Children of divorce-coping with divorce: A randomized control trial of an online prevention program for youth experiencing parental divorce.

Jesse L. Boring, Irwin Sandler, Jenn-Yun Tein, John J. Horan, Clorinda E. Velez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Evaluate an online coping skills program to prevent mental health problems in children and adolescents from divorced or separated families. Method: Children ages 11-16 (N = 147) whose families had filed for divorce were recruited using public court records. Participants were blocked by risk-score and randomly assigned to either a control (Internet self-study condition, Best of the Net (BTN) or the experimental intervention, Children of Divorce-Coping With Divorce (CoD-CoD), a 5-module highly interactive online program to promote effective coping skills. Program effects were tested on measures of childrena's self-reported coping and parent and youth reports of childrena's mental health problems. Results: Significant main effects indicated that youth in CoD-CoD improved more on self-reported emotional problems relative to BTN youth (d =.37) and had a lower rate of clinically significant self-reported mental health problems (OR =.58, p =.04). A significant Baseline × Treatment interaction indicated that the 55% of youth with highest baseline problems improved more than those in BTN on their self-report of total mental health problems. A significant interaction effect indicated that CoD-CoD improved youth coping efficacy for the 30% of those with the lowest baseline coping efficacy. For the 10% of youth with lowest parent-reported risk at baseline, those who received BTN had lower problems than CoD-CoD participants. Conclusions: CoD-CoD was effective in reducing youth-reported mental health problems and coping efficacy particularly for high risk youth. Parent-report indicated that, relative to BTN, CoD-CoD had a negative effect on mental health problems for a small group with the lowest risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)999-1005
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Internet intervention
  • adolescents
  • coping
  • divorce
  • prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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