Parenting Through Divorce: Low-Cost, Innovative Training

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2R44HD050021-02
Agency Tracking Number: HD050021
Amount: $898,810.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: PHS2007-2
Small Business Information
258 E 10TH AVE, STE B, EUGENE, OR 97401, EUGENE, OR, 97401
DUNS: 072307593
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 () -
Business Contact
Phone: (541) 343-4747
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Divorce is a serious public health problem. Over 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, generating family stressors that contribute to maladaptive child adjustment. The evidence is clear that providing parents with qua lity divorce parent education can mitigate the negative effects on children. Despite parents' key role in protecting children, many are ill-prepared for the task. Available divorce parent education programs are insufficient. Nearly 60 percent take place in one group session, leaving little opportunity for the development of lasting skills. Moreover, stressed divorcing parents face substantial barriers to attending group-based training. Most current programs do not target the variables known to buffer the ne gative effects of divorce and many are inaccessible to fathers. There is a need for accessible, skill-based theoretically sound, training for divorcing mothers and fathers. Self-instructional parenting programs offer a promising alternative for div orcing parents. They overcome barriers to attendance at parenting groups, and have shown promising effects in increasing parents' knowledge, efficacy, and skills. Little attention has been paid, however, to the potential value of low-cost, self-administere d, interactive multimedia approaches for divorcing parents. The central aim of this project is to develop and evaluate an innovative program uniquely tailored to meet the needs of mothers and fathers during the divorce transition. If the aims are achieved, the program will provide a resilience resource to bolster parental factors known to moderate the effects of risk factors on child outcomes, thus filling a significant public health need. The program will be a self-instructional, menu-driven, online curric ulum containing eight media-led lessons with engaging, realistic vignettes; exercises for self-reflection, goal-setting, and skill-building; and a managed web community for parents to share information and experiences, and access links to resources on the World Wide Web. In Phase I, we developed the first program and set up a web community room with input from divorcing mothers and fathers, the professionals who work with them, and our program consultants. We evaluated feasibility of the program by conducting a pilot study with mothers and fathers, and established the acceptability of the program with an advisory panel of professionals who specialize in the field of divorce parent education. The results of the evaluation were encouraging: parents rep orted significantly less conflict from pre to post and we found a significant increase in parents' sense of efficacy in using their newly learned skills and in their behavioral intentions to use them. Moreover, social validity data from parents and profess ionals indicate that participants found the website easy to access and navigate, the web content useful and easy to understand, and they expressed that they were able to complete tasks efficiently. We propose to expand and evaluate the program in P hase II and to conduct an experimental randomized trial of the theory-based intervention with 318 divorcing parents. PROJECT NARRATIVE Divorce is a serious public health problem. Over 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, generating family stressors that contribute to maladaptive child adjustment. This project addresses expert consensus that there is a need for accessible, theoretically sound, skill-based training for divorcing mothers and fathers.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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