The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study
The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study (FAM-C) is a large study of about 2800 families in Norway. The aim of the study is to gain more knowledge about parental conflicts, family dynamics and child adjustment across family settings.
To get a better understanding of the association between family dynamics and children's well-being, it is important to ask how different family members experience family interactions and relations. In the Dynamics of Family Conflict Study, we ask mothers, fathers, and their joint children (aged 0-17 years) across different family settings about how they experience their family and everyday life.
The main goal of The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study is to generate knowledge that can provide authorities, relevant services, parents, and families with knowledge-based advice:
- on how to help families when parents experience conflicts and relationship breakdown
- on how parents can meet their children's needs when the family goes through difficult periods and crisis
- on how children can be heard in matters that concern them
- advice on custody arrangements for children when parents separate
About the study
The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study started in December 2017, and participant recruitment was completed in the summer of 2019. In total, around 2800 families participate in the study. A key goal was to generate new knowledge about children’s and parents’ well-being in families going through difficult times or in families where parents are separating or where they live apart. Therefore, we recruited families that were in contact with a family counselling office for help with either family related problems, for mandatory parental mediation during relationship dissolution, or for guidance on how to collaborate better as parents after relationship dissolution.
Immediately after the recruitment, mothers, fathers, and children above the age of 12 years completed an online questionnaire. Trained interviewers interviewed children between 7 and 11 years of age. For children between 0 and 6 years of age, we asked a kindergarten or school-teacher to fill in a questionnaire about the child.
The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study originally planned two data collections to investigate family life and dynamics develops over time. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and changes in infection control measures during the winter of 2020/2021 revealed a need for knowledge about how these changes affected parents, children, and families in a longer term. Therefore, we launched three additional data collections to learn more about everyday life during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the data collections during the pandemic, we asked many of the same questions as previously, in addition to some Covid-19 related questions.
In the autumn of 2022, we initiated our sixth data collection. We aim at using the latest data to explore how the families are doing and if they have re-adjusted back to a normal everyday life after lockdown during the pandemic. This will also be the focus of a new sub-project under The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study, called Cov-Clusion, which started in 2022. Here, we will examine in more detail what makes some people do well while others fall behind in various areas such as school and work.
This data set can also be an important contribution to seeing how the pandemic may have affected family life and dynamics in the longer term.
To generate new knowledge about how the families are doing over time, we will also link the information from the surveys with central registers such as the Norwegian Patient Register, the Prescription Register and registers from Statistics Norway. We can also use this register information to obtain more background information about the participating families, for example about income and job situation. This is important as it allows us to explore at a more detailed level, how different conditions surrounding families affect everyday life and well-being.
Who funds The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study?
The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study is funded by The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) and The Research Council of Norway.