An experimental evaluation of theory-based mother and mother-child programs for children of divorce

Sharlene Wolchik, Stephen West, Irwin Sandler, Jenn-Yun Tein, Douglas Coatsworth, Liliana Lengua, Lillie Weiss, Edward R. Anderson, Shannon M. Greene, William Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the efficacy of 2 theory-based preventive interventions for divorced families: a program for mothers and a dual component mother-child program. The mother program targeted mother-child relationship quality, discipline, interparental conflict, and the father-child relationship. The child program targeted active coping, avoidant coping, appraisals of divorce stressors, and mother-child relationship quality. Families with a 9- to 12-year-old child (N = 240) were randomly assigned to the mother, dual-component, or self-study program. Postintervention comparisons showed significant positive program effects of the mother program versus self-study condition on relationship quality, discipline, attitude toward father-child contact, and adjustment problems. For several outcomes, more positive effects occurred in families with poorer initial functioning. Program effects on externalizing problems were maintained at 6-month follow-up. A few additive effects of the dual-component program occurred for the putative mediators; none occurred for adjustment problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)843-856
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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