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Egmont Foundation Study: Communication Courses Cure Ailing Love

Every third child is a victim of divorce. But there is help to get in communication courses if you want to save the relationship, according to a new study made by Danish National Centre for Social Research (SFI) ​​for the Egmont Foundation.

  • Photo: Steen Brogaard

    Photo: Steen Brogaard

In the report SFI examines international studies of 13 so-called program-based interventions for couples whose relationships are strained or in danger of breaking. Out of the 13 programs three have positive effects on the relationship, the report shows. These three programs focus on the couple's communication.

- We are pleased to see evidence that there are methods that work and which are even offered in Denmark, says director of the Egmont Foundation, Henriette Christiansen.

It is the most well-documented of the programs, the Prevention Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP), which is offered in Denmark. This program is about listening to and respecting each other's needs.

Divorces are crises of life for children

In 2013 there were a total of 18,858 registered divorces between two people of the opposite sex in Denmark. It is 3149 more than in 2012. But when the relationship starts falling apart, it does not only affect the couple involved. 

- We find that divorce is an overlooked life crisis for children. And it is a lot of children – in fact, one in three – that are affected by it. Therefore it is crucial to find out whether it is possible to prevent such collapses that lead to divorce, says Henriette Christiansen.

She welcomes the results. 

- The Egmont Foundation work for a good life for children and young people. With studies like this we wish to help children cope with the life crises they encounter. It is positive that we now know what tools can help to avoid split-ups. 

Many Danish municipalities also offers couple counselling, and Henriette Christiansen believes that the findings also contributes positively in this area.

- It can help ensure the quality of the offers and direct public funding to where we know it has an effect, she says.