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Evidenced Based Essay

8475 words - 34 pages

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Evidence-Based Counseling Interventions With Children of Divorce:
Implications for Elementary School Counselors
Marianne E. Connolly
Johns Hopkins University
Eric J. Green
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Evidence-Based Counseling

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Abstract
Parental divorce has become increasingly common for large numbers of families in
schools (Lamden, King, & Goldman, 2002). This article addresses the effects of divorce
on children and protective factors supporting their adjustment. Evidence-based
interventions for children of divorce in elementary school counseling programs are
discussed. School-based consultation, the Children of Divorce Intervention Program,
and ...view middle of the document...

Amato and Keith (1991) and Amato (2001) published meta-analyses of studies
comparing the well-being of children of divorce with that of children of parents who were
married to each other. Results from both studies indicated that children from divorced
families scored significantly lower on a variety of outcomes: (a) academic achievement,
(b) conduct, (c) psychological adjustment, and (d) well-being. Research shows that
serious problems related to the effects of divorce can persist into adulthood.
Researchers have found a 39% increase in the incidences of mental health problems in
children of divorce as compared to their peers from two-parent families at age 23
(Chase-Lansdale, Cherlin, & Kiernan, 1995) and an 85% increase at age 33 (Rodgers,
Power, & Hope, 1997). Although children of divorce are at greater risk for adjustment

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difficulties, a number of mediating factors shape the variation in children’s responses to
divorce and how they cope (Greene, Anderson, Doyle, & Riedelbach, 2006; PedroCarroll, 2005).
Given the high prevalence of divorce and its potentially negative effects, the
utilization of effective prevention programs has great significance (Wolchik et al., 2000).
Prevention researchers have shown that interventions can improve children’s
postdivorce resilience indicated by improved outcomes following the stress of parental
divorce (Pedro-Carroll & Cowen, 1985; Stolberg & Mahler, 1994; Wolchik et al.). School
counselors are challenged to utilize evidence-based preventative interventions designed
to reduce risk factors, build competencies, and promote resilient outcomes for children
of divorce (Pedro-Carroll, Sutton, & Wyman, 1999). School counselors confirmed the
importance of the issue of divorce in a study investigating their perceptions of high
interest research topics. Approximately 74% of the participants in the study rated
divorce and family issues as a very important and relevant research issue (Bauman et
al., 2002.).
The purpose of this literature review is to summarize central areas of relevant
empirical literature on the topic of children of divorce with implications specifically for
elementary school counselors. Children’s adjustment to divorce, evidence-based school
counseling programs, and empirically-based interventions with children of divorce are
discussed. When evaluating literature on the protective factors that build resilience,
school counselors should be informed about children’s adjustment during or after a
divorce and link these findings to selecting empirically-based interventions. School
counselors need to be aware of the effects of divorce on children, the mediating factors

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that help children adjust, and recognize the importance of utilizing evidence-based
interventions. We propose that the findings from the current literature can facilitate
school counselors’ decision-making abilities to address all...

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