An exploratory study on the effectiveness of the marriage enrichment program of the family life education service in Hong Kong

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An exploratory study on the effectiveness of the marriage enrichment program of the family life education service in Hong Kong


Author: Tsang, Pik-shan
Title: An exploratory study on the effectiveness of the marriage enrichment program of the family life education service in Hong Kong
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1997
Subject: Family life education -- China -- Hong Kong
Marriage counseling -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Studies
Pages: 124 leaves ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: The research aimed at exploring the effectiveness of the Marriage Enrichment ("ME") Program of the Hong Kong Family Life Education ("FLE") Service. Two specific objectives were proposed. Firstly, it was intended to ascertain the views of selected social workers, Users and Non-Users on the ME Program of the FLE Service in Hong Kong. Secondly, it was intended to gain insight into and suggest improvements to the ME Program. One group of couples ("Couple group") was selected as the target for evaluation. The responsible FLE Worker and three couples were interviewed. In addition, another four FLE Workers and two Non-User couples were also interviewed. Those additional four FLE Workers have conducted couple groups in last the six months. Most of the FLE Workers have conducted the couple groups with two sessions and only some of them have conducted the couple groups with four sessions. All subjects were interviewed according to an interview guide along pre-determined, standardized (but open-ended) questions. In this study, the situation of the recruitment of the ME Program was explored. From the data of the study, all FLE Workers interviewed found that they encountered problems in recruitment to the ME Program, especially to the multiple-session couple group. In view of their perceived needs, all the FLE Workers, Users and Non-Users agreed the need for the ME Program. They could all relate to one aim of the ME Program as being an increased ability to achieve the function of parenting. Less of them related to married couples' developmental needs. Regarding publicity, distributing bulletins was found to be the most common means of promotion nowadays. However, most FLE Workers found that personal promotion directed at married adults was the most effective means of promoting the ME Program. However, promotion through mass media was found to be effective in conveying program information to the service targets, particularly non-user husbands. Usually, user wives took the first step to participate in the ME Program and their husbands would follow suit. However, the "at-risk" non-user husband showed that he would not follow his wife's initiation if he had no interest in participating. Regarding service delivery, most Users (especially the husbands) were interested in discussing consistent methods of parenting with their spouses. In addition, most user and non-user husbands were interested in participating in family activities incorporating a child-care service. FLE Workers also consistently found it easier to recruit couples to the ME Program when family activities were concerned. However, they encountered the problem of lack of manpower (especially mature worker) in providing a child-care service. Similarly, Non-Users emphasised the quality of the service, including the reliability of the child-care worker, content of the children programs and the quality of the ME Program facilitator. In this study, it was found that some FLE Workers' difficulties and Non-Users' barriers to participation related to administrative arrangements. For example, because of the lack of manpower in every service unit, the choice of publicity work and program format were limited. Therefore, a teamwork approach to include FLE Workers, program assistants, clerks and labour staff was recommended. Regarding the nature of the service, all FLE Workers, Users and Non-Users were dissatisfied that the ME Program only focused on preventative and developmental functions. They all agreed the need to allocate more resources for the "at-risk" groups. In addition, all FLE Workers, Users, and Non-Users asked for the inclusion of counseling/individual work in the FLE Service in order to meet targets' needs and to enhance FLE Workers' professional capabilities. According to the above findings, (apart from educational groups) a high value was placed on combined marriage and parenting programs and combined educational and promotional formats (such as family activities) so as to reach low-motivated targets. As well, the females also placed priority on providing for those who have difficulty in participating with their spouses in the ME Program, in particular, the at-risk group. In the study, the effectiveness of the ME Program was also explored by focusing on the evaluation of the selected group. Four FLE Workers' self-evaluations of their couple groups were also analysed. The results indicated that the effectiveness of the couple groups was difficult to agree. In terms of objective achievement, all the couple groups conducted by the FLE Workers had two objectives: understanding communication knowledge and grasping communication skills. As a result, the majority of FLE Workers and all the Users found understanding communication knowledge could he achieved but grasping communication skills could not achieved. One difficulty is that no method exists to calculate utilization or the difference in the group design. Therefore, the FLE Workers could not ascertain the extent to which Users utilized the knowledge which was learned from the group. All users demonstrated satisfaction with the group because they felt that the information provided was useful for them. They appreciated with the FLE Worker intervention, especially her professional attitude and skills. They found that they made some progress, such as increasing the frequency of communication and mutual understanding with their spouses. Most of the couple groups lacked follow-up work and of the few that participated in follow-up work because of the unsatisfactory recruitment. In fact, most of the Users did ask for follow-up work such as advanced group sessions, pro-group meetings or continuing meetings. As marriage enrichment is a life-long learning process, it was impossible to achieve behavioral change through a single program and follow-up work or providing a series of programs is highly recommended. In this study, it was found that Users had some difficulty in utilization because the information provided was based on western culture and knowledge. Accordingly, indigenous training for FLE Workers is necessary. Finally, a comprehensive review of the existing service is needed for future development of the FLE Service. Certainly the participants' involvement was worthwhile in the program planning, operation and evaluation phases for continued quality assurance.

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