Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Jeffrey K. Messing.


Court-mandated parent education for divorcing parents with children has become a standard practice in recent years. The West Virginia State Legislature voted to mandate parent education programs in all of West Virginia effective January, 2000. Research suggests parental conflict is a major factor contributing to adjustment difficulties reported by children. Generally, parent education programs for divorcing couples with children focus on adjustment issues for parents and children as they navigate a demanding period of family change. A literature review of current parent education programs in the United States revealed programs differ in teaching methods used and curriculum. It is reported in the literature that parent education programs are effective in assisting parents in their adjustment. However, there is a need for comparative analysis of programs to assist in clarifying the issues and factors that may contribute to program efficacy. Current programs in West Virginia vary in levels of instructor/participant interaction. Therefore, a comparative evaluation of five regional programs currently running in West Virginia was conducted. Parents were surveyed immediately before, immediately after, and three months after their parent education class. A comparative analysis measuring parent learning, children's exposure to conflict, and satisfaction was conducted to assess differences in program effectiveness across programs. Results indicated that programs with greater levels of interaction between instructor and participants were more effective.