Oklahoma Marriage Initiative: An Overview of the Longest-Running Statewide Marriage Initiative in the U.S.: Research Brief. Selecting an Implementation Strategy for Facilitating Change


After considering a variety of strategies, the OMI selected a structured relationship skills program as its primary vehicle for facilitating behavior change  the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP). PREP is a research-based 10-12 hour educational curriculum that teaches skills and principles associated with healthy relationships and marriage, including effective communication skills, conflict management, and problem-solving. It also covers such topics as handling expectations, understanding commitment, identifying core beliefs, and focusing on friendship and fun. The curriculum material can be delivered in a variety of formats by trained workshop leaders.

The OMI envisioned a strategy that would make PREP widely available and accessible to all populations and areas within the state. It planned to involve as many sectors of society as possible  both public and private  to build support and provide broad coverage in service delivery. To unify the effort and provide a common language regardless of the service delivery setting, the OMI chose to implement only a single relationship skills program (although adaptations of PREP are sometimes made for specific groups).

The OMI was faced with selecting a relationship skills curriculum out of more than a hundred such programs that are on the market today. Ultimately, its choice of curriculum was guided by the OMIs desire to implement a program that had some basis in research and had been evaluated. These attributes were thought to lead to a greater likelihood of success in achieving the OMIs goals. An additional benefit was that using a program with a foundation in research could make it more defensible to possible critics.

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