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Mediation in the Context of a Moderated Prevention Effect for Children of Divorce



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Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 2004 Vol 72 No 4 617 624 Copyright 2004 by the American Psychological Association 0022 006X 04 12 00 DOI 10 1037 0022 006X 72 4 617 How Did It Work Who Did It Work for Mediation in the Context of a Moderated Prevention Effect for Children of Divorce Jenn Yun Tein Irwin N Sandler David P MacKinnon and Sharlene A Wolchik Arizona State University This study presents a reanalysis of data from an effective preventive intervention for children from divorced families S A Wolchik et al 2000 to test mediation of program effects The study involved 157 children age 9 12 years who were randomly assigned to a parenting program or a literature control condition Program effects to reduce posttest internalizing problems were mediated through improvement in mother child relationship quality Program effects to reduce externalizing problems at posttest and 6 months were mediated through improvement in posttest parental methods of discipline and mother child relationship quality The study also describes a new methodology to test mediation of Program Baseline Status interactions Analyses demonstrate mediation effects primarily for children who began the program with poorer scores on discipline mother child relationship quality and externalizing problems In this article we have two objectives First we examine mediators of the effects of the New Beginnings Program NBP a preventive intervention for divorced families that found both main effects and Program Baseline Status moderated effects to reduce children s mental health problems Wolchik et al 2000 Second because to our knowledge this is the first article in the literature to report on the analysis of mediation of preventive effects in which the program effects were moderated by baseline status rather than just by main effects Baron Kenny 1986 we discuss the methodology in length as well as the conceptual issues in testing these effects Many prevention programs are based on a theory of the



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