roles identified in youth risk and resilience research). Marriage enrichment events such as Marriage Encounter or Marriage Savers (Hunt, Hof, & DeMaria, 1998; U.S. DHHS, 2002b) can help build a sense of renewal and mutual support. Couple skills training such as the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (Markman, Stanley, & Blumberg, 2001) can build parents' knowledge and practice base. Marital or family therapy may facilitate problem solving and healing for more acute or chronic problems. Parent education can expand understanding of children's needs and strategies for guidance and discipline, teaching and mentoring. Divorce recovery and parenting apart programs can foster more positive interaction and hope for the next generation in spite of family breakup breakup
The division of a company into separate parts. The most famous breakup to date was the 1984 division of AT&T (formerly, American Telephone & Telegraph Company). This breakup was intended to increase competition in the communications industry. . Building on the daily modeling, coaching, and encouraging of healthy parent relationships, youth can begin to develop optimistic op·ti·mist
1. One who usually expects a favorable outcome.
2. A believer in philosophical optimism.
op , empathic em·path·ic
Of, relating to, or characterized by empathy.
Adj. 1. empathic - showing empathy or ready comprehension of others' states; "a sensitive and empathetic school counselor"
empathetic , committed relationships A committed relationship is an interpersonal relationship based upon a mutually agreed upon commitment to one another involving exclusivity, honesty, or some other agreed upon behavior. with peers.
2. Integrate commitment values and interpersonal skills with existing programs. Within a church's or organization's religious education, youth clubs, intergenerational in·ter·gen·er·a·tion·al
Being or occurring between generations: "These social-insurance programs are intergenerational and all events, or special ministries, from a child's first years, integration of commitment values and interpersonal skills is an opportunity to teach commitment through norms of respect and responsibility, sacrifice and forgiveness (Anderson, 2001; Garland, 1999; Search Institute, 1990). Youth leaders and teachers who model acceptance and encouragement or apply the same rules of fairness and opportunity to boys and girls boys and girls
mercurialisannua. provide credible role models for Bible lessons or discussions of relationship issues. Those who help children and youth think about and internalize internalize
To send a customer order from a brokerage firm to the firm's own specialist or market maker. Internalizing an order allows a broker to share in the profit (spread between the bid and ask) of executing the order. values-whether the discussion is about David and Bathsheba or exploitive peers at school-set the stage for understanding and application of relationship values during teen years. Planned or spontaneous events, where leaders teach youth to negotiate complex, emotional issues with self-control and reason, express convictions with integrity and tolerance, and demonstrate both empathy and assertiveness under stress, create a legacy for marital problem solving. Teacher and leader training initiated at the organizational level could do much to support commitment and interpersonal skills consistent with the message of strengthening marriage.
3. Sponsor workshops on relationship skills and issues. Youth from pre-teen through late adolescence strongly desire positive relationships with peers, parents, and other adults (Steinberg, 1999). Events targeted to specific ages, genders, or circumstances ranging from open forum discussions to videotape videotape
Magnetic tape used to record visual images and sound, or the recording itself. There are two types of videotape recorders, the transverse (or quad) and the helical. series to knowledge and skill workshops provide valuable education and outreach. However, youth leaders should be aware that occasional discussions or well-intentioned training workshops may not significantly alter attitudes or behaviors. Research with young adults indicates that 12-24 hours of intensive interpersonal skill training is needed to significantly change behavioral outcomes (Silliman & Schumm, 2000). Several secular and faith-based curricula addressing relationship skills and issues are available (Mack, 2000; SmartMarriages, 2003), and many targeting positive values and life skills (although not specifically dating skills) show strong evidence for changing knowledge, attitudes, and behavior (Mihalic, et al., 2001; SAMHSA, 2003). A few programs addressing dating violence (SAMHSA, 2003), or sex education (Kirby, 2001) demonstrate effectiveness in research-based evaluations. Among faith-based programs, only the "True Love Waits" abstinence abstinence: see fasting; temperance movements. pledge/education program shows research evidence of effectiveness in changing behavior (Bearman & Bruckner, 2001). One promising curriculum targeting dating skills is Connections: Relationship Skills for Teens (Gardner, 2000). While research suggests that participation in faith-based youth groups is correlated with positive outcomes for youth (Benson, 1997; Search Institute, 1990; Bridges & Moore, 2002), other research suggests that group participation or training in values, knowledge, and skills for healthy relationships (e.g., money, sex, dating conflict resolution) does not necessarily transfer from religious or character education to dating behavior (Bridges & Moore, 2002). Programs grounded on the ecological model such as "Safe Dates" (Foshee, et al., 1998) and "True Love Waits," combining skill training with positive peer pressure and community support for prosocial norms, tend to be more successful because they reinforce the message of skill-building programs.
