How to protect children from the negative effects of divorce?

These children are more likely to have difficulty in school, have mental health or substance use problems, and engage in risky sexual behaviors.

Benefits of Online Parenting Skills Program

A new study from the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University has shown that an online parenting skills program for divorce or separation from parents reduce conflict between parents, improve the quality of parenting, and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in children.


Sharlene Wolchik, professor of psychology at ASU and first author on the paper. “We show that the online eNew Beginnings Program, based on 30 years of research on factors that help children after divorce, is beneficial for these children.”

The researchers, led by Wolchik and Irwin Sandler, Regents Professor of Psychology Emeritus at ASU, adapted an in-person parenting skills program to be web-based and asynchronous, meaning Parents can complete training sessions whenever they want and even on their phones. .

The effectiveness of the eNew Beginnings Program was tested in a randomized controlled trial involving 131 participants who were randomized to allow access to the program or assigned to a waitlist. Results will be published in the Family Court Review.

“Many divorcing parents worry about their children and may be frightened by the statistics they read that their children are more at risk of a negative outcome,” says Sandler.

“Family court judges can use it as a tool to protect children’s health and help parents through this process.”

eNew Beginnings Program

The 10-session eNew Beginnings program focuses on parenting qualities and parental conflict, which directly contribute to mental health problems in children after divorce or separation.

To test how well the program works, the study used reviews from parents and their children enrolled in the course.

Parents and children reported that the course improved the quality of parenting and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression in children. Both also reported a reduction in conflict between parents. There is a greater reduction in parental conflict for the online program than for the in-person version.

“We were surprised to see that the impact of the online program was stronger than the in-person show,” says Wolchik. “The eNew Beginnings program is designed to be highly interactive and engaging focused on teaching parents how to identify obstacles in putting into practice the skills they learn, which is an important part of the program. submit.”

The online program also has a better completion rate than the live version, possibly because the asynchronous format allows participants to pause and return at any time. Of the participants who completed the first session, 16% completed the live version, but 60% completed the eNew Beginnings Program.

“That completion rate is unusual for shows like this,” Sandler said. “The eNew Beginnings program was designed to be accessible, and more than half of the participants completed the sessions on their smartphones.”

Wolchik and Sandler worked for years to expand access to the New Start Program because they knew it worked. Live shows are expensive — they estimate about $700 per family — and the combination of operator training with parents’ schedule constraints is striking a balance between work and childcare can contribute to low program completion rates.

“We worked for a long time to popularize this program, and our frustrations with cost and other barriers caused us to switch to the site,” says Sandler. “We are delighted that the eNew Beginnings Program is doing the same.”

More than 80% of participants said that The family court should recommend that divorced or separated parents complete the eNew Beginnings Program.

This work was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Source: Eurekalert

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