Information to parents participating in The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study
As a participant in The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study, you contribute to increased knowledge about how family conditions and dynamics are related to children's development and mental well-being.
As a participant in The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study, you help us generate knowledge that can help provide parents and others with
- better advice on how parents can take care of their children's needs as families go through difficult times
- better help when parents experience conflicts and marital breakdown
- better advice on how children can be heard in matters that concern them
- better advice on custody arrangements for children
Who participate in the study?
Around 2800 families are participating in the study. In all participating families, parents had at least one common child aged 0-17 years when they were invited to participate. We especially want to find out more about children’s and parents’ well-being in families going through a difficult period and in families where parents are moving apart or already live apart.
Therefore, a large group of families who were in contact with the family counselling service were invited to participate; including families where parents had attended compulsory mediation, families where parents had lived apart for a while and families where the parents lived together.
What does participation involve?
Originally, the study planned two data collections. The first was carried out from December 2017 to August 2019 and the second from October 2019 to January 2021. During these two data collections, parents, and children 12 years or older filled in an electronic questionnaire and children between 7 and 12 years were interviewed using a structured interviewed. We also collected data on children between 0 and 6 years from kindergarten employees or schoolteachers. There have been three extraordinary data collections during the early and middle phase of the corona pandemic, that is, in 2020 and 2021. The persistent situation with corona infection and changes in infection control measures throughout 2020/2021 has meant that there is a great need for knowledge about how changes in everyday life affect parents, children and families in the longer term.
In autumn 2022, we completed a sixth data collection, but only parents and children 7 years and older participated in this.
We will continue to follow the children and families over time, also after the children have turned 18.
What questions do we ask in the survey?
For both parents and children, the questions concern mental well-being, everyday life, and interactions and relations in the family.
Parents are asked about:
- his/her family background
- conflicts, cooperation and relationship between parents
- the relationship with their child/children
- own well-being, mental health, and behavior
- children's well-being, mental health, and behavior
A few families who have participated in mediation were interviewed in more detail about how parents and children experienced the mediation (qualitative in-depth interviews). These families were also contacted for the same type of participation in subsequent rounds of the study.
The children's questionnaires are about:
- mental well-being, emotions and reactions children may have (e.g., whether they are often scared, sad or happy and about friendships with peers)
- their everyday life (e.g., how they feel at school and if they have someone to talk to if they find something difficult)
- the relationship with their parents (e.g., the degree of support from the parents, if they like to tell things to the parents and if they often argue with the parents)
- conflicts between parents (e.g., how often they experience that the parents argue or disagree and how they react to their parents’ conflicts)
The questions for children and adolescents are adapted to the child’s age, and the children can skip questions they do not want to answer.
Questions for kindergarten and schoolteachers
Kindergarten and schoolteachers are asked about the child's well-being and adjustment in social contexts. They are also asked about the child's behavior, and about the child’s social and emotional development.