Effects of the dads for life intervention on interparental conflict and coparenting in the two years after divorce

Jeffrey T. Cookston, Sanford L. Braver, William Griffin, Stephanie R. De Lusé, Jonathan C. Miles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Scopus citations

Abstract

The ability of parents to forge harmonious coparenting relationships following divorce is an important predictor of their children's long-term well-being. However, there is no convincing evidence that this relationship can be modified through intervention. A preventive intervention that we developed, Dads for Life (DFL), which targeted noncustodial parents as participants, has previously been shown in a randomized field trial to favorably impact child well-being. We explore here whether it also has an impact on mothers' and fathers' perceptions of coparenting and interparental conflict in the 2 years following divorce. Results of the latent growth curve models we evaluated showed that both mothers and fathers reported less conflict when the father participated in DFL as compared with controls. For the fathers, perceptions of coparenting did not change over time in either the DFL or control conditions. Alternatively, mothers' perceptions of support declined over time in the control group, whereas those whose ex-husbands participated in the DFL program reported significant positive growth change toward healthier coparenting. The positive findings for mothers' reports are particularly compelling because mothers were not the participants, and thus common alternative explanations are ruled out. The DFL intervention, then, offers courts a promising program to improve families' functioning after divorce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-137
Number of pages15
JournalFamily Process
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007

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Keywords

  • Coparenting
  • Divorce
  • Divorcing parent education
  • Interparental conflict
  • Latent curve modeling
  • Noncustodial parent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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