Evidence-Based Programs

New Beginnings Program

The New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Families (NBP) is a 10-session program designed to promote effective parenting following family separation or divorce. The program teaches skills that help parents build positive and warm relationships, use open communication with children, employ effective discipline, and keep children out of the middle of conflict between their parents. The program focuses on effective parenting because research has shown that effective parenting by both mothers and fathers is one of the most powerful resources for helping children adjust positively to parental divorce or separation.

Evidence for New Beginnings Program

The NBP has been rigorously evaluated in three randomized experimental trials. These trials demonstrated that it improved parenting and reduced children’s mental health problems. One of the trials included a follow-up assessment six years and 15 years after the families participated, when the offspring were 15 to 18 years old and 24 to 28 years old. The results showed positive program effects in adolescense. The adolescents in the program had 37% lower rates of diagnosed mental disorder, fewer mental health problems, and used less alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. They also had higher self-esteem and better grades. Illustratively, 35% more of the adolescents whose parents were in the NBP had an A or B average in school compared to those in the control condition. Importantly, program effects to improve these outcomes occurred because of improvements in effective parenting that occurred during the program. At the 15-year follow-up, the NBP reduced the incidence of internalizing disorders, the number of sexual partners from adolescence to emerging adulthood and time spent in jail. For males, the NBP also reduced the number of substance use disorders from adolescence to emerging adulthood, current polydrug and other drug use, and recent substance use problems. Cost savings analysis showed that the NBP led to an average savings in the one year preceding the 15-year follow-up of $1,630 per family. The NBP is considered a model program by Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development.

For more information about licensing and training, please see familytransitions-ptw.com and blueprintsprograms.org/.

Grants

NICHD Grant R01HD094334. Parenting-after-divorce program: 26 years follow-up of adult children and their families.

Principal Investigator: Wolchik, S.; Co-Investigators: Luecken, L., Winslow, E., Tein, Y-T., Sandler, I.N & Eisenberg, N. 2017-2022.

NIDA Grant R01 DAO26874-01A1. Multi-court trial of NBP to prevent substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Principal Investigator: Sandler, I.; Co-Investigators: Wolchik, S., Tein, J.Y., Winslow, E., Gonzales, N. & Berkel, C. 2011-2016.

NIMH Grant R01 MH071707. Effects of NBP for Children of Divorce 15 Years Later.

Principal Investigator: Wolchik, S.; Co-Principal Investigator Sandler, I 2006-2009.

NIMH Grant 1R01 MH057012-01A1. Children of divorce: 6-year follow-up of preventive efforts.

Principal Investigator: Wolchik S.; Co-Principal Investigators: Sandler, I., West, S. & Anderson, E. 1998 - 2001.

NIMH Grant RO3 MH38474. Impact of significant divorce events on children, 1983.

Principal Investigators: I. Sandler, S. Wolchik & S. Braver. 1983 – 1984.

