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Article

About The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study

The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study is a large study of families in Norway. The aim of the study is to gain more knowledge about parental conflicts, family dynamics and child adjustment across family settings.

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The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study is a large study of families in Norway. The aim of the study is to gain more knowledge about parental conflicts, family dynamics and child adjustment across family settings.


In order to get a better understanding of the association between living situation 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 0-15 years) across different family settings about how they experience their family and their 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:

  • Better advice on how parents can meet their children's needs when the family goes through difficult times
  • Better help when parents experience conflicts and relationship breakdown
  • Better advice on how children can be heard in matters that concern them
  • Better advice on custody arrangements for children when parents separate

About the study:

The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study started in December 2017, and the recruitment of participants was completed in the summer of 2019. In total, around 2800 families participate in the study. We particularly wanted to find out more about children’s and parents’ well-being in families going through difficult times or in families where parents are separating or where the parents live apart. Therefore, we recruited a large group of families that have been that have been in contact with a family counselling office for help with family related problems, for mandatory parental mediation during relationship dissolution, or for guidance on how to collaborate better as parents after relationship dissolution.

Right after recruitment mothers, fathers and children above the age of 12 filled in an electronic 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.

We aimed to investigate how life in families develops over time. Therefore, participants in the study were invited to participate at several time-points. In the autumn of 2019, we started the second round of data collection. In this round, we again asked parents, older children, and kindergarten and schoolteachers, to fill in questionnaires; while children between 8 and 11 years of age were offered a new interview. Participation in the second round of the study took place about 1 ½ year after the families first participated.

The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study had originally planned only two data collections. In 2020, however, we launched two additional data collections to learn more about everyday life during the corona epidemic. We conducted the first in the spring of 2020, just after the closure of Norway, and the second in December 2020.

The ongoing situation with the pandemic and changes in infection control measures during the winter of 2020/2021 reveals that there is still a great need for knowledge about how the changes in everyday life affect parents, children and families in the longer term. Therefore, we will send out new questionnaires in the spring of 2021 to parents, children and young people over the age of 11 and kindergartens / schools. In this round, we ask about much of the same as in the very first questionnaires, in addition to some corona-related questions. This is the last round of questionnaires we have planned now.

Overskrift: 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.