New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Parents (NBP)

About This Program

Target Population: Children/adolescents between 3 and 18 years of age whose parents are divorcing or separating parents (services are given to the parents)

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 3 – 18

Program Overview

The New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Families (NBP) is a parenting-after-divorce program. It is designed to decrease children’s internalizing and externalizing problems and increase their competencies by teaching parents skills to increase positive family interactions and active listening, and use effective discipline strategies. It also teaches anger management skills to reduce exposure to interparental conflict. The NBP is delivered in ten sessions (1 hour and 45 minutes) in groups (up to 8 parents) or individually. In addition, there is a 20-30 minute phone check-in midway through the program. There are separate programs for mothers and fathers. The groups are led by Master’s-level helping professionals. Activities include group discussion, skills demonstration videos, role plays, review of use of skills, troubleshooting difficulties, and assignment of home practice. Through these activities, parents learn how the skills are linked to children's adjustment outcomes and how to use them effectively.

Program Goals

The goals of New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Families (NBP) are:

  • Decrease likelihood of experiencing internalizing problems
  • Decrease likelihood of experiencing externalizing problems
  • Decrease likelihood of being diagnosed with a mental health disorder
  • Decrease likelihood of substance use
  • Decrease likelihood of risky sexual behaviors
  • Decrease likelihood of involvement with the criminal justice system
  • Decrease likelihood if need for or use of mental health services
  • Increase overall academic performance
  • Increase level of self-esteem
  • Increase ability to use adaptive coping

Essential Components

The essential components of the New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Families (NBP) include;

  • Parenting-after-divorce program with two versions:
    • One for the mothers
    • One for fathers
  • Overall goals:
    • Decrease children’s postdivorce mental health problems
    • Enhance children’s competence
  • Core components:
    • Positive family activities
    • Active listening skills
    • Effective discipline strategies
    • Ways to reduce children’s exposure to interparental conflict
    • Practice of program skills with children
  • Delivery:
    • Group program:
      • 10 1-hour-and 45-minute sessions and one 20- to 30-minute, individual phone check-in
      • 6-8 parents
    • Individual program:
      • One-hour sessions
      • 10 sessions
    • Settings include:
      • Mental health agencies
      • Schools
      • Pediatricians’ offices
  • Leaders should have a Master’s degree in a helping profession such as:
    • Clinical Psychology
    • Counseling Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Nursing
  • Session activities:
    • Didactic presentations
    • Group discussions
    • Skills demonstration videos
    • Roleplay of skills
    • Home practice of program skills
    • Review use of program skills with children
    • Problem solve difficulties with skill use

Program Delivery

Parent/Caregiver Services

New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Parents (NBP) directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Divorcing or separating parent with potential poor parent-child relationships, poor active listening skills, ineffective discipline strategies, poor anger management skills; child at risk of experiencing internalizing problems, externalizing problems, and/or impairments in competence

Group Format

New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Parents (NBP) was not designed to be conducted in a group setting, and has not been tested for use in a group setting.

Recommended Intensity:

Group format - One weekly 1-hour-and-45-minute session Individual format - One weekly 1-hour session

Recommended Duration:

10 weeks

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Outpatient Clinic
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)

Homework

New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Parents (NBP) includes a homework component:

Parents are taught skills in each session and are given weekly practice and homework assignments related to those skills.

Languages

New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Parents (NBP) has materials available in a language other than English:

Dutch

For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

One group leader, a conference room that can seat up to 8 parents and a group leader, and a computer and screen to project the sessions. Childcare should be available if needed. For the first delivery of the program, a video camera will be needed to record the group leader.

Education and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Group leaders must have a Master’s or Doctorate-level degree in clinical psychology, counseling, nursing or social work.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program, and there is training available for this program.

  • Family Transitions-Programs that Work. (2018). New Beginnings Program group leader mother manual (3rd ed.). Author;
  • Family Transitions-Programs that Work. (2018). New Beginnings Program group leader father manual (1st ed.). Author.
Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

Training can be onsite at an agency or participants can attend one of the training workshops held at Family Transitions-Programs that Work in Tempe, Arizona.

Number of days/hours:

The NBP training workshop is three full days from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.

