Make up or Break up? Charting the Well-Being of Low-Income Help-Seeking Couples Through the Breakup Process

S. Gabe Hatch, Yunying Le, Brian D. Doss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Divorce or separation concerns have typically been identified as a common reason why couples seek treatment for their relationship. However, to our knowledge, no study has investigated the breakup processin a help-seeking sample. Using a low-income sample of individuals who broke up with their partner duringa large randomized controlled trial investigating the effects of two web-based relationship educationprograms (NBroke up = 286), and a matched sample of individuals who did not break up (NMatched = 286;NTotal = 572), the current study sought to: (a) examine changes in individual functioning and co-parentingamong those who broke up; (b) examine post-breakup differences in changes between those who did and didnot break up; and (c) identify moderators of any differential post-breakup functioning between those whodid and did not break up. Results revealed that web-based relationship education leads to decreases inpsychological and perceived stress prior to the breakup. After matching on pre-breakup characteristics, nopost-breakup differences in individual functioning or co-parenting were found between those who did anddid not break up. Furthermore, few variables moderated individuals’ adjustment to breaking up. Therefore,breaking up may not be as detrimental to individual well-being as once anticipated

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1107-1116
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2021


  • Breakup
  • Divorce
  • Help-seeking
  • Relationship education
  • Separation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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