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Divorce mediation with high-conflict cases (completed)

-An intensive process-outcome study of divorce mediation with parents in high conflicts

Photo: Stock.xchng

About the project

The project deals with divorce mediation when the parents are in high conflicts about future solutions for children. Since the data collection started in 2008, 154 couples have been followed through a mandatory mediation process. Approximately 25 % of these have been rated as a high conflict couple.


The project seeks to answer the following questions:

  1. How can the most antagonistic conflicts be described, and what seems to nurture the immobility between the parties.

  2. How can interventions be described that seem to improve the cooperation and reduce the probability for conflicts to continue, and is it possible to identify interventions that work in the opposite direction.

  3. How are the arrangements for children and parental cooperation 18 months later, and can anything that has happed be linked to the mediation process?

  4. Is it possible to identify factors outside the mediation that have contributed to the development, either for the worse or the better?

A general objective is to contribute to the knowledge about ways to work with parents in conflicts connected to separation and divorce in order to contribute to a better future for children and parents.



Twelve mediators, all trained in methods found in both solution-oriented and therapeutic oriented mediation, most of them with long experience from work with separating parents.


Parents with children (under the age of sixteen) in mandatory mediation, who have to attend at least one of seven sessions free of charge.


O. A. Tjersland (research leader), two PH.D fellow researchers (Wenke Gulbrandsen and Peder Kjøs). Collaboration established with a national and international mediation network (among others Professor J. Walker at the University of Newcastle). Other colleges in the clinical research unit at the Department of Psychology contribute to the project with ideas about instruments to be used and research supervision.


Before the mediation the parents separately answered questions about their expectations about the future solutions. Written post-session evaluations have been made by both clients and mediators. Sessions have been digitally audiorecorded, and selected sessions are transcribed for data analysis. Eighteen months after mediation ended, the parents have been interviewed about the mediation, how the arrangements for the children and the cooperation between the parents have worked out and Child Behaviour Check Lists have been used to map the adaptation of children.


One report: Gulbrandsen,W. and Tjersland, O. A. (2009). FORM-prosjektet: Foreldremekling ved samlivsbrudd. Delrapport nr. 1. Psykologisk institutt, UiO. Two review articles: One about ideology and one about outcome of mediation, published in Tidsskrift for Norsk Psykologforening, Vol. 47 (8), 2010.


The project is supported by the Department for Children, Equality and Inclusion, the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs, and the Department of Psychology, UiO.

Published Oct. 26, 2010 11:53 AM - Last modified Oct. 18, 2016 2:51 PM


Detailed list of participants