4. Foster peer leadership and support. As noted in the "Safe Dates" and "True Love Waits" examples, well-trained positive peer role models can profoundly influence both individual behaviors and peer culture (Moore & Zaff, 2002). Religiosity re·li·gi·os·i·ty
1. The quality of being religious.
2. Excessive or affected piety.
Noun 1. religiosity - exaggerated or affected piety and religious zeal
religiousism, pietism, religionism and association with friends and adults in faith based organizations is associated with higher levels of social skills and adjustment (Bridges & Moore, 2002). Specialized training in mentoring or workshop facilitation Facilitation
The process of providing a market for a security. Normally, this refers to bids and offers made for large blocks of securities, such as those traded by institutions. on dating or marriage relationships-initiated at the level of organizational change-could expand leadership and ministry opportunities. At the same time, peer teaching helps open access to accurate information, as well as positive peer pressure and openness, to help-seeking for engagement and marriage relationships. In addition, peer teachers may help youth leaders select workshop topics, identify youth or families in crisis or divorce, and recruit non-member youth who might benefit from training or mentoring.
5. Reach out to at-risk teens. Research indicates that participation in faith-based communities correlates with fewer risk activities (Benson, 1997; Bridges & Moore, 2002). Conversely con·verse 1
intr.v. con·versed, con·vers·ing, con·vers·es
1. To engage in a spoken exchange of thoughts, ideas, or feelings; talk. See Synonyms at speak.
2. , youth at higher risk for relationship violence, sexually transmitted diseases Sexually transmitted diseases
Infections that are acquired and transmitted by sexual contact. Although virtually any infection may be transmitted during intimate contact, the term sexually transmitted disease is restricted to conditions that are largely , or pregnancy have a greater need for positive values, accurate information, credible role models, and consistent support. Emerging evidence suggests that faith-based organizations can significantly impact juvenile crime, substance abuse, and teen sexual risk behaviors (Bridges & Moore, 2002). In some cases, counseling or more intensive educational programs may be required to help youth overcome the hurt or habits related to risk behaviors. While staff should clearly understand the origins and effects of specific risks (e.g., emotional pain and anxiety related to parental divorce, shame and defensiveness related to promiscuity Promiscuity
See also Profligacy.
constantly flits from one girl to another. [Aust. Drama: Schnitzler Anatol in Benét, 33]
promiscuous goddess of sensual love. [Gk. Myth. or drug addiction drug addiction
or chemical dependency
Physical and/or psychological dependency on a psychoactive (mind-altering) substance (e.g., alcohol, narcotics, nicotine), defined as continued use despite knowing that the substance causes harm. ), it is also helpful to recognize that many simple solutions, such as having positive alternative activities, or supportive friends with positive values (Moore & Zaff, 2002), can profoundly influence risk-vulnerability. Each volunteer or professional youth leader should be trained to prevent or respond appropriately to risk behaviors (e.g., inappropriate affection, conflict or violence), and know when to consult or refer cases to more qualified helpers. Faith communities are expected to play important roles in the Strengthening Marriage Initiative included in the 2003 reauthorization of TANF TANF Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (previously known as AFDC) welfare reforms (U.S. House of Representatives, 2003). Youth-based activities that reduce risks such as teen pregnancy and dating violence and help teens prepare for marriage are likely to be funded activities. Organizations that offer quality programs consistent with research-based best practices (see Appendix A), and that develop sustainable systems for recruiting, continuous support, and community engagement are most likely to reverse cycles of poverty, violence, divorce, and fatherlessness among America's most vulnerable youth. Clearly, a network of support for healthy marriages, beginning within faith-based and civic organizations, is needed to rebuild the culture of marriage. The sections that follow outline strategies at the organizational and community level that are needed to support the direct efforts of parents, youth leaders, specialists, and peers in preparing youth for healthy dating and marriage relationships.
