Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

Divorce 'Coping Skills' Long-Lasting

6-Year Study Shows Preventative Intervention Programs Are Effective in Children

WebMD Health News

Oct. 15, 2002 -- There used to be a name for the households of divorce: "broken homes." Maybe that's because statistics show that children of divorced parents are up to three times more likely than other kids to have mental health problems, use drugs, get arrested, drop out of school, and have unwanted pregnancies. And these patterns often persist into adulthood.

"Difficult times like divorce are certainly stressful, and they do increase the risk of bad outcomes -- for both parents and children," says Irwin Sandler, PhD, professor of psychology at Arizona State University and a director of its Prevention Research Center. "The good news is, preventative intervention programs that teach effective coping skills can be effective and make a big difference in their lives."

Until now, however, the long-term effects of such programs were unknown. But the first study to measure long-term consequences, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and conducted by Sandler and his colleagues, shows that lessons learned in such programs aren't easily forgotten. Their study appears in the Oct. 16 issue of TheJournal of the American Medication Association.

"What we did was enroll 218 divorced mothers and 218 of their children into two preventative interventions program we developed," he tells WebMD. The groups consisted of a mother program and a mother plus child program. "We saw them for 11 weeks six years ago. ... Then, six years later, we did a follow-up evaluation."

The researchers included a third group for comparison -- mothers with their children, who received books on adjustments during divorce.

The study shows that at one year of intervention, there were almost 50% fewer mental disorders than in the comparison group. Adolescents in this group also had fewer sexual partners. The study also shows that the most aggressive and hostile children benefited the most.

In the second group, adolescents developed fewer problems with marijuana, other drugs, and alcohol. These children also exhibited fewer mental health problems.

"Not only did we find the [coping] skills they learned lasted, but they actually got stronger," Sandler says.

The results are no surprise to JoAnne Pedro-Carroll, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and director of program development at its Children's Institute research center, which also conducts such intervention programs.

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
slideshow fetal development
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
What Causes Bipolar
Woman trying on dress in store
pregnant woman
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
healthtool pregnancy calendar
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy