The study was undertaken in two phases. The first focused on couples whose relationship had broken down, resulting in separation, divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership; the second focused on couples in ongoing relationships of varying duration. Between June and December 2009 over 1,100 men and women participated in the study. Not all of them were resident in England, however, and the information provided by those living elsewhere in the UK has not been included in the analyses undertaken for this report.
The study has been wholly qualitative, with the expressed aim of gaining in-depth insights via a range of qualitative methods: e-surveys, interviews and focus groups. The volume of data gathered has been considerable and further analyses would be required to utilise the data to the full. While we cannot claim that the findings are in any way representative, we are certain that the issues and support needs discussed by participants and presented in this report will be familiar to most people who have been or are in a committed relationship. We believe, therefore, that the findings will enable both policymakers and practitioners to consider how partners can be supported to sustain and strengthen their couple relationship at different life stages.
The findings from this study confirm those of many previous studies, thereby consolidating the evidence base and providing a clear steer for future action.