David Law, a recent graduate of the marriage and family therapy program in Brigham Young University's department of family sciences, recently received the 1997 Dissertation of the Year award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

This award is given annually to candidates from throughout the United States and Canada.His dissertation, "The influence of marital and family therapy on utilization of professional health care services in a health maintenance organization," was chaired by D. Russell Crane.

Law found that there was a measurable decrease in the cost of health-care services for patients who received marriage and family therapy. The cost savings were not as evident for other kinds of clinical services studied.

Although the findings are preliminary, they will have an impact on important discussions about health-care costs in the United States, the cost-effectiveness of marriage and family therapy and whether insurers should continue to support mental health care.