Implementation Information

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Parents (NBP) as listed below:

The program developers assess readiness using a semi-structured interview with the executive director of the applicant agency. Questions address issues such as resource availability (e.g., staff, space, childcare) and staff experience with parent training.

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Parents (NBP) as listed below:

As part of the initial delivery of the NBP for all group leaders, it is required that groups be video recorded and the videos be uploaded to the Family Transitions – Programs that Work server. A Family Transitions – Programs that Work supervisor (PhD-level clinician on staff) reviews the videos of each group weekly. Each week, the supervisor sends email comments about the group leader’s performance, reviews the fidelity and quality questionnaires and conducts weekly video conference calls with group leaders in each cohort to discuss problems, issues, or concerns that the group leader may have;

Group leaders have access to and are encouraged to use weekly online training videos through the website.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Parents (NBP) as listed below:

The fidelity measure assesses whether the leader did each of the session components. The measure and how to use it are discussed in the initial training. For questions about the measure, contact the training contact above.

Fidelity Measure Requirements:

Initial delivery requires leaders to videotape each session and complete online self-report questionnaires after each session. Their supervisor (PhD-level clinician on the Family Transitions – Programs that Work staff) watches segments of the videos and reviews the self-report questionnaire and incorporates feedback about quality and fidelity of delivery into the weekly email to the leader and video conference call.

Established Psychometrics:

Berkel, C., Mauricio, A. M., Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., Gallo, C. G., & Brown, C. H. (2018). The cascading effects of multiple dimensions of implementation on program outcomes: A test of a theoretical model. Prevention Science, 19(6), 782–794. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-017-0855-4

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are implementation guides or manuals for New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Parents (NBP) as listed below:

The program developers assess readiness using a semi-structured interview with the executive director of the applicant agency. Questions address issues such as resource availability (e.g., staff, space, childcare) and staff experience with parent training.

Implementation Cost

There have been studies of the costs of implementing New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Parents (NBP) which are listed below:

Herman, P., Mahrer, N. E., Wolchik, S. A., Porter, M. M., Jones, S., & Sandler, I. N. (2015). Cost-benefit of a preventive intervention for divorced families: Reduction in mental health and justice system service use costs 15 years later. Prevention Science,16, 586–608. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-014-0527-6

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has been conducted on how to implement New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Parents (NBP) as listed below:

Berkel, C., Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., Brown, C. H., Gallo, C. G., Chiapa, A., Mauricio, A. M., & Jones, S. (2018). “Home practice is the program:” Parents’ practice of program skills as predictors of outcomes in the New Beginnings Program effectiveness trial. Prevention Science, 19(5), 663–673. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-016-0738-0

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

The CEBC reviews all of the articles that have been published in peer-reviewed journals as part of the rating process. When there are more than 10 published, peer-reviewed articles, the CEBC identifies the most relevant articles, with a focus on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled studies that have an impact on the rating. The articles chosen for New Beginnings Program for Separated and Divorced Families (NBP) are summarized below:

Wolchik, S. A., West, S. G., Westover, S., Sandler, I. N., Martin, A., Lustig, J., Tein, J-Y., & Fisher, J. (1993). The children of divorce parenting intervention: Outcome evaluation of an empirically based parenting program. American Journal of Community Psychology, 21(3), 293–331. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00941505

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 70

Population:

  • Age — Adults: 27–50 years (Mean=36.8 years); Children: 8–15 years (Mean=10.6 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — Adults: 95% Caucasian; Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Adults: 100% Female; Children: 61% Male
  • Status — Participants were divorced mothers.

