Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health

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Evaluation of a school-based intervention programme for South African children of divorce

Cornelius J Botha, Lauren G Wild


Objective: Parental divorce affects approximately 30 000 South African children annually. This pilot study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the Children of Divorce Intervention Programme (CODIP) at two South African schools. CODIP is a preventively oriented group programme which was developed to foster resilience by helping children cope more effectively with possible academic, behavioural, and emotional problems brought about by their parents’ divorce.
Method: Twenty-five 10- to 14-year-old boys from two primary schools were randomly assigned to 2 experimental groups and 1 delayed intervention control group. The experimental groups attended 12 one-hour weekly sessions; the control group received no intervention until after the study was completed. Children’s understanding of divorce related events and social, emotional and behavioural adjustment was assessed one week before the intervention and three months thereafter using a battery of self-rated, teacher-rated and parent-rated questionnaires.
Results: One-way ANOVAs indicated no statistically significant decline in children’s self-reported problematic beliefs about divorce or total difficulties. However, teachers’ and parents’ ratings indicated that compared to the control group, the combined experimental groups showed significant improvement in their general behavioural, emotional and social adjustment after programme participation.
Conclusions: The results suggest that South African children who experience parental divorce may benefit from participation in CODIP.

Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health 2013, 25(1): 81–91
AJOL African Journals Online