Targeting Faith-based Organizations to Reduce Risks and Build Strong Relationships
The influence of entertainment and commercial media on the attitudes and behaviors of teens is testimony to the significance of organizational systems Organizational Systems (OS) is a Ph.D. course of study at Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center in San Francisco, CA. OS "is built around the latest knowledge from both organizational behavior and systems science. in shaping behavior. Driven by a clear mission, print and electronic media, using imaginative marketing as well as efficient training and delivery systems, not only affect social life, they effectively define the culture for millions. Clarity of mission, imaginative teaching, and effective support systems are also critical for faith communities to promote healthy dating and marriage relationships. While many models of organizational change can work to guide this process, Senge, Kleiner, Roberts, Ross, Roth, and Smith's (1999) paradigm of the Learning Organization seems particularly appropriate to the challenges of supporting families in a post-modern society. Profound change occurs, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Senge et at., when the following growth processes are set in motion:
1. Enthusiasm and a willingness to commit (in failure and success) must be sustained by at least a passionate few.
2. Concrete investments, however small, must flow from commitment.
3. Learning capabilities of both the core team and organization must be expanded: everyone must better understand the issues at stake and options for addressing them.
4. New practices that emerge from committed, well-informed and innovative investments, begin to become part of organizational life.
5. Positive results of new practices are evident to participants and others, and negative results become the stuff of continuous expansion and improvement.
6. Positive results and growing support build credibility and enthusiasm for expansion. While space does not permit a detailed discussion of strategies and implications of these growth processes, review of the model provides a valuable reminder that the most significant changes in families, organizations, and communities result from consistent investments and growth rather than "quick fixes" led by dynamic leaders.
Impacting Mesosystems: Strategies for Organizational Capacity-building
The success of the Roman Catholic Church Roman Catholic Church, Christian church headed by the pope, the bishop of Rome (see papacy and Peter, Saint). Its commonest title in official use is Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. in promoting marriage education provides some valuable lessons for congregations or denominations initiating marriage education programs. Concerned with increasing annulment annulment
Legal invalidation of a marriage. It announces the invalidity of a marriage that was void from its inception. It is to be distinguished from dissolution or divorce. To justify annulment, the marriage contract must have a defect (e.g. and divorce rates in the 1970s, church leaders created a theological and ecclesiastical directive (mission statement) informed by insights of clergy, laity LAITY. Those persons who do not make a part of the clergy. In the United States the division of the people into clergy and laity is not authorized by law, but is, merely conventional. , and social science research (Center for Marriage and Family, 1995; McCord, 1998). While national offices supported training, resource development, and program evaluation, implementation strategies and policies were left to diocese and local churches. Two strategies, involving a combination of creative teaching and effective support (key elements in the learning capacities component of profound change), explain the success of marriage preparation in the Catholic Church: (a) increase awareness of the need for and potential among members, especially engaged couples and their families; and (b) equip lay and clergy leaders to train couples in practical skills for living out their faith. Since couples and congregations need both to know and to act, awareness and equipping strategies should be complementary and interdependent in·ter·de·pen·dent
Mutually dependent: "Today, the mission of one institution can be accomplished only by recognizing that it lives in an interdependent world with conflicts and overlapping interests" . Whether implemented "top-down" as the mission of an organizational board or as "grass-roots" youth activities that change family and organizational attitudes, several specific strategies can facilitate the growth of youth and young adult marriage preparation efforts:
1. Make a case for relationship and marriage education. While traditionally supported in faith communities, marriage is widely viewed as a private, self-directed relationship whose outcome is a matter of fate or faith instead of effort or education (Nigh, 2000; Ooms, 1998). Similarly, teen dating may be viewed as a game or fling with little depth or effect on adult bonding. For some, the "M" word is synonymous with synonymous with
adjective equivalent to, the same as, identical to, similar to, identified with, equal to, tantamount to, interchangeable with, one and the same as stigmatizing single mothers, coercing female submission Female submission describes BDSM activities in which the submissive partner is female. Usually the woman is dominated by a dominant man, but sometimes by another woman. It is a popular female fantasy that often appears in erotic literature. or (alternatively) female domination. Repeatedly (and creatively) explaining to couples, families, and congregations about the risks and benefits of marriage and potential for early skills training (Stanley, 2001) may gradually change attitudes toward marriage and pre-marriage relationships. As noted above, attitudes and role models of parents and other adults are the most powerful incentives and correctives for young people seeking to understand relationships for the first time (Hair, Jager, & Garrett, 2002). Several web sites listed in the appendices ap·pen·di·ces
A plural of appendix. include awareness or marketing messages for marriage preparation.