Location/Institution: Arizona

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examined the efficacy of an intervention for divorcing mothers [now called New Beginnings Program for Separated and Divorced Families (NBP)]. Families were assigned randomly to the intervention or wait-list control conditions. Measures utilized included the Child's Depression Inventory, the Child Assessment Schedule, the Psychiatric Epidemiology Research Interview (PERI), the Parent-Adolescent Communication Scale ~ Open Family Communication Subscale, the Family Routines Inventory, the Child Report of Parenting Behavior Inventory, the Divorce Event s Schedule for Children, the Children's Perception Questionnaire, the Family Environment Scale, the O'Leary-Porter Scale, Child's Contact with Father Scale, the Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale—Revised, the Youth Report of Hostility Scale, the Child Behavior Checklist, and the PERI - Demoralization Scale. Results indicated posttest comparisons showed higher quality mother–child relationships and discipline, fewer negative divorce events, and better mental health outcomes for program participants than controls. More positive program effects occurred for mothers’ than for children's reports of variables and for families with poorest initial levels of functioning. Results also indicated that improvement in the mother–child relationship partially mediated the effects of the program on children’s mental health. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, inclusion of only mothers, small sample size, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Wolchik, S. A., West, S. G., Sandler, I. N., Tein, J.-Y., Coatsworth, D., Lengua, L., Weiss, L., Anderson, E. R., Greene, S. M., & Griffin, W. A. (2000). An experimental evaluation of theory-based mother and mother–child programs for children of divorce. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68(5), 843–856. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11068970/

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 240

Population:

  • Age — Adults: Mean=37.3 years; Children: Mean=10.4 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Adults: 88% Caucasian, 8% Hispanic, 2% African American, 1% Asian, and 1% Other; Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Adults: 100% Female; Children: Not specified
  • Status — Participants were individuals who have recently been divorced or separated and their children.

Location/Institution: Arizona

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluated the efficacy of 2 theory-based preventive interventions for divorced families: a program for mothers only [now called New Beginnings Program for Separated and Divorced Families (NBP)] and a dual component mother–child program. Families were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) a mother-only group-format program (MP), (b) a dual-component mother program plus child program (MPCP; separate, concurrent groups for mothers and children, n=83), or (c) a literature control condition (n = 76). Measures utilized included the Child Report of Parenting Behavior Inventory (CRPBI), the Parent-Adolescent Communication Scale, the Children's Perception of Interparental Conflict Scale, the Threat Appraisal Scale, the Children's Coping Strategies Checklist—Revised, the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), the Youth Self Report, the Teacher-Child Rating Scale, the Children's Depression Inventory, the Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale-Revised, and the Teacher-Child Rating Scale. Results indicate that postintervention comparisons showed significant positive program effects of the MP versus self-study condition on relationship quality, discipline, attitude toward father-child contact, and adjustment problems. For several outcomes, more positive effects occurred in families with poorer initial functioning. Program effects on externalizing problems, as measured by mother-child and teacher report, occurred at 6-month follow-up. Limitations include use of self-reported measures; the study screened out many individuals who were interested in obtaining services, including those who were receiving treatment for psychological problems; large majority of the sample was Caucasian; inclusion of only mothers; generalizability to real world settings; and length of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 and 6 months.

Hipke, K. N., Wolchik, S. A., Sandler, I. N., & Braver, S. L. (2002). Predictors of children’s intervention-induced resilience in a parenting program for divorced mothers. Family Relations, 51(2), 121–129. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3729.2002.00121.x

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 157

Population:

  • Age — Adults: Mean=37.3 years; Children: Mea=10.4 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Adults: 88% Caucasian, 8% Hispanic, 2% African American, 1% Asian, and 1% Other; Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Adults: 100% Female; Children: Not specified
  • Status — Participants were individuals who have recently been divorced or separated and their children.

Location/Institution: Arizona

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilized subset of participants from Wolchik et al. (2000). This study examined predictors of intervention-induced resilience in children of divorce whose mothers participated in a group intervention [now called New Beginnings Program for Separated and Divorced Families (NBP)]. Families were randomly assigned to the group intervention or self-study, guided-reading control condition program. Measures utilized included the Psychiatric Epidemiology Research Interview, the Child Report of Parenting Behavior Inventory (CRPBI), the Parent-Adolescent Communication Scale, the Children's Perception of Interparental Conflict Scale, the Threat Appraisal Scale, the Children's Coping Strategies Checklist—Revised, the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), the Youth Self Report, the Teacher-Child Rating Scale, the Children's Depression Inventory, the Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale-Revised, and the Teacher-Child Rating Scale. Results indicate that both material mental health and child temperament moderated program effectiveness on maintenance of intervention gains in child externalizing behavior at 6-month follow-up. Specifically, the intervention children who continued to show less externalizing problems relative to control children 6 months postintervention were those with high level of self-regulatory skills and those who had mothers who reported low levels of demoralization upon entry into the program. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, secondary data analysis, large majority of the sample was Caucasian, inclusion of only mothers, and length of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 and 6 months.