Publications in last five years

  • Mahrer, N.E., Winslow, E., Wolchik, S.A., Tein, J-Y., & Sandler, I.N. (2014). Effects of a preventive parenting intervention for divorced families on the intergenerational transmission of parenting attitudes in young adult offspring. Child Development, 85, 2091-2015
  • **Modecki, K. L.,* Hagan, M., Sandler, I, & Wolchik, S. (2014). Latent profiles of non-residential father engagement six years after divorce predict long term offspring outcomes. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 1, 1-14.
  • *Mahrer, N.E., Winslow, E., Wolchik, S.A., Tein, J-Y., & Sandler, I.N. (2014). Effects of a preventive parenting intervention for divorced families on the intergenerational transmission of parenting attitudes in young adult offspring. Child Development, 85, 2091-2015.
  • *Mahrer, N. E., Luecken, L.J., Wolchik, S. A., & Tein, J. (2014). Exposure to Maternal Depressive Symptoms in Childhood and Cortisol Activity in Young Adulthood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 38, 570-576.
  • Zhou, Q., *Chen, S.H., Cookston, J.T. & Wolchik, S. A. (2014). Evaluating the cultural fit of the New Beginnings Parent Program for divorced Asian American mothers: A pilot study. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 5, 126-133
  • Herman, P., *Mahrer, N. E., Wolchik, S. A., Porter, M. M., Jones, S., & Sandler, I. N. (2015). Cost-benefit of a preventive intervention for divorced families: Reduction in mental health and justice system service use costs 15 years later. Prevention Science,16, 586-608.
  • Luecken, L., *Hagan, M., *Mahrer, N., Wolchik, S.A., Sandler, I.N., Tein, J-Y (2015). Effects of a prevention program for divorced families on youth cortisol reactivity 15 years later. Psychology and Health, 30, 751-769.
  • **Modecki, K. L., Hagan, M. J., Sandler, I., & Wolchik, S. A. (2015). Latent profiles of nonresidential father engagement six years after divorce predict long-term offspring outcomes. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 44(1), 123-136.
  • *Carr, C. M., & Wolchik, S. A. (2015). Effect of marital status and divorce on development. In J. Wright (Ed.) International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd Edition. Elsevier
  • Wolchik, S.A., *Mahrer, N. E., Tein, J-Y., & Sandler, I.N. (2015). Interventions for youths in divorced or separated families. In Maric, M., Prins, P. , & Ollendick, T. (Eds.) Mediators and Moderators of Youth Treatment Outcomes. (pp. 267-292). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • **Elam, K., Sandler, I.N., Tein, J-Y. & Wolchik, S.A. (2016). Non-residential father-child involvement, interparental conflict and mental health of children following divorce: A person-focused approach Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45, 581-593.
  • *Hagan, M.J., Luecken, L.J., Modecki, K.L. Sandler, I.N., & Wolchik, S.A. (2016). Childhood negative emotionality predicts biobehavioral dysregulation 15 years later. Emotion, 16, 877-885.
  • Luecken, L.J., *Hagan, M.J., Wolchik, S.A., Sandler, I.N., Tein, J-Y. (2016). A longitudinal study of the effects of child-reported maternal warmth on cortisol stress response 15 years after parental divorce. Psychosomatic Medicine, 78,163-170.
  • Wolchik, S.A., Tein, J-Y., Sandler, I.N. & *Kim, H-J. (2016). Developmental cascade models of a parenting-focused program for divorced families on mental health problems and substance use in emerging adulthood. Development and Psychopathology, 28, 801-818.
  • *Hagan, M. J., *Ingram, A., & Wolchik, S. (2016). Evidence-based Interventions for childhood grief. in children and Adolescents. In L.A. Theodore (Ed.). The Handbook of Evidence-Based Interventions for Children and Adolescents, (67-83). New York: Springer.
  • *Mahrer, N.E., Sandler, I.N., Wolchik, S.A., Winslow, E.B., Moran, J.A., & Weinstock, D. (2016). How do parenting time and conflict affect the relations of quality of parenting and child well-being following divorce? In Drozd, Olesen & Saini (Eds.) Parenting plan evaluations: Applied research for family court. (pp. 63-73) New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • *Mahrer, N. E. & Wolchik, S. A. (2016). Moody Child: Depressed in Context of Parental Divorce. In Galanter, C. A. & Jensen, P. S. (Eds.) DSM-5 Casebook and Treatment Guide for Child Mental Health. American Psychiatric Publishing.
  • Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., Berkel, C., Jones, S., Mauricio, A. M., Tein, J. Y., & Winslow, E. (2016). Effectiveness trial of the New Beginnings Program for Divorcing Parents: Translation from and experimental prototype to an evidence-based community service. In M. Israelashvili & J. Roman (Eds.), pp. 81-106. Cambridge Handbook of International Prevention Science: Cambridge University Press.
