Child focused and child inclusive family law dispute resolution : one year findings from a prospective study of outcomes

McIntosh, Jennifer E., Wells, Yvonne D. and Long, Caroline M. 2007, Child focused and child inclusive family law dispute resolution : one year findings from a prospective study of outcomes, Journal of family studies, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 8-25.

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Title Child focused and child inclusive family law dispute resolution : one year findings from a prospective study of outcomes
Author(s) McIntosh, Jennifer E.
Wells, Yvonne D.
Long, Caroline M.
Journal name Journal of family studies
Volume number 13
Issue number 1
Start page 8
End page 25
Publisher eContent Management Pty Ltd.
Place of publication Maleny, Qld.
Publication date 2007-05
ISSN 1322-9400
Keyword(s) children
dispute resolution
mental health
Summary This prospective study compared outcomes over 1 year for two groups of separated parents, who attended mediation about their entrenched parenting disputes. The two treatments studied both aimed to improve the psychological resolution of parental conflict with associated reduction of distress for their children. The Child Focused intervention prioritised thought about the needs of children in high conflict divorce, but without any direct involvement of the children, while the Child Inclusive intervention incorporated separate consultation by a specialist with the children in each family, and consideration of their concerns with parents in the mediation forum. Measures were collected from parents and children prior to mediation commencing, and again three and twelve months after the conclusion of mediation. Significant and enduring reduction in levels of conflict and improved management of disputes occurred for both treatment groups in the year after mediation. Across all ages, children in both interventions perceived less frequent and intense conflict between their parents and better resolution of it, with a significant lowering of their related distress. The Child Inclusive intervention showed a number of independent effects not evident in the other treatment group, related to relationship improvements and psychological wellbeing. These effects were strongest for fathers and children. Agreements reached by the Child Inclusive group were significantly more durable and workable over the year, and these parents were half as likely to instigate new litigation over parenting matters in the year after mediation than were the Child Focused parents. The article considers possible mechanisms of change underpinning these outcomes.
Language eng
Field of Research 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
170113 Social and Community Psychology
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2007, eContent Management Pty Ltd.
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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