Wolchik, S. A., Sandler, I. N., Millsap, R. E., Plummer, B. A., Greene, S. M., Anderson, E. R., Dawson-McClure, S. R., Hipke, K., & Haine, R. A. (2002). Six-year follow-up of a randomized, controlled trial of preventive interventions for children of divorce. Journal of the American Medical Association, 288(15), 1874–1881. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.288.15.1874

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 240

Population:

  • Age — Adults (Residential Mothers/Residential Fathers): Mean=43.2 years/48.4 years; Children: 15.1–19.1 years (Mean=16.9 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — Adults (Residential Mothers/Residential Fathers): 89.1%/82.4% White, Non-Hispanic; 6.3%/17.6% Hispanic; 1.1%/0% Black; 1.1%/0% Asian/Pacific Islander; and 2.3%/0% Other; Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Adults: 100% Female; Children: 49.5% Female
  • Status — Participants were families with adolescents aged between 15 and 19 years who were reinterviewed.

Location/Institution: Maricopa County (metropolitan area of Phoenix, AZ)

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilized sample population from Wolchik et al. (2000). This study evaluated the long-term effectiveness of 2 programs designed to prevent mental health problems in children with divorced parents. Families were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a mother-only group-format program (MP) [now called New Beginnings Program for Separated & Divorced Families (NBP)], a dual-component mother program plus child program (MPCP), or a control condition. Measures utilized included the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (DISC), the Child Behavior Checklist, the Divorce Adjustment Project Externalizing Scale, the Child Depression Inventory, the Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale, and the Monitoring the Future Scale. Results indicate that eleven percent of adolescents in MPCP condition had a 1-year prevalence of diagnosed mental disorder compared with 23.5% of adolescents in the control program. Adolescents in MPCP condition had fewer sexual partners compared with adolescents in the control program. Adolescents with higher initial mental health problems whose families were in the MPCP condition had lower externalizing problems and fewer symptoms of mental disorder compared with those in the control program. Compared with controls, adolescents whose mothers participated in MP and who had higher initial mental health problems had lower levels of externalizing problems; fewer symptoms of mental disorder; and less alcohol, marijuana, and other drug use. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, small sample size, limited generalizability due to participants being middle-class and white mothers, participation rate was not high and study did not include an attention-placebo control.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months, 6 months, and 6 years.

Tein, J.-Y., Sandler, I. N., MacKinnon, D. P., & Wolchik, S. A. (2004). How did it work? Who did it work for? Mediation in the context of a moderated prevention effect for children of divorce. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(4), 617–624. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.72.4.617

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 157

Population:

  • Age — Adults: Mean=37.3 years; Children: Mean=10.4 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Adults: 88% Caucasian, 8% Hispanic, 2% African American, 1% Asian, and 1% Other; Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Adults: 100% Female; Children: Not specified
  • Status — Participants were individuals who have recently been divorced or separated and their children.

Location/Institution: Arizona

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilized subset of participants from Wolchik et al. (2000). This study presents a reanalysis of data from the New Beginnings Program (NBP) [now called New Beginnings Program for Separated and Divorced Families (NBP)] to test mediation of program effects. Families were randomly assigned to NBP or a self-study, guided-reading control condition program. Measures utilized included the Child Report of Parenting Behavior Inventory (CRPBI), the Parent-Adolescent Communication Scale, the Divorce Adjustment Project Hostility Scale, the Teacher–Child Rating Scale, the Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale–Revised, and the Child Depression Inventory. Results indicate that NBP program effects to reduce posttest internalizing problems were mediated through improvement in mother–child relationship quality. NBP program effects to reduce externalizing problems at posttest and 6 months were mediated through improvement in posttest parental methods of discipline and mother–child relationship quality. The study also describes a new methodology to test mediation of Program X Baseline Status interactions. Results also demonstrate mediation effects primarily for children who began the program with poorer scores on discipline, mother– child relationship quality, and externalizing problems. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, inclusion of only mothers, under representation of ethnic minorities, and length of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 and 6 months.