2. Build support among youth, parents, and leaders. Marriage and family happiness Family Happiness is an 1859 novella written by Leo Tolstoy. The story concerns the love and marriage of a young girl, Mashechka, and the much older Sergey Mikhaylych, an old family friend. After a somewhat awkward courtship, the two are married and move to Mikhaylych's home. is the highest priority of adolescents and young adults for adulthood (Whitehead & Popenoe, 1999, 2001), and relationship skills training is positively valued by teens (Silliman, 1996). Young people can provide relevant insights on topics and methods for programming, and can be effective interpreters of initiatives to peers (Eccles & Gootman, 2001; Hair, Jager, & Garrett, 2002). Parents and youth leaders can also be valued interpreters to church boards and other adults on the importance of relationship issues. Assessments such as the Church Census (Garland, 1999) can provide data to indicate concerns and priorities across a congregation.
3. Prepare and resource a step-by-step plan. Covey's (1990) adage "Begin with the end in mind" should help advocates of teen relationship skills balance long-range goals (e.g., reducing divorce, applying faith) and short-term goals (e.g., increasing teen skills or board support), selecting strategies and focusing resources as appropriate. The size of a program is not as important as its quality, consistency, and intensity. Long-range planning efforts may be aided by use of the community readiness model developed to guide drug-prevention efforts (National Institute on Drug Abuse The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a United States federal-government research institute whose mission is to "lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction. , 1997) as well as the learning organization model (Senge, et al, 1999). Programs for youth at different levels of risk should be informed by the Institute of Medicine's (1994) guidelines guidelines,
n.pl a set of standards, criteria, or specifications to be used or followed in the performance of certain tasks. for prevention programming: (a) universal prevention, with risk-prevention and competence building efforts addressed to all the target groups; (b) indicated prevention, with more specific training targeted to individuals with several risk factors (e.g., children of divorce or violence); and (c) selected prevention, with more intensive training targeted to those with personal risk factors (e.g., violence or conflict history, depression, sexual harassment sexual harassment, in law, verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, aimed at a particular person or group of people, especially in the workplace or in academic or other institutional settings, that is actionable, as in tort or under equal-opportunity statutes. ).
4. Equip leaders for success. Increasing the number and competence of trainers and mentors is critical to strategies at the microsystem level, as discussed above. Several options can aid in preparation of youth and adult leaders including: (a) self-directed print or web-based resources; (b) training workshops in youth development or relationship issues; and (c) certification programs from organizations such as PREP, Inc., PREPARE/ENRICH, Christian Marriage Education, Association of Couples in Marriage Enrichment (ACME), and Marriage Savers (see Appendix B). In addition to religious education or youth ministry training, faith-based communities can also collaborate with community-based prevention organizations whose projects teach life skills, abstinence, health, and related topics. Whatever the activity, youth and adults who teach or support marriage and couples activities will be most effective and ethical if they receive training matched to their level of involvement with youth and families (e.g., information, education, therapy) (Doherty, 1995).
5. Document and communicate progress. Members and leaders of faith-based organizations, as well as community partners and financial underwriters, are more likely to support marriage and couples education with teens when they see its effects. Periodic measures (group surveys, behavioral observations, and success stories) of activity outcomes (e.g., changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills, or aspirations aspirations npl → aspiraciones fpl (= ambition); ambición f
aspirations npl (= hopes, ambition) → aspirations fpl ) provide evidence of program benefits for participants and sponsors, as well as feedback for program improvement to guide program growth and change (Harvard Family Research Project, 2002).
Targeting Communities to Reduce Risks and Build Relationship Competencies
Community norms and supports, like social climates in organizations, influence teen behaviors and capacities of families and mesosystems to promote healthy relationships. Movements in youth development, such as Search Institute's asset-building initiative (Benson, 1997), and marriage education, such as community marriage policies (U.S. DHHS, 2002a), give evidence that collaboration among faith-based and civic organizations can dramatically enhance resources and outcomes across entire communities. Community-wide efforts also enable small organizations to contribute to and benefit from activities beyond the scope of their own programming capacity. Effective operating models Operating Model is a term that is used in many contexts. In essence an operating model describes how an organization operates across both business and technology domains. The Operating Model describes what is important for the organization. are evident in several innovative marriage-promotion coalitions (see Appendix A). In general, coalitions succeed to the extent that they focus on broad shared goals, with particularistic par·tic·u·lar·ism
1. Exclusive adherence to, dedication to, or interest in one's own group, party, sect, or nation.
2. goals and strategies left to member groups.
