Study Shows Mediation is More Satisfying for Divorcing Couples Than Litigation
Lori Anne Shaw
As more divorcing couples use mediation rather than litigation to resolve their divorce issues, the effectiveness of mediation has captured the attention of researchers. However, results vary across divorce mediation and litigation outcome studies. While, in general, studies suggest that mediation outperforms litigation, there are exceptions. Thus, a closer look at this literature is warranted. Although much qualitative discussion has taken place about the benefits of mediation, a quantitative review of the literature has never been performed to determine the overall efficacy of mediation as an alternative dispute resolution process for divorcing couples. Therefore, the study below conducts a meta-analysis on this literature.
Based on the five studies that met the established inclusion criteria, it was found that mediation produced a grand effect size of .36. This small, but moderate, effect size reveals that, across the included studies, mediation is a beneficial alternative to litigation for divorcing couples. Several dependent variables measuring process, outcome, and emotional satisfaction, as well as spousal relationship and increased understanding of the children’s needs were aggregated across the studies and rendered moderate positive effect sizes. These results provide direction for future research and implications for the practice of mediation.