Zhou, Q., Sandler, I. N., Millsap, R. E., Wolchik, S. A., & Dawson-McClure, S. R. (2008). Mother-child relationship quality and effective discipline as mediators of the 6-year effects of the New Beginnings Program for children from divorced families. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(4), 579–594. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.76.4.579

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 218

Population:

  • Age — Adults: Mean=37.3 years; Children: Mean=10.4 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Adults: 88% Caucasian, 8% Hispanic, 2% African American, 1% Asian, and 1% Other; Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Adults: 100% Female; Children: Not specified
  • Status — Participants were individuals who have recently been divorced or separated and their children.

Location/Institution: Arizona

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilized sample population from Wolchik et al. (2000). This study evaluated whether the long-term effects of two preventive interventions for children from divorced families were moderated by baseline levels of risk. Families were randomly assigned to one of three intervention conditions: New Beginnings Program (NBP) [now called New Beginnings Program for Separated and Divorced Families (NBP)], dual-component custodial mother and child program (“combined program”), or literature control condition (“control group”). Measures utilized included the Children’s Report of Parenting Behavior Inventory, the Parent-Adolescent Communication Scale, the Children’s Report of Parenting Behavior Inventory, the Oregon Discipline Scale, the Child Behavior Checklist, the 27-item Divorce Adjustment Project Externalizing Scale, the Children’s Depression Inventory, the Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale—Revised, the Diagnostic Interview Schedule, the Monitoring the Future Scale, and the Coatsworth Competence Scale. Results indicated that program-induced improvement in maternal effective discipline at posttest mediated the NBP intervention effect on adolescents’ GPA at the 6-year follow-up. Moreover, program-induced improvement in mother–child relationship quality mediated the NBP intervention effect on adolescents’ mental health problems for those with high baseline risk for maladjustment. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, that the generalizability of the findings to culturally and socioeconomically diverse families is unknown, inclusion of only mothers, and small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6 years.

Bonds McClain, D., Wolchik, S. A., Winslow, E. B., Tein, J.-Y., Sandler, I. N., & Millsap, R. E. (2010). Developmental cascade effects of the New Beginnings Program on adolescent adaptation outcomes. Development and Psychopathology, 22(4), 771–784. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579410000453

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 240

Population:

  • Age — Adults: Mean=37.3 years; Children: Mean=10.4 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Adults: 88% Caucasian, 8% Hispanic, 2% African American, 1% Asian, and 1% Other; Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Adults: 100% Female; Children: Not specified
  • Status — Participants were individuals who have recently been divorced or separated and their children.

Location/Institution: Arizona

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilized sample population from Wolchik et al. (2002). This article tested alternative cascading pathways by which the New Beginnings Program (NBP) [now called New Beginnings Program for Separated and Divorced Families (NBP)] decreased symptoms of internalizing disorders, symptoms of externalizing disorders, substance use, and risky sexual behavior, and increased self-esteem and academic performance in mid-to-late adolescence (15–19 years old). Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) NBP, a mother-only group-format program (MP), (b) a dual-component mother program plus child program (MPCP), or (c) a literature control condition. Measures utilized included the Child Report of Parenting Behavior Inventory (CRPBI), the Parent-Adolescent Communication Scale, the Family Routines Inventory, the Oregon Discipline Scale, the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), the Youth Self Report (YSR), the Child Depression Inventory (CDI), the Revised Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS) Sexual Behavior Inventory, the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (DISC), the Monitoring the Future Scale (MTF), the Sexual Behavior Inventory, the Self Perception Profile for Children (SPPC) and archival data from school records. Results support a cascading model of program effects in which the program was related to increased mother-child relationship quality, which was related to subsequent decreases in child internalizing problems, which then was related to subsequent increases in self-esteem and decreases in symptoms of internalizing disorders in adolescence. The results also were consistent with a model in which the program was related to increased maternal effective discipline, which was related to subsequent decreases in child externalizing problems, which then was related to subsequent decreases in symptoms of externalizing disorders, less substance use and better academic performance in adolescence. There were no significant differences in the model based on level of baseline risk or adolescent gender. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, not having a measure of academic achievement at T3 & T4, lack of ethnic diversity, inclusion of only mothers, and the small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months, 6 months, and 6 years.

