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Date of Award

4-16-1999

Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Don Fromme, PhD

Second Advisor

Jay C. Thomas, PhD, ABPP

Abstract

Divorce has been associated with negative effects for children. In response, courtmandated parent-education courses have evolved as a preventative effort to reduce the negative effects of divorce on children. This study examined the effectiveness of a courtmandated parent-education course being conducted in two Oregon counties at meeting child-related goals. Parents completed a questionnaire either immediately before or after attending the course. Three hundred and thirty-one parents participated in the study. A group of 54 parents-were-randomly selected for a six-month follow-up. Results found little difference between groups in pre- versus post-class comparisons. Parents in the post-class sample reported more child-related problems suggesting that the course may have sensitized parents to children's problems and/or normalized this experience. Significant differences were found between responses at the time of the class and at the six-month follow-up. Parents reported an increase in putting their children in the middle of conflict and a decrease in the parent-child relationship at six months. Implications for programmatic changes are explored, including utilizing a skill-based approach to parent education rather than an education-focused approach. Specific areas of focus include parenting skills, the co-parental relationship, and the parent-child relationship. Finally, utilizing a screening strategy to focus the intervention for the appropriate population is explored.

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