Study:Relationship Issues Top Canadian EAP Marital Visits

May 30, 2003 ( - Marital relationship problems have prompted more people to seek help from their company Employee Assistance Program (EAP) than for any other marital issue, according to a new study of Canadian EAP cases.

According to the study by Toronto-based Warren Shepell Consultants Corp., an EAP provider, 73.9% of the marital-related EAP visits centered on marital/relationship issues while a quarter of the marital EAP visits were prompted by separation/divorce. Marital cases are defined as adults who engaged in counseling for any reason related to their intimate relationship with a significant other. Counseling for marital issues may comprise either individual or couples counseling. The company studied 40,000 of its EAP cases over three years.

The report found that 62.1% of all marital/relationship cases represent individuals seeking counseling to improve the quality of their relationships rather than for issues related to separation/divorce. Marital woes currently represent about a third of all of the company’s EAP caseload.

Other findings of The Marital/Relationship Issues: An EAP’s Perspective included:

  • More than 90% of client cases revealed a stress level of high or moderate. The data also showed that across all marital cases, there is a statistically significant rise in levels of high stress over the three-year study period. This means that more people are reporting higher levels of stress as it relates to their relationship.
  • Across all marital cases, personal stress (24.6%), is the most reported secondary issue followed by separation (9.2%), depression symptoms (6.8%), communication – other (6%), child-related issues (5.4%), parenting (4.5%), and life transition (4.4%).