Soper, A. C., Wolchik, S. A., Tein, J.-Y., & Sandler, I. N. (2010). Mediation of a preventive intervention’s 6-year effects on health risk behaviors. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 24(2), 300–310. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0019014

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 240

Population:

  • Age — Adults: Mean=37.3 years; Children: Mean=10.4 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Adults: 88% Caucasian, 8% Hispanic, 2% African American, 1% Asian, and 1% Other; Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Adults: 100% Female; Children: Not specified
  • Status — Participants were individuals who have recently been divorced or separated and their children.

Location/Institution: Arizona

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilized sample population from Wolchik et al. (2002). This study tested mechanisms by which the New Beginnings Program (NBP) [now called New Beginnings Program for Separated and Divorced Families (NBP)] reduced substance use and risky sexual behavior in mid-to-late adolescence (15–19 years old). Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) NBP, a mother-only group-format program (MP), (b) a dual-component mother program plus child program (MPCP), or (c) a literature control condition. Measures utilized included the Negative Life Events Scale – Child (NLES-C), the What I Felt Scale (WIFS), the Children’s Coping Strategies Checklist, the Child Monitoring Scale (ACMS), the Parent – Adolescent Communication Scale (PACS), the Monitoring the Future Scale (MTF), and the Sexual Behavior Inventory. Results indicate that parental monitoring at 6-year follow-up mediated program effects to reduce alcohol and marijuana use, polydrug use, and other drug use for those with high pretest risk for maladjustment. In the condition that included a program for mothers only, increases in youth adaptive coping at 6-year follow-up mediated program effects on risky sexual behavior for those with high pretest risk for maladjustment. Contrary to expectation, program participation increased negative errors and decreased adaptive coping among low risk youth in some of the analyses. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, was a lack of ethnic diversity, inclusion of only mothers, narrow assessment of risky sexual behaviors and the small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months, 6 months, and 6 years

Velez, C., Wolchik, S. A., Tein, J.-Y., & Sandler, I. S. (2011). Protecting children from the consequences of divorce: A longitudinal study of the effects of parenting on children’s coping efforts and coping efficacy. Child Development, 82(1), 244–257. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01553.x

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 240

Population:

  • Age — Adults: Mean=37.3 years; Children: 9–12 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Adults: 88% Caucasian, 8% Hispanic, 2% African American, 1% Asian, and 1% Other; Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Adults: 100% Female; Children: Not specified
  • Status — Participants were individuals who have recently been divorced or separated and their children.

Location/Institution: Arizona

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilized sample population from Wolchik et al. (2002). This study examined whether changes in the mother-child relationship quality and discipline that were induced by the mother-only group intervention [now called New Beginnings Program for Separated and Divorced Families (NBP)] led to short-term (6 months) and long-term (6 years) changes in children's coping processes in a sample of 240 youth aged 9-12 years when assessed initially. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) a mother-only group-format program (MP), (b) a dual-component mother program plus child program (MPCP), or (c) a literature control condition. Measures utilized included the Child Report of Parenting Behavior Inventory (CRPBI), the Parent-Adolescent Communication Scale, the Family Routines Inventory, the Oregon Discipline Scale, the Children's Coping Strategies Checklist—Revised (CCSC-R), and the Coping Efficacy Scale. Results indicate that MP-induced improvements in relationship quality led to increases in coping efficacy at 6 months and to increases in coping efficacy and active coping at 6 years. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, the sample consisted of youth in divorced families, youth in this study were preadolescents to early adolescents at pretest, a lack of ethnic diversity, and the small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months, 6 months, and 6 years.

Wolchik, S. A., Sandler, I. N., Tein, J.-Y., Mahrer, N. E., Millsap, R. E., Winslow, E., Velez, C., Porter, M. M., Luecken, L. J., & Reed, A. (2013). Fifteen-year follow-up of a randomized trial of preventive intervention for divorced families: Effects on mental health and substance use outcomes in young adulthood. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81(4), 660–673. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0033235

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 240

Population:

  • Age — Adults: Mean=37.3 years; Children: 24–28 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Adults: 90% Caucasian, 6% Hispanic, and 4% Other; Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Adults: 100% Female; Children: Not specified
  • Status — Participants were individuals who have been divorced or separated and their children.

