Learning to Identify Deal Breakers, Relationship Needs, Conditions for Healthy Relationships, and Needs Conflicts in a Relationship Education Workshop

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Michelle Korlacka


Teaching romantic competence knowledge and skills sets people up for successful relationships. We delivered a Relationship Education workshop to young adults and evaluated participants’ memory of skills over six months. Participants (N = 75) learned romantic competence skills (emotion regulation, mutuality, insight), conditions for healthy relationships, to identify relationship needs and deal breakers, and to define a needs conflict. Most participants were women (77%) and fewer than half were White (39%). Participants completed questionnaires before and after the workshop and three and six months later to assess skills and knowledge. Data collection is complete; coding and analyses will be complete prior to the symposium. Preliminary results suggest that most (75%) participants correctly identify all three conditions for healthy relationships immediately following the workshop, but retention fades three (46%) and six months (39%) later. Similarly, many (76%) identify all romantic competence skills following the workshop and this declines to 43% at three months and 31% at six months. Participants were less able to define a needs conflict following the workshop (51%), but do not show the same erosion of knowledge over three (50%) and six months (59%). Common relationship needs were feeling cared for and trust. Common deal breakers were infidelity and abuse. Results suggest that participants do learn targeted skills but knowledge fades with time. The exception is that participants who understood the complex concept of a needs conflict maintained that knowledge at follow-up. Thus, the workshop was successful in developing knowledge to have healthy relationships.

Faculty Supervisor:
Dr. Rebecca Cobb, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University

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Matters of the Heart