Couple Relationships in the 21st Century
The Enduring Love? study investigated a topic that is close to the heart of many people - how couples experience and understand their long-term relationships. At the Enduring Love? project launch, Annabel Burns (DfE) asked: ‘how can we mainstream relationship education?’. This provocation inspired and informed impact and public engagement activities thereafter with a wide range of different audiences.
Findings have received significant recognition from key relationship organisations and practitioners, referring to the immediate and lasting impact of study findings. For example: Ruth Sutherland, Relate CEO (14/01/2014): “This evidence and research could really raise the national consciousness of [relationship] issues and put them firmly in the debate… this is a milestone.”
In recognition of its innovative impact and public engagement activities, the study has been awarded two prestigious awards. The Open University Engaging Research Award (2014) recognized the dialogic networks and public engagement activities that underpin the research. The Evelyn Gillian Research Impact Award (2016) was awarded to Jacqui Gabb in recognition of the extensive, diverse and innovative impact activities that have contributed to the dissemination of findings.
The extensive and on-going national and international coverage of the study has moved beyond dissemination of findings, provoking policy (Westminster Hall 14/01/2014) and public debate. Media coverage of the launch of findings reached an audience of over 72 million people (Precise 2014). Features appeared on national and international live and pre-corded television and radio, including: BBC World News, BBC Four News, CNN and Brazil TV. There was widespread coverage in print and online media, including: the New York Post (USA), LA Times (USA), Le Point (France), The Age (Australia), South China Morning Post, Pink News, and all major UK newspapers. Findings also featured in discussion on many broadcast programmes including The Today Programme, Loose Women, and Woman’s Hour. Findings continue to inform debate on couple diversity and the ways that relationships endure over the life course.
In the policy arena, the research team have been invited to participate in all-party parliamentary briefings, receptions and consultation events. Research evidence has been presented to government departments (DfE, DWP and The Treasury) and parliamentary policy making groups (Centre for Social Justice and Labour Policy Review), enabling them to refine their understandings of family and relationship support. Written evidence has been presented to government departments, including the DWP (15/01/2014) and DfE (13/01/2014), and parliamentary policy making groups the Centre for Social Justice (17/09/2013) and Labour Policy Review (6/03/2014 and 19/09/2013).
Brook reaches over 275,000 young people every year and currently delivers sex and relationships education in 10% of UK schools. In collaboration with Brook, we have ‘translated’ findings into online relationship information resources for young people and an eLearning teaching pack designed for teachers for use in schools as part of sex and relationship education (SRE). These materials are designed to enable young people to learn about how relationships work and thus develop more realistic expectations that can be fulfilled. The eLearning teaching pack was launched at the House of Commons (13/09/16) and hosted by cross-party MPs.
Working with family systemic psychotherapists, the emotion map research method has been adapted for use in clinical practice as part of the clinical assessment toolkit. The impact of this tool has been published in a leading clinical practice journal (Gabb and Singh, 2014) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/famp.12096/pdf.
Findings have been published for a general readership in a self-help handbook The Secrets of Enduring Love (2016). This book is aimed at general readership. It was serialized by the Daily Mail (1-5/02/2016), reaching a readership of over 4 million, with a further 100 million website unique visitors.
Academic publications include a book, Couple Relationships in the 21st Century (Palgrave, 2015). This features chapters on: Relationship Work; Communication; Sex and Intimacy; Unsettling Coupledom.
A series of films based on research findings have been produced and presented in multiple formats. These are designed to provoke the audience to reflect on their personal relationship experience.
For further details on the project and all media enquiries, please contact:
Professor Jacqui Gabb
Chair of Sociology and Intimacy
The Open University
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences and Global Studies