Can chick flicks save rocky marriages?
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying:
Get your Kleenex; this one's a tear-jerker.
Sadly, many marriages end in divorce within the first few years. Counseling can help, but not all couples seek it. Is there another option?
Meet Ronald Rogge of the University of Rochester. His study compared couples' therapy to, yes, watching chick flicks. For one month, some newlywed couples got training in relationship skills like active listening, compassion, and acceptance. Meanwhile, other newlyweds watched five "relationship" movies, following specific guidelines to discuss how each on-screen couple's relationship compared to their own. A control group didn't see movies or get therapy.
Fast-forward three years. Both groups—the movie-watching couples and the therapy-receiving couples—had the same divorce rate: eleven percent. But this was half the rate of the control group! So not only is watching and discussing chick flicks as effective as therapy, it is therapy! The activity seems to work by raising newlyweds' awareness about their own behavior.
See the movie list and discussion guide at couples hyphen research dot com.
I'll get the popcorn started. It'll be included in your bill.
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The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.