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Improving the Quality of Child Custody Evaluations A Systematic Model by Lauren Woodward Tolle, William O'Donohue

Improving the Quality of Child Custody Evaluations A Systematic Model



Improving the Quality of Child Custody Evaluations A Systematic Model by Lauren Woodward Tolle, William O'Donohue

? ? This book resolves a key problem that all evaluators need to attend to:, i.e., what constructs ought to be measured?, all the while giving them practical ways of doing this. It also presents data showing family court judges like the model, and it does this fairly briefly but in a way that is nicely embedded in the research literature.


The book Improving the Quality of Child Custody Evaluations: A Systematic Model by Tolle and O'Donohue provides a useful summary of what relevant factors to consider, based on empirical work on the effects of divorce on children, and how relevant and valid data can be obtained to inform a decision, for example, with the help of psychological tests...An interesting part of the book is its review of empirical work on the effects of divorce: Tolle and O'Donohue discuss its effects on children's psychological well-being, family well-being, socioeconomic well-being, self-concept, social competence, and physical health problems. However, there is a lack of critical discussion of the causal inferences that can be drawn from such work. Several alternative explanations usually are pertinent, such as genetic ones (Kennair, 2003; Paris, 2000). The extensive discussions of psychometric properties of various instruments such as psychological tests are probably useful to a practitioner, but they tend to be somewhat dull reading. The authors stress the importance of impression management in assessments for custody evaluations, in which much tends to be at stake for the parents. This is a very difficult problem in many applications of psychometric methods (Griffith & Peterson, 2006)...This book should be a useful reference to psychologists working on custody cases. The reviews of research on effects of divorce on children and on the validity of methods used in custody assessments are useful. Furthermore, there is clearly a need for structuring information in such cases and integrating it as objectively as possible. The authors should be applauded for the attempt to develop a scientifically based methodology for child custody evaluations, and future research should be conducted to assess its value in practical work. Reviewed by Lennart SjobergPsycCRITIQUES, May 29, 2013, Vol. 58, Release 22, Article 6

About the Author

Lauren Woodward Tolle, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral fellow at the Behavioral Health and Wellness Program (BHWP) through the University of Colorado Denver's Department of Psychiatry. She also has a Master's degree in Applied Health Psychology from Northern Arizona University. Lauren completed her pre-doctoral internship at the University of Colorado, Denver School of Medicine in rural integrated primary care psychology. Lauren's research interests include evaluating clinical outcomes of evidence-based practice in primary care as well as pediatric settings. O'Donohue earned a Bachelor's degree in psychology at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He went on to study clinical psychology at SUNY at Stony Brook earning a Master's degree in 1982 and a Ph.D. in 1986. He then earned a Master's degree in philosophy in 1988 from Indiana University Bloomington. He was an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Maine, Orono from 1987 to 1991. In Harrington v. Almy the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found that a penile plethysmograph test ordered to be administered by O'Donohue as a precondition of employment was a violation of a Maine police officer's rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[3][4] In 1996, he was appointed Director of Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Services at University of Nevada, Reno. O'Donohue founded CareIntegra with colleagues in 1999 and serves as CEO. O'Donohue has been critical of the use of forensic evaluations administered to litigants in child custody disputes. He told the New York Times, Psychologists don't have the knowledge to do what they attempt to do when they do custody evaluations, adding that custody decisions are more about competing values than scientific findings when determining a child's best interest

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Book Info

Publication date

11th June 2014


Lauren Woodward Tolle, William O'Donohue

More books by Lauren Woodward Tolle, William O'Donohue
Author 'Like for Like'


Springer-Verlag New York Inc.


188 pages


Family law: children



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