Multigroup Propensity Score Approach to Evaluating an Effectiveness Trial of the New Beginnings Program

Jenn Yun Tein, Gina L. Mazza, Heather J. Gunn, Hanjoe Kim, Elizabeth A. Stuart, Irwin N. Sandler, Sharlene A. Wolchik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


We used a multigroup propensity score approach to evaluate a randomized effectiveness trial of the New Beginnings Program (NBP), an intervention targeting divorced or separated families. Two features of effectiveness trials, high nonattendance rates and inclusion of an active control, make program effects harder to detect. To estimate program effects based on actual intervention participation, we created a synthetic inactive control comprised of nonattenders and assessed the impact of attending the NBP or active control relative to no intervention (inactive control). We estimated propensity scores using generalized boosted models and applied inverse probability of treatment weighting for the comparisons. Relative to the inactive control, NBP strengthened parenting quality as well as reduced child exposure to interparental conflict, parent psychological distress, and child internalizing problems. Some effects were moderated by parent gender, parent ethnicity, or child age. On the other hand, the effects of active versus inactive control were minimal for parenting and in the unexpected direction for child internalizing problems. Findings from the propensity score approach complement and enhance the interpretation of findings from the intention-to-treat approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-320
Number of pages31
JournalEvaluation and the Health Professions
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse: R01 DA026874 to conduct the multi-court trial of the New Beginning Program to prevent substance abuse and mental health disorder for children of divorced or separated families. We thank the families for their participation; Sarah Jones, Monique Lopez, Michele Porter, Katherine Ryan, Martha Patti Serrano, and Jaimee Virgo for their assistance with data collection and management, and the group leaders for their assistance with implementing the programs.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © The Author(s) 2018.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy


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