Location/Institution: Arizona

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilized sample population from Wolchik et al. (2002). This 15-year follow-up assessed the effects of the New Beginnings Program (NBP) [now called New Beginnings Program for Separated and Divorced Families (NBP)] versus a literature control condition (LC). Participants were randomly assigned to either NBP versus a literature control condition (LC). Measures utilized included the Diagnostic Interview Schedule IV (DIS), the Adult Self Report (ASR), the Adult Behavior Checklist (ABCL), the Monitoring the Future Scale (MTF), the Quantity and Frequency of Alcohol and Drugs Scale, and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Results indicate that Young Adults (YAs) in NBP had a lower incidence of internalizing disorders in the past nine and 15 years and a slower rate of onset of internalizing symptoms associated with disorder in the past nine and 15 years. NBP males had a lower number of substance-related disorders in the past nine years, less polydrug and other drug use in the past year and fewer substance use problems in the past six months than LC males. NBP females used more alcohol in the past month than LC females. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, that the sample was primarily Non-Hispanic White, inclusion of only mothers in the program, and the small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 9 and 15 years.

Wolchik, S. A., Tein, J-Y., Sandler, I. N., & Kim, H-J. (2016). Developmental cascade models of a parenting-focused program for divorced families on mental health problems and substance use in emerging adulthood. Development and Psychopathology, 28(3), 869–888. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579416000365

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 240

Population:

  • Age — Adults: Mean=37.3 years; Children: 9–12 years (Mean=10.3 years) at T1 and 24–28 years (Mean=25.6 years) at T4
  • Race/Ethnicity — Adults: 90% Caucasian, 6% Hispanic, and 4% Other; Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Adults: 100% Female; Children: Not specified
  • Status — Participants were individuals who have been divorced or separated and their children.

Location/Institution: Arizona

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilized sample population from Wolchik et al. (2002). This study discusses how a developmental cascade model from functioning in adolescence to emerging adulthood was tested using data from a 15-year longitudinal follow-up of 240 emerging adults whose families participated in a randomized, experimental trial of a preventive program for divorced families [now called New Beginnings Program for Separated and Divorced Families (NBP)]. Data were collected from 240 mothers (G1) and offspring (G2) at ages 9–12 and again in adolescence and young adulthood. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) NBP, a mother-only group-format program (MP), (b) a dual-component mother program plus child program (MPCP), or (c) a literature control condition. Measures utilized included the Child Report of Parenting Behavior Inventory (CRPBI), the Parent-Adolescent Communication Scale, the Family Routines Inventory, the Oregon Discipline Scale, the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), the Oregon Discipline Scale, the Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS), the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children, the Monitoring the Future Scale, the Self Perception Profile for Children (SPPC), the Children’s Coping Strategies Checklist–Revised, the Adult Self Report (ASR), and the Adult Behavior Checklist (ABCL). Results indicate support for a cascade effects model. Specifically, academic competence in adolescence had spillover effects on internalizing problems and externalizing problems in emerging adulthood. Also, adaptive coping in adolescence was significantly, negatively related to binge drinking. Unexpectedly, internalizing symptoms in adolescence were significantly negatively related to marijuana use and alcohol use. Gender differences occurred in the links between mental health and substance use outcomes in adolescence and mental health and substance use outcomes in emerging adulthood. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, only two dimensions of G1 parenting (warmth and harsh discipline) were considered, youth in this study were between 9 and 12 years old at program entry and research that includes much younger children is needed to understand the processes that may explain the intergenerational transmission of harsh discipline, the lack of diversity due to ethnicity and inclusion of only mothers in the program, and those who participated in the 15-year follow-up assessment had significantly higher internalizing problems and lower self-esteem those who did not participate.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months, 6 years, and 15 years.

Additional References

Weiss, L., & Wolchik, S. A. (1998). New Beginnings: An empirically based intervention program for divorced mothers to help their children adjust to divorce. In C. Schaefer & J. Breismeister (Eds.), Handbook of parent training: Parents as co-therapists for children’s behavior problems (pp. 445-478). John Wiley & Sons.

Contact Information

Michele M. Porter
Title: PhD
Agency/Affiliation: Family Transitions – Programs that Work
Website: www.familytransitions-ptw.com
Email:
Phone: (480) 203-7550

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2020

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: September 2020

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: October 2020