Research on AR Programs

About Affair Recovery
Does the program work?
Analysis of the pre-test and post-test data

About Affair Recovery

Vision To provide hope through our community of recovering couples along with web based programs capable of assisting fifty thousand hurting couples annually, in recovering from the devastating impact of betrayal in marriages.

Mission To offer hope, support, and recovery for couples and individuals suffering from infidelity, betrayal, or sexual addiction. Affair Recovery is a partnership of counseling professionals dedicated to the restoration of marriages crippled by infidelity. Our community includes numerous couples who have experienced the abundant blessings of reconciliation and renewal.

Does the Program Work


  • It's impossible for six therapists to treat so many couples in a year. (In fact, it would be impossible in a life time)
  • Due to the shame associated with betrayal, it's difficult to identify couples who are in need. In fact research shows that most couples wait six years before seeking help.
  • At the point of crisis these couples are volatile and need immediate support.
  • Couples in the midst of infidelity tend to feel hopeless and can't see any way to survive.
  • Cultural values tend to support divorce over working through unfaithfulness.
  • Treating infidelity is complicated by the complexity of couple reaction types.


  • Historically service delivery has been through 12 week couples groups and three day weekend intensives. However, delivery was limited to a few hundred couples annually. To reach a larger number, the Affair Recovery (AR) developed online services for couples in crisis. These services are delivered through a subscription site which provides mentor couples for couples in crises, and online courses which consist of streaming videos, written homework and weekly group telephone calls for processing the homework.

The Hypothesis

AR tested the hypothesis that online services are as effective as onsite therapist-led groups.

We discovered that on-line services were as effective if not more effective than on-site groups. The inability to see other members provides a rich environment for projection. Participants don't know if other members are black, white, rich, poor, fat, or skinny. Therefore, they just imagine them to be how they need for them to be. This effectively eliminates prejudice and immediately increases the comfort level of group participants. This is especially helpful when dealing with such a sensitive subject.

Research Method:

A comparative analysis of the three treatment modalities, On-site, Weekend, and Online, was conducted to determine the efficacy of the online treatment program compared to other formats. Each participant was given pre-test and post-test measures to evaluate the effect of each program. Five measures were administered to all participants in the affair recovery program:

  • Researcher-designed EMS survey
  • Burns Depression Checklist
  • Burns Anxiety Inventory
  • Beck Depression Inventory
  • Locke-Wallace Marital Adjustment Scale

For each measure, data were analyzed for overall pre-post differences as well as the interaction of pre-post change and the following variables:

  • Location type (on site, online, weekend)
  • Gender
  • Role in the affair (unfaithful spouse, hurt spouse)

Data were included for all participants who had complete pre-post data on each measure. The number of participants included ranged from 109 to 117.

Summary: Overall pre-post: Across four of the five measures, the data indicated that all three Affair Recovery Groups significantly improved participants' levels of depression and anxiety and improved their marital satisfaction as rated on the EMS survey. A statistically significant difference was not found for the Locke-Wallace Scale.

Pre-post differences by location type: Overall, the data indicate that the effectiveness of the Affair Recovery Program did not vary significantly based on location. Four of the five measures showed no differences in effectiveness, and the difference in the fifth measure (Burns Anxiety Inventory), while statistically significant, was very small. This means that online service delivery was shown to be as effective as on-site service delivery. The ramifications for this finding are significant in that it is possible to provide the same quality services to under-served populations that have traditionally been reserved for only those who could afford in-person treatment. In addition, this methodology provides an alternative for couples who are separated (such as military families when one spouse is deployed) or who for whatever reason don't have services available in their location (such as missionary families based overseas). To receive services, all these couples need is access to the internet, a DVD player, and a phone line.

Pre-post differences by gender: Overall, the data indicate that the effectiveness of the Affair Recovery Program did not vary significantly based on gender on any measure. This finding indicates that this approach is effective for both male and female spouses.

Pre-post differences by Role in Affair: Overall, the data indicate that the effectiveness of the Affair Recovery Program did not vary significantly based on the person's role in the affair on any measure. Finding that the on-line course is effective for both the hurt and unfaithful spouse is necessary to help both parties find hope and to continue their journey of healing.

Conclusion: The Affair Recovery Online Course has been shown to be as effective as on-site treatment. This finding allows for a new service delivery vehicle capable of reaching larger numbers at reduced cost. Due to the anonymity, this approach may encourage those who have traditionally avoided getting help for fear of exposure. Additionally, this approach can offer customized programs aimed at the specific needs of couples. To date 85 to 90% of couples were still together one year after the discovery of the affair. With over 40% of couples dealing with infidelity, we believe reaching 50,000 couples a year will begin to impact the national divorce rate.