Benefits of court-sponsored divorce mediation: A study of outcomes and influences on success


  • Christopher W. Camplair,

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    • Christopher W. Camplair is a psychology resident and coordinator of the Child Evaluation Clinic in the Child and Family Program at the Tualatin Valley Mental Health Center, Portland; Oregon. His research and clinical interests focus on family therapy and environmental influences on family functioning.

  • Arnold L. Stolberg

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    • Arnold L. Stolberg is associate professor of psychology and director of the Program for Family Studies at the Virginia Commonwealth University. His research focuses on the prevention of psychopathology in divorcing families, with particular emphasis on school and social systems-based intervention strategies.


Each of seventy-six divorcing couples and individuals was assigned by court intake officers to either mediation or litigation interventions to resolve child-related disputes. No formal decision-making procedure was used for group assignment. Measures assessing initial dyadic, co-parenting, and family functioning, and dispute characteristics were completed by all subjects before intervention and by mediating couples after intervention. No differences in initial functioning of the two groups were found, but mediating couples presented more disputes and more noneconomic issues. Most mediating couples (69 percent) resolved one or more disputes. Following mediation, women and mediators reported more positive changes than did men. Success in mediation may be linked to the content and importance of the disputes and to the willingness to compromise.