Impacting Macrosystems: Strategies for Community Capacity-building
Most of the strategies by which organizations can promote healthy dating and marriage relationships are implicit in Adj. 1. implicit in - in the nature of something though not readily apparent; "shortcomings inherent in our approach"; "an underlying meaning"
underlying, inherent prior recommendations for faith-based organizations. The additional resources and collaboration of community-wide initiatives recommends expansion of these strategies, as summarized below:
1. Make a case for relationship and marriage education. Broad-based coalitions must make a case on shared values (e.g., health and social benefits of marriage) yet help participating organizations express and support that mission in their own values and programs. Community-wide media coverage and targeted campaigns have been shown to increase support for youth health behaviors (National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, 1999; Shanahan, P., Elliott, B., & Dahlgren, N., 2002) and are expected to be part of the Strengthening Marriage Initiative (U.S. House of Representatives, 2003).
2. Build support across all sectors of the community. Community marriage policy coalitions have successfully engaged business, education, government, civic, as well as faith-based organizations to recognize the broader impacts of divorce and healthy marriage and promote policies and opportunities that support strong marriages in all sectors (McManus, 1993). Within such broader coalitions, faith communities have an important role in speaking to the economic and social conditions (e.g., poverty, injustice, promiscuity, consumerism consumerism
Movement or policies aimed at regulating the products, services, methods, and standards of manufacturers, sellers, and advertisers in the interests of the buyer. ) that promote unhealthy relationships or threaten fragile families. In many states, coalitions have already begun marriage promotion efforts (U.S. DHHS, 2002a). Oklahoma state government, using federal funding from TANF (welfare reform) to promote marriage, has brought about unprecedented civic collaboration and prevention programming, including efforts to teach relationship skills in high schools and empower faith based organizations to build stronger marriages. Early indicators show wide support and improved quality in local marriage education efforts (Johnson, Stanley, Glenn, Amato, Nock, Markman, & Dion, 2001). Community and statewide efforts are also more likely to access a broader range of resources that promote capacity-building for local consortia or statewide connectional networks in (a) large-scale and long-range planning, (b) systematic training of professionals and volunteers, and (c) research on needs and program effectiveness.
Scholars and practitioners are quick to note that legal and policy changes are "blunt instruments Blunt instrument is a legal description of a weapon used to hit someone, which does not have a sharp or penetrating point or edge. Their effect is usually blunt force trauma, to stun, or to break bones. They sometimes kill. " in changing social behavior In biology, psychology and sociology social behavior is behavior directed towards, or taking place between, members of the same species. Behavior such as predation which involves members of different species is not social. (Ooms, 2001). Efforts such as toughening divorce laws, requiring marriage preparation, or creating financial disincentives for teen pregnancy and single parenting can produce responses opposite those intended. As in the case of most prevention programs (Zaff, Calkins, Bridges, Marge, 2002; SAMHSA, 2003), a combination of (a) legal restrictions (e.g., reducing advertising and sales to minors), (b) incentives and education (e.g., training, mentoring, and alternative activities), and (c) gradual changes in social norms (e.g., peer attitudes, parent monitoring, community standards Community standards are local norms bounding acceptable conduct. Sometimes these standards can itemized in a list that states the community's values and sets guidelines for participation in the community. ) is most likely to produce a climate that supports stronger marriages for all (not just affluent middle-class couples), with education and support throughout childhood and adolescence
Today's adolescents face personal and social conditions that place them at risk for dating and marital problems and offer little incentive or assistance in developing healthy relationships. Faith-based organizations are well-positioned to reverse this trend through a variety of membership and outreach strategies. Efforts to increase congregational awareness and educational outreach can significantly enhance effects of education and support efforts directed to teens. Leadership in community collaboration, public policy, and social justice can further enhance the climate for healthy, stable marriages. Strategies to promote strong marriages, beginning early in childhood and adolescence, and extending to youth most at risk for relationship problems, are already being implemented. However, efforts are typically short-term, isolated, and not intensive enough to make a difference. Faith communities that develop viable strategies at multiple levels are most likely to empower and support couples for the challenges of coming generations.
