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Co-parenting programs: A systematic review and meta-analysis

APA Citation:

Nunes, C. E., de Rotten, Y., Ghaziri, N. E., Favez, N., & Dawiche, J. (2020). Co-parenting programs: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Family Relations. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/fare.12438.

Abstract Created by REACH:

Co-parenting refers to the relationship interactions that occur between adult caregivers (regardless of romantic involvement status) concerning their children. Positive co-parenting practices (e.g., support, communication) are associated with healthy adult outcomes (e.g., marital satisfaction, reduced parenting stress) and child outcomes (e.g., positive psychological adjustment). Various programs have been developed to improve co-parenting relationship quality and promote positive outcomes for family members. These programs use various strategies to improve co-parenting relationship quality, including psychoeducation, skills training, co-parenting plan development, group discussions, and therapeutic work. These strategies are often provided to co-parents in various contexts, including at-risk families (e.g., domestic violence, adolescent motherhood), first-time parents, separated or divorced couples, or co-parents in the general community. Using a sample of 16 empirical studies that examined the impact of co-parenting relationship intervention programs, this study examined the effectiveness of such programs on family outcomes (e.g., child adjustment, parentchild relationship, parental romantic relationship). Additionally, this article provided a systematic review (i.e., described common components) of the reviewed programs (n = 25). Findings suggest that, overall, co-parenting programs appear to be mildly effective for improving co-parenting and romantic relationships.



Subject Affiliation:



Adolescence (13 - 17 yrs)
Adulthood (18 yrs & older)


Cross-Sectional Study
Quantitative Study
Review of Literature
Meta Analysis


Nunes, Cindy Eira, Roten, Yves de, Ghaziri, Nahema El, Favez, Nicolas, Darwiche, Joëlle


Objective This article aims to provide an overview of the efficacy of co-parenting programs on outcomes related to child's adjustment, parents' well-being, and quality of the co-parenting, romantic, and parent–child relationships. Background Numerous co-parenting programs have been developed, supported by empirical findings associating quality of co-parenting to the overall family well-being. However, to our knowledge, the efficacy of those programs has not yet been assessed. Method This article included 38 articles corresponding to 27 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) presenting 23 programs. We conducted a meta-analysis to estimate the efficacy of co-parenting programs and a review of programs to identify the ingredients of co-parenting programs that may contribute to this efficacy. Results Results support a small but significant effect of co-parenting programs on outcomes related to parents' well-being and the quality of co-parenting and romantic relationships. Conclusion Finally, despite the heterogeneity of the programs, some commonalities are identified, such as the use of psychoeducation and skills training. Implications Our work supports the added value of co-parenting programs for both vulnerable families and families with no apparent major difficulties. Future directions in terms of study and program designs are proposed to promote high-quality research in this field.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

John Wiley & Sons

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

University of Lausanne, CEN
University of Lausanne, YDR
University of Lausanne, NEG
University of Geneva, NF
University of Lausanne, JD


co-parenting, efficacy, family, intervention, meta-analysis, systematic review

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REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary


This investigation has been supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Fund: SNF 159437). [Correction added on June 26, 2020 after first online publication: Funding information included in the proof.]

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