We conduct research to better understand couple functioning and translate that research into programs that improve marital quality.

Our research examines the association between key predictors of marital quality that are outlined in the National Extension and Relationship Education Model and the impact of relationship and marriage education on couple functioning. For example:

  • Based on data collected in collaboration with Dr. Robert Nielsen from a random statewide sample of married individuals across Georgia, we are studying how relationship behaviors and financial management practices affect couples’ relationship well-being.

  • We are evaluating the impact of the PREPARE program on changes in engaged and newly married couples' relationship behaviors and marital quality.

  • In collaboration with our colleagues at Auburn University, we are evaluating the impact of a new relationship education program, ELEVATE: Taking Your Relationship to the Next Level.

  • With support from a fiver-year federal grant, we are evaluating the impact of relationsihp education offered through Project F.R.E.E. on the couple, co-parenting, and parent-child relationships of families engaged in child welfare and/or home visitation services as well as foster caregivers.

Funding Sources

  • Office of the Vice President for Public Services and Outreach (2007-2008)
  • University of Georgia Research Foundation (2008)
  • Georgia Department of Community Affairs (2008)
  • College of Family and Consumer Sciences (2008; 2011)
  • Division of Family and Children Services (2015-2016)
  • U.S., Dept of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (2015-2020)

Papers in Development or Under Review

  • Perceived spousal gratitude and linkages between financial distress, demand/withdraw, and marital quality.
  • The role of partner emotional expression and individual well-being on marital outcomes.

Recent Publications

  • Lee, S., Wickrama, K.A.S., Futris, T. G., & Mancini, J. A. (2016). Linking work control to depressive symptoms through intrapersonal and marital processes. Journal of Family Issues. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0192513X1666325252.

  • Bryant, C., Futris, T. G., Hicks, M., Lee, T. K., Oshri, A. (2016). African American stepfather-stepchild relationships, marital quality and mental health. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 57(6), 375-388. doi: 10.1080/10502556.2016.1196852.

  • Barton, A. W., Futris, T. G., & Nielsen, R. B. (2015). Linking financial distress to marital quality: The intermediary roles of demand/withdraw and spousal gratitude expressions. Personal Relationships, 22(3), 536-549. doi: 10.1111/pere.12094

  • Barton, A. W., Futris, T. G., & Nielsen, R. B. (2014). With a little help from our friends: Couple social integration in marriage. Journal of Family Psychology, 28(6), 986-991. doi: 10.1037/fam0000038
  • Wilmarth, M., Nielsen, R. B., & Futris, T. G. (2014). Financial wellness and relationship satisfaction: Does communication matter? Family and Consumer Science Research Journal, 43 (2), 131-144. doi: 10.1111/fcsr.12092
  • Barton, A. & Futris, T. G. (2014) Changes following premarital education for couples with differing degrees of future marital risk. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 40, 165-177. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12006