Shackleton Relationships Project
What makes couple relationships last?
Many people strive to form and maintain mutually fulfilling intimate partner relationships that they hope will be life-long. For substantial numbers however this goal proves elusive. The Shackleton Relationships project was an innovative collaboration between researchers in the Law School and the Medical School led by Professor Anne Barlow and funded by Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia LVO. By interviewing couples in their 10th year of marriage who we have interviewed periodically since marriage as well as married or unmarried and heterosexual or same-sex couples of 15-30 years’ duration, the research team have gained valuable insights into what drives thriving, enduring relationships across the life-course. This was contextualised by reviewing the academic literature on relationship breadkdown and also supplemented with interviews with divorce lawyers and judges to identify elements of relationship failure.
The project aimed to explore what the critical questions are that should be asked prior to entering a relationship to help to increase its chances of success and, to consider what type of relationship educational tool(s) might help young people to make better decisions in this area. Following preliminary feasibility work within schools to assess students’ willingness to engage with some educational tools with a view to designing a future intervention and assessing whether and how this could be included in the school’s curriculum. 10 critical questions have been identified.
Findings now available
In their findings, released today, the study proposes ten “critical” questions couples should ask before embarking on a serious relationship to help couples thrive. It is hoped that the project findings will also inform the government’s current review of relationship and sex education and lead to the development of educational tools which will help deliver relationship education in an accessible and age-appropriate way that students enjoy.
- The Shackleton Relationships Project final report
- The Shackleton Relationships Project summary report
Asking ten “critical” questions before embarking on a serious relationship can help couples thrive, study shows
Asking ten “critical” questions before embarking on a serious relationship can help couples thrive, according to a new study backed by the prominent divorce lawyer Baroness Fiona Shackleton.
Long-term relationships last when they are built on friendship, respect, realistic expectations, shared interests and humour, according to the University of Exeter research.
Evidence from couples, as well family lawyers, mediators and judges has helped identify the ten key aspects of a relationship which other couples can use to reflect on to see if they are likely to thrive and stand the test of time. Continuing to ask the ten critical questions can also help couples build their relationship.
Young People advise Shackleton research to develop a relationship skills educational toolkit
We are delighted to report that during October and November 2017, we held workshops in five Devon schools and two existing youth community groups. The aim of the workshops was to seek the advice of young people aged 15 to 18 on the importance of skills we have identified from the earlier stage of the research and their preferences in respect of the method for learning these skills. The young people gave us some insightful advice and we enjoyed the opportunity to work with them so that the decisions we make about the right way forward are made with the people we hope the toolkit will be used by. We are thankful to the schools and youth club organisers who helped us arrange these workshops. Our next step is a workshop here at the University of Exeter attended by two young people of each of the schools and community groups visited by us to bring all of the results together and create actual content for the toolkit.
What makes couple relationships last? Staff keynote presentation of preliminary findings
The state of our intimate relationships can significantly affect our personal well being. Having a good relationship with an intimate partner is one of the things that matters most to people in life but is an elusive goal for many. Dr Jan Ewing will give a keynote address at the Staff Festival on 27th June on the Shackleton Relationships Project. To find out more about what appears to be driving thriving intimate relationships across the life course register here.
Professor Anne Barlow talked about the aims of the project on BBC Spotlight and Radio Devon.
Prominent divorce lawyer Baroness Shackleton is funding new University of Exeter research which could help uncover the secret of finding life-long love.
We are now recruiting couples to take part in interviews to find out what drives their relationship to thrive and endure.
We are pleased to announce the start of a new research project funded by Exeter alumna, Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia LVO.
For further information about this research, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call Dr Jan Ewing on 00 44 (0) 7971 008931