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The efficacy of postdivorce intervention programs for children: A meta-analytical review

APA Citation:

Herrero, M., Roca, P., Cormenzana, S., & Martinez-Pampliega, A. (2023). The efficacy of postdivorce intervention programs for children: A meta-analytical review. Family Process, 62(1), 74-93. https://doi.org/10.1111/famp.12807

Abstract Created by REACH:

This meta-analysis combined and analyzed findings from 30 empirical studies to summarize the effects of post-divorce interventions on child adjustment (e.g., mental health symptoms, self-esteem, adjustment to divorce) and family functioning. The analysis also examined study characteristics (e.g., publication date, sample size) that may have explained variability in intervention effects between studies. Overall, post-divorce interventions appear to be effective for improving children’s self-esteem and adjustment to divorce.



Subject Affiliation:



Childhood (birth - 12 yrs)
Infancy (2 - 23 mo)
Preschool age (2 -5 yrs)
School age (6 - 12 yrs)
Adolescence (13 - 17 yrs)
Adulthood (18 yrs & older)


Meta analysis


Herrero, Marta, Roca, Patricia, Cormenzana, Susana, Martínez-Pampliega, Ana


Preventive postdivorce interventions aim to help children cope with divorce and promote their adjustment. Nevertheless, questions remain regarding the concrete outcomes of these interventions and the intervention characteristics that influence them. This meta-analysis of 30 studies analyzes the efficacy of postdivorce interventions on children's symptomatology, personal resources, and adaptation to divorce. Likewise, it explores whether the intervention impacts the putative mediators from the family context and whether the characteristics of the studies themselves also influence the results. Using a data set of N = 4344 individuals, 258 effect sizes were calculated. Random effects analyses evidenced the impact of the interventions on specific variables instead of on children's global adjustment. There were no significant effects on children's mental health outcomes, and none of these effects were qualified by the moderators that were examined. Preventive postdivorce interventions had significant effects, specifically on children's divorce adjustment and self-esteem. The study of the moderators found that the interventions were generally homogeneous, and only one of the 20 moderators examined had a significant effect. Based on children's age, the interventions had an impact on family functioning only when they involved younger children, but this result should be interpreted with caution due to the small sample of studies. This meta-analysis provides evidence of the relevance of postdivorce interventions to critical variables as well as information about the role of the intervention characteristics in the effects and makes suggestions for future research on divorce interventions that encompass both practical and empirical developments.

Publication Type:

REACH Publication


children, divorce, efficacy, intervention, meta-analysis

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REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  July 2023

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