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AHRQ--Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Advancing Excellence in Health Care

Topic Suggestion Description

View Topic Suggestion Disposition (PDF) 145 kB

Date submitted: August 26, 2009

Briefly describe a specific question, or set of related questions, about a health care test or treatment that this program should consider.
For children experiencing parental divorce, what is the effectiveness of mental health assistance or other outreach for the whole family, for example Kids Turn, versus no intervention. Moreover, continued impact on children into adulthood and thier need for mental health care and costs.
Does your question include a comparison of different health care approaches? (If no, your topic will still be considered.)
If yes, explain the specific technologies, devices, drugs, or interventions you would like to see compared:
Comparative results of children receiving counseling - individual or group - or outreach support to process parental divorce versus no intervention in childhood and interview adult children of divorce to determine mental health needs and costs.
What patients or group(s) of patients does your question apply to? (Please include specific details such as age range, gender, coexisting diagnoses, and indications for therapy.)
Children impacted by divorce ranging in age from 5-10, both M and F. With or without co-occuring ADD,ADHD. No reports of abuse history. Individual or group therapy, play therapy.
Adults between ages 18-25 impacted by parental divorce between the ages of 5-10, both M and F. May have co-occuring dx. Individual therapy for approx. 12 to 24 weeks.
Are there subgroups of patients that your question might apply to? (For example, an ethnic group, stage or severity of a disease.)
Those experiencing divorce.
Describe the health-related benefits you are interested in. (For example, improvements in patient symptoms or problems from treatment or diagnosis.)
Lessen impact of divorce on all family members while reducing mental health costs in adulthood. Improving interpersonal relationships.
Describe any health-related risks, side effects, or harms that you are concerned about.
Domestic violence issues.

Appropriateness for EHC Program

Does your question include a health care drug, intervention, device, or technology available (or likely to be available) in the U.S.?
Which priority area(s) and population(s) does this topic apply to? (check all that apply)
EHC Priority Conditions (updated in 2008)
  • Depression and other mental health disorders
  • Developmental delays, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism
AHRQ Priority Populations
  • Low income groups
  • Minority groups
  • Women
  • Children
Federal Health Care Program


Describe why this topic is important.
Divorce has shown to impact every member of the family and I believe there is a strong correlation to the high mental health costs of adults due to parental divorce and inability to have healthy relationships in adulthood.
What specifically motivated you to ask this question? (For example, you are developing a clinical guideline, working with a policy with large uncertainty about the appropriate approach, costly intervention, new research you have read, items in the media you may have seen, a clinical practice dilemma you know of, etc.)
I am developing a family workbook post-divorce. I am a parent group facilitator for a workshop for families impacted by divorce - Kids Turn San Diego. I see the need for healing and the results in adults passing on the poor relationship skills. I am also an adult child of divorce and know how its impacted mental health.
Does your question represent uncertainty for clinicians and/or policy-makers? (For example, variations in clinical care, controversy in what constitutes appropriate clinical care, or a policy decision.)
If yes, please explain:
Due to other mental health dx that may increase impact of divorce there may be other variables that would weaken the results.

Potential Impact

How will an answer to your research question be used or help inform decisions for you or your group?
It will define more clearly the need to get families into a program post divorce in order to resolve trauma for all family members. It will reduce mental health cost in future for individuals. It may reduce the divorce rate and costs to the courts.
Describe the timeframe in which an answer to your question is needed.
Approximately 1-2 years for time to have results of lasting impact on children after interventions.
Describe any health disparities, inequities, or impact on vulnerable populations your question applies to.
Low income, reduce violence in home, reduce trauma for children.

Nominator Information

Other Information About You: (optional)
Please choose a description that best describes your role or perspective: (you may select more than one category if appropriate)
  • Patient/Consumer
  • Other Health Care Professional
Are you making a suggestion as an individual or on behalf of an organization?