Intervention Program Helps Children of Divorce

Published Online: Wednesday, January 1, 2003
An intervention program for children of divorced parents significantly reduced the long-term diagnosis of mental disorders in the children, researchers reported in the October 16, 2002, issue of Journal of the American Medical Association. The researchers divided families into 3 programs: a self-study literature program; a program in which the custodial mothers attended an 11-week parenting skills class that focused on listening and communication skills, consistent discipline, and other parenting skills; and a combined program for mothers and children that included the parenting class and a coping skills class for the children. At 6-year follow-up, adolescents in the combined program were 36% less likely to have a diagnosed mental disorder and reported fewer sexual partners than those who had been in the self-study program. Those who were in the combined program or whose mothers attended the parenting class had fewer mental health problems and fewer instances of drug, marijuana, and alcohol use than those in the self-study group.

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