Child-focused and child-inclusive divorce mediation : comparatice outcomes from a prospective study of postseparation adjustment

McIntosh, Jennifer E., Wells, Yvonne D., Smyth, Bruce M. and Long, Caroline M. 2008, Child-focused and child-inclusive divorce mediation : comparatice outcomes from a prospective study of postseparation adjustment, Family court review, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 105-124, doi: 10.1111/j.1744-1617.2007.00186.x.

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Title Child-focused and child-inclusive divorce mediation : comparatice outcomes from a prospective study of postseparation adjustment
Author(s) McIntosh, Jennifer E.
Wells, Yvonne D.
Smyth, Bruce M.
Long, Caroline M.
Journal name Family court review
Volume number 46
Issue number 1
Start page 105
End page 124
Publisher Wiley Interscience
Place of publication Malden, Mass.
Publication date 2008-01
ISSN 1531-2445
Keyword(s) children
family law
mental health
Summary This study compared outcomes over 1 year for two groups of separated parents, who attended two different forms of brief therapeutic mediation for entrenched parenting disputes. The two interventions each targeted psychological resolution of parental conflict, enhanced parental reflective function, and associated reduction of distress for their children. The child-focused (CF) intervention actively supported parents to consider the needs of their children, but without any direct involvement of the children, while the child-inclusive (CI) intervention incorporated separate consultation by a specialist with the children in each family, and consideration of their concerns with parents in the mediation forum. Repeated measures at baseline, 3 months, and 1 year postintervention explored changes over time and across treatments in conflict management, subjective distress, and relationship quality for all family members. Enduring reduction in levels of conflict and improved management of disputes, as reported by parents and children, occurred for both treatment groups in the year after mediation. The CI intervention had several impacts not evident in the other treatment group, related to relationship improvements and psychological well-being. These effects were strongest for fathers and children. Agreements reached by the CI group were significantly more durable, and the parents in this group were half as likely to instigate new litigation over parenting matters in the year after mediation as were the CF parents. The article explores the potential of CI divorce mediation to not only safely include many children in family law matters related to them, but also to promote their developmental recovery from high-conflict separation, through enhanced emotional availability of their parents.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.1744-1617.2007.00186.x
Field of Research 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
170113 Social and Community Psychology
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, Wiley Blackwell Publishing
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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