Report on relationship difficulties and help-seeking behaviour (2010)

28 March 2012

Couple relationship breakdown is prevalent in today’s society. To illustrate, it is currently estimated that 45% of marriages will end in divorce. Other relationships, including cohabiting unions are more fragile. Research has shown that couple relationship breakdown is associated with detrimental impacts on both the individuals in a relationship as well as any children present.

This report outlines findings from the secondary analysis of a dataset derived from interviews with individuals who were in long-term relationships. The data was generated from 112 individual interviews and eight focus group discussions (comprising 64 individuals).

The chapters of the report outline findings in a number of areas including relationship difficulties; factors which help a relationship endure; attitudes and beliefs about relationships; and relationship improvement and help-seeking behaviour. Although the data was generated some seven to eight years ago, comparisons with both older and more contemporary studies suggest that the difficulties encountered by couples have remained relatively stable over the previous generation.

The report focuses on learning about the best ways to prevent relationship problems, overcome relationship difficulties and reduce the likelihood of relationship breakdown. The findings from this study make a valuable contribution towards an understanding of relationship difficulties and how relationships can be strengthened.

Full text available at:

Ramm, J., Coleman, L., Glenn, F. & Mansfield, P. (2010). Relationship difficulties and help-seeking behaviour – Secondary analysis of an existing data-set. Report submitted to the Department for Education.