Divorce and marital conflict trends point to a need for more effective education on "how to" live out one's faith in practical settings. While much progress has been made, and while many families and faith-based groups are addressing this daunting daunt
tr.v. daunt·ed, daunt·ing, daunts
To abate the courage of; discourage. See Synonyms at dismay.
[Middle English daunten, from Old French danter, from Latin challenge, current efforts in marriage education are isolated and fragmented. Nevertheless, much progress has been made in faith-based outreach and scholarly research over the past two decades. The quality of resources and training has never been better and looks to be improving yearly. Much of the effort is concentrated at marriage preparation, enrichment, and therapeutic divorce prevention and recovery. Greater emphasis is needed in building healthy relationship skills among youth, beginning with related friendship and dating competencies. An ecological approach, incorporating life skills training for individuals and couples at its core, is needed to build effective programs. Within such a model, support for family and peer networks extends the lessons of training workshops to everyday practice. Organizational and community-wide networks can contribute to teen marriage education through heightened public awareness and collaboration on training and programming. Long-term and in-depth collaborative efforts might address underlying problems such as poverty and abuse that affect marriages and family life. Practitioners and organizational leaders can build upon exemplary efforts in youth development, youth ministry and Christian education, and marriage education with adults, to create, test, disseminate dis·sem·i·nate
v. dis·sem·i·nat·ed, dis·sem·i·nat·ing, dis·sem·i·nates
1. To scatter widely, as in sowing seed.
2. , and evaluate a wide range of complementary strategies for strengthening marriage, beginning with the teen years.
APPENDIX A: Web-based Summaries of Best Practices in Youth Programs
MARRIAGE EDUCATION PROGRAMS
SmartMarriages. A compendium com·pen·di·um
n. pl. com·pen·di·ums or com·pen·di·a
1. A short, complete summary; an abstract.
2. A list or collection of various items. of news, summaries of popular programs and training events, discussion on research and practice issues. http://www.smartmarriages.com
Association of Couples in Marriage Enrichment. A voluntary association of lay couples trained to facilitate marriage growth and support processes. http://www.bettermarriages.org
Marriage Savers. An organization focused on training to foster education and mentoring activities within and between congregations. http://www.marriagesavers.org
COMMUNITY MARRIAGE COALITIONS
Families Northwest. An organization focused on training, community awareness and collaboration to improve quality of life in the Pacific Northwest. http://www.familiesnorthwest.org
FirstThingsFirst. A coalition of business, community, and religious organizations focused on promoting marriage, abstinence, and family strengths in Chattanooga, TN. http://www.firstthings.org Healthy Marriage Grand Rapids Grand Rapids, city (1990 pop. 189,126), seat of Kent co., SW central Mich., on the Grand River; inc. 1850. The second largest city in the state, it is a distribution, wholesale, and industrial center for an area that yields fruit, dairy products, farm produce, . A coalition of community leaders collaborating on awareness and organizational support for marriage education. http:://www.grmarriagepolicy.org
Centers for Disease Control-Dating Violence Prevention. Features descriptions of research-tested approaches to preventing dating violence. http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/youth/datviol.htm
Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, University of Colorado University of Colorado may refer to:
Promising Practices Network. Summarizes research issues and research-evaluated programs that serve children, youth, and families. http://www.promisingpractices.net
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an operating division of the Health and Human Services Department (HHS), was established in 1992 by the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act (Pub. L. No. 102-321). (SAMHSA). The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) is an agency of the United States government under the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). provides extensive descriptions of research-based and/or evaluated programs across a diversity of life skills and risk prevention areas. http://modelprograms.samhsa.gov
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SILLIMAN, BENJAMIN Silliman, Benjamin, 1779–1864, American chemist, geologist, and physicist, b. Trumbull, Conn., grad. Yale, 1796. In 1802 he was appointed first professor of chemistry and natural history at Yale; he traveled abroad and then returned to teach at Yale until 1853. . Address: Department of 4-H Youth Development, North Carolina State University History
Correspondence concerning this article may be addressed to Benjamin Silliman Benjamin Silliman (8 August 1779 – 24 November 1864) was an American chemist, one of the first American professors of science (at Yale University), and the first to distill petroleum. , PhD, Department of 4-H Youth Development, North Carolina State University, Box 7606, Raleigh, NC 27695. Email: email@example.com
North Carolina State University