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Keywords:

  • Healthy Marriage Initiatives;
  • family demographics;
  • marital discord;
  • marriage

In the July 2013 issue of Family Relations, Alan J. Hawkins, Paul R. Amato, and Andrea Kinghorn examined the associations between family demographics and per capita spending on the Healthy Marriage Initiatives, concluding that the results demonstrated the potential of these initiatives for improving the lives of children. In this critique of that article, I make the following points: (1) this article was timely and important, (2) Hawkins and colleagues' conclusions were overly generous given the data they describe, and (3) Hawkins and colleagues' review of prior outcome studies on the Healthy Marriage Initiatives emphasized positive findings, deemphasized null effects, and expunged negative effects. I conclude that future discussions of the Healthy Marriage Initiatives should include dispassionate descriptions of all available data.