Child Informed Mediation Study (CIMS): Incorporating the children's perspective into divorce mediation in an American pilot study


Children experiencing parental separation may benefit from forms of mediation that systematically help parents consider the needs and best interests of their children. Child Focused (CF) and Child Inclusive (CI) mediation approaches were designed to meet this need and thus may offer effective means to improve the impact of mediation on families.

An initial study in Australia provided evidence of the positive effects of CF and CI and favored CI over CF (McIntosh et al., 2008). We designed the Child Informed Mediation Study (CIMS) to further test CF and CI mediation. The CIMS is being conducted in a different location (the United States), uses random assignment of cases to type of mediation, and compares both CF and CI to divorce mediation as usual (MAU).

For methodological and practical reasons, CIMS differs from the McIntosh et al. study in other ways (eg, using student mediators and child consultants; including a child consultant and mediator in both CF and CI). A pilot CIMS study is currently underway. No data are yet available, but we present some initial impressions regarding how the study is proceeding, problems encountered, and lessons learned.


Amy Holtzworth-Munroe
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, United States of America

Amy Applegate
Maurer School of Law, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, United States of America

Brian D'Onofrio
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, United States of America

John Bates
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, United States of America


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child inclusive mediation; child focused mediation; children's interests; divorce mediation; child inclusive (CI); family law; student mediators and child consultants; interdisciplinary training; intervention efficacy study; empirically supported inventions; empirically validated interventions


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