  • *Christopher, C., Wolchik, S.A., Tein, J-Y., *Carr, C., *Mahrer, N.E., & Sandler, I. (2017). Long-term effects of a parenting preventive intervention on young adults’ painful feelings about divorce. Journal of Family Psychology, 31, 7, 799-809.
  • *Ingram, A. & Wolchik, S.A. (2017). Divorce, psychological effects of parental divorce on children. In A.E. Wenzel (Ed.). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal and Clinical Psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Mauricio, A. M., *Mazza, G. L., Berkel, C., Tein, J. Y., Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., & Winslow, E. (2018). Attendance trajectory classes among divorced and separated mothers and fathers in the new beginnings program. Prevention Science, 19, 620–629.
  • Sandler, I. N., *Gunn, H. E., *Mazza, G., Tein, J. Y., Wolchik, S. A., Berkel, C., Jones, S., & Porter, M. M. (2018). Effects of a program to promote high quality parenting by divorced and separated fathers. Prevention Science, 19, 538-548.
  • Berkel, C., Mauricio, A., Sandler, I., Wolchik, S.A., *Gallo, C & Brown, H. (2018). Cascading effects of implementation: test of a multidimensional model. Prevention Science,19, 663-673.
  • Berkel, C., Sandler, I., Wolchik. S.A., Brown, H., *Gallo C., *Chiapa, A., Mauricio, A., & Jones, S. (2018). Home practice is the program”: Parents' practice of program skills as predictors of outcomes in the New Beginnings Program effectiveness trial. Prevention Science,19, 663-673.
  • *Mahrer, N.E., **O’Hara, K., Sandler, I. N. & Wolchik, S. A. (2018). Does shared parenting help or hurt children in high conflict divorced families? Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 59, 324-347.
  • Tein, J.-Y., *Mazza, G. L., *Gunn, H. J., Kim, H.-J., Stuart, E. A. Sandler, I., & Wolchik, S. (2018). Multi-group propensity score approach to evaluating an effectiveness trial of the New Beginnings Program. Evaluation and the Health Professions, 41, 290-320.
  • **O’Hara, K.L., Wolchik, S., & Sandler, I. (2019). Divorce: Recommendations for the Home. In K. Minke & G. Bear (Eds.), Helping Children Handouts: Prevention and Intervention Strategies for Common Concerns at School and Home. National Association of School Psychologists.
  • **O’Hara, K.L., Wolchik, S., & Sandler, I. (2019). Divorce: Recommendations for the School. In K. Minke & G. Bear (Eds.), Helping Children Handouts: Prevention and Intervention Strategies for Common Concerns at School and Home. National Association of School Psychologists.
  • *Carr, C.M., Wolchik, S.A., Tein, J.-Y., & Sandler, I. (2019). Mother-adolescent and father-adolescent relationship: Relations with emerging adult’s romantic attachment. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 60,194-210.
  • *Mahrer, N., * Holly, L., Luecken, L.J., Wolchik, S.A., & Fabricius, W. (2019). Parenting style, familism, and youth adjustment in Mexican-American and European-American families. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 50, 659-675.
  • Hagan, M., Sandler, I., Modecki, K., Luecken, L., *Moctezuma, L., & Wolchik, S. (2019). Binge drinking in adolescence predicts an atypical cortisol stress response in young adulthood. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 100, 137-144.
  • Wolchik, S.A., Christopher, C., Tein, J-Y., *Rhodes, C. & Sandler, I.N. (2019). Long-term effect of a parenting preventive intervention on young adults’ attitudes toward divorce and marriage. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 60, 137-300.
  • Sandler, N., Wolchik, S.A., *Mazza, G., *Gunn, H., Tein, J-Y., Berkel, C., Jones, S. & Porter, M. (2019). Randomized effectiveness trial of the New Beginnings Program for divorced families with children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 1-19.
  • **Elam, K.K., Sandler, I. Wolchik, S. Tein, J-Y, & Rogers, A. (in press). Latent profile analysis of parenting time, conflict, and parenting following divorce: Associations with children’s adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology.
  • **O’Hara, K. L., Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., & Tein, J-Y. (in press). Coping in context: The long-term relations between interparental conflict and coping on the development of child psychopathology following parental divorce. Development and Psychopathology.
  • ** O’Hara, K. L., Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., Tein, J-Y., *Rhodes, C. A. (in press). Parenting time, parenting quality, interparental conflict, and mental health problems of children in high-conflict divorce. Journal of Family Psychology.
  • *Graduate student author ** Post-doctoral student author