A new study finds that watching and discussing movies about relationships is as effective in lowering divorce rates as other, more intensive early marriage counselling programmes. (Agencies)
Discussing five movies about relationships over a month could cut the three-year divorce rate for newly-weds by half, said researchers.
"We thought the movie treatment would help but not nearly as much as the other programmes in which we were teaching all of these state-of-the-art skills," said lead author Ronald Rogge, an associate professor of psychology at University of Rochester in New York.
But the results showed that an inexpensive, fun and relatively simple movie-and-talk approach can be just as effective as other more intensive therapist-led methods - reducing the divorce or separation rate from 24 to 11 percent after three years.
The study, which appeared in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, involved 174 couples.
The participants were sent home with a list of 47 movies with intimate relationships as a major plot focus and asked to watch one a week for the next month, followed by the same guided discussion for about 45 minutes.
Discussing relationship movies, it turned out, was just as effective as more intensive skills-building programmes.
The results suggest that many couples already possess relationship skills,
they just need reminders to put these into practice, the authors said.
"The results suggest that husbands and wives have a pretty good sense of what they might be doing right and wrong in their relationships. Thus, you might not need to teach them a whole lot of skills to cut the divorce rate.
"You might just need to get them to think about how they are currently behaving. And for five movies to give us a benefit over three years - that is awesome," said Rogge.
A new study finds that watching and discussing movies about relationships is as effective in lowering divorce rates as other, more intensive early marriage counselling programmes.