Program

Mar 16, 2007

OVERVIEW

The Children of Divorce Intervention Program (CODIP) is a
school-based program designed to work with fourth, fifth, and sixth grade
children of divorce. The program works with children in groups to provide a
forum for children to share their experiences and teach skills to cope with
divorce, through skits and role-plays, films, and group discussions. The
goal of the sessions was to decrease the children’s common feelings of
seclusion, stigma, and being different. The results indicate that the
experimental group improved greatly on the teacher ratings of problem behavior
and social competence, and the parent ratings of adjustment and self-reported
anxiety. The only outcome without notable improvement for the experimental
group was the children’s perceived competence and self-esteem.

DESCRIPTION OF
PROGRAM

Target population: Fourth,
fifth, and sixth grade children of divorce

The
Children of Divorce Intervention Program (CODIP) is a school-based program
designed to provide a forum where children can share their divorce-related
feelings, clarify common misconceptions of their experience, reduce their feelings
of isolation and build competence. The program teaches children problem
solving skills, communication, and anger control skills.

The
program runs for 10 weeks and includes three major blocks. The first three
sessions focus on building support for children. The sessions address
children’s common misconceptions about divorce and encourage children to
talk about their divorce related anxieties. The sessions use skits and
role-plays to help children express feelings. The next three sessions work on
building children’s cognitive skills. The children are taught how to
resolve interpersonal conflict and discuss problem resolutions with other
children in the group. The program teaches children how to distinguish between
problems that are within their control and problems they have no control over.
Sessions 7-9 focus on anger control. The children are taught how to identify
and deal with anger appropriately. The final session of the CODIP program
focuses on ending and continuing friendships and support after the program is
over.

EVALUATION (S) OF
PROGRAM

Pedro-Carroll, J.L.
& Cowen, E.L. (1985). The Children of Divorce Intervention Program: An
investigation of the efficacy of a school-based prevention program. Journal
of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 53
(5), 603-611.

Evaluated
population: 
The sample consisted of 75 students in fourth through sixth
grade at four suburban schools. Children were eligible for participation if
their parents were separated. In total, 42 boys and 33 girls were in the study
and the sample was all white and middle class. Parents had been separated an
average of 23.6 months.

Approach: Participants
were randomly assigned to either an experimental or control group. In
total, 41 students were assigned to the experimental group and 34 students were
assigned to the control group. Data were collected from the sample at
pre-test approximately 1 week before the program and at post-test two weeks
after the program ended. Data collection occurred in small group settings
(approximately 8-9 children per group). Measures consisted of the Classroom
Adjustment Rating Scale to measure children’s problem behaviors and the
Health Resources Inventory to measure child competence behaviors. Children’s
school performance was assessed using the Parent Evaluation Form and the Group
Leader Evaluation Form was used to gauge how group leaders felt about the
children. Harter’s Perceived Competence Scale was used to measure
cognitive, social, and physical competence and self-esteem and the State-Trait
Anxiety Inventory for Children was used to measure child anxiety. Children’s
divorce-related attitudes were assessed using the Children’s Attitudes and
Self-Perceptions scale and children’s feelings about the group experience
were measured using the Comments About Groups measure.

Results: Children in the program experienced greater adjustment gains than children
in the control group. Teachers rated program participants to have significant
reductions in learning problems as well as having an improved outlook on life
and fewer shy/anxious feelings. The program participants also experienced a
significant reduction in problem areas such as feelings of self-blame about
divorce and increased competence in their ability to solve personal problems.
The only outcome that did not show improvement was a measure of the children’s
perceived competence and self-esteem. The conclusion is that the 10-week
intervention is influential on divorce-related issues, but not as strong on the
issues of perceived competence and self-esteem.

SOURCES FOR MORE
INFORMATION

Link to program curriculum: 

http://www.childrensinstitute.net/programs/codip

References

Pedro-Carroll,
J.L. & Cowen, E.L. (1985). The Children of Divorce Intervention Program: An
investigation of the efficacy of a school-based prevention program. Journal
of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 53
(5), 603-611.

KEYWORDS: Adolescents, Children, Co-ed, Suburban, Elementary, Middle School, School-Based, Aggression, Anxiety Disorders/Symptoms, Manual Is Available, Depression/Mood Disorders, Self-Esteem/Self-Concept, Skills Training, Life Skills/Social Skills

Program
information last updated 3/16/07

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