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  • News and results from the Dynamics of Family Conflict Study


News and results from the Dynamics of Family Conflict Study

Here you will continuously find new articles and publications from the Dynamics of Family Conflict Study. If you have questions regarding these, please contact familieforsk@fhi.no.

Illustrasjon over publikasjoner
Illustrasjonsfoto: Colourbox.com

Here you will continuously find new articles and publications from the Dynamics of Family Conflict Study. If you have questions regarding these, please contact familieforsk@fhi.no.

Explores children's opinions in the event of a breakup

As children have increasingly been recognized as competent children, our society have also become more concerned that children must be allowed to express themselves in matters that concern them. This becomes especially important in connection with major changes in everyday life, such as parents' break-up of their cohabitation. In this article, the researchers found some patterns for what children had strong or less strong opinions about in the time during and after parents' breakup, and which children had formed clear opinions.

The work on the article was funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs' (abbreviated Bufdir) and the article is published in the journal “Barn”.

Recommends a new Short-form of the CPS Strategy Scales

In this paper we translated the CPS Strategy Scales into Norwegian, developed a short-form and validated this short-form across family with different family structures. The new short-form was found to have better psychometric properties compared to the original Strategy scales, and we recommend it for use in research and clinical practice.

Parents underreport conflicts and difficulties before attending mediation

In 2016, the Norwegian family counselling service implemented differentiated mediation, which means that the mediation cases are pre-sorted to provide more targeted help. When parents order a mediation they must answer eight questions regarding degree of interparental conflict, trust in the co-parent and problems with substance abuse and / or violence. The study showed that one third of the parents underreported their challenges to the family counselling service, and only 15% of the parents who in the electronic questionnaire reported substance abuse or violence in the relationship, revealed this to the service. Underreporters had higher relationship conflict and more symptoms of anxiety and depression. Parents who underreported about problems with substance abuse and violence had more physically violent conflicts

Stress levels increased among parents when Norway closed down

For many parents, everyday life was abruptly changed in the period after 12 March 2020. The changes included concerns about job situations, finances, and one's own and others' health. With closed schools and kindergartens, additional responsibility for their children’s education and care was transferred to the parents, and opportunities for leisure time disappeared.

Results from this study show that the Covid-19-lockdown from March until May 2020, significantly increased the level of stress among parents. However, the lockdown did not lead to more parental conflicts, or poorer mental health among the parents.

Welfare Services during the First Phase of the Covid-19 Pandemic: Families’ Needs, Unmet Needs and Help-Seeking Behaviour

The measures that were implemented to slow down the spread of Covid-19 in the spring of 2020 led to difficulties for many families, and the closure led to reduced access to many mental health and welfare services. Of 689 parents who participated in this survey, 32.1% of them answered that they needed help from one or more mental health or welfare services in the period between April and May 2020. However, many of the families had needs that were not covered by relevant services. Parental psychological problems and destructive conflicts were related to whether the families were in need of support services during lockdown. Further, there was a lower probability that families with more conflicts and less family support contacted relevant services despite needing to.

Children's reactions to the corona closure in the spring of 2020

For the children, the corona closure spring 2020, meant less contact with friends, loss of regular routines related to school and leisure activities and more time at home with parents. In an article published in the European Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, we examined how children's experiences of home schooling, family turmoil, screen time, loss of friends, and concerns about infection were related to how they responded to the shutdowns. The children were generally less sad and scared, but at the same time reported more difficulty concentrating and sleeping problems.

Patterns of parental conflict in different families

In the spring of 2020, we published an article on parental conflicts and patterns within and across family forms when family patterns are challenged. Previous research on parental conflicts shows that how parents argue, has a greater impact on children's well-being than whether they argue or not. We therefore wanted to find out whether typical characteristics of parental conflicts vary between different family forms. The findings showed that there were some clear differences, both in what the parents argued most about, and how they argued.

Results from the pilot project to FamilieForSK

A pilot project for The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study was carried out in 2015 and 2016 (funded by the Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir).

A selection of families participating in the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Study (MoBa) were invited to participate. In addition, a small group of families who attended mediation in the family protection service were invited. In total, mothers, fathers and children from a total of 389 families participated in the pilot project.

The results from the pilot project have been used to assess whether the measurement methods we use are suitable for Norwegian conditions, as many of the questions we use in the interviews and questionnaires have previously only been used in countries other than Norway. This has, among other things, been investigated in an article published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

An article has also been written from the pilot project comparing parents' and children's reports of children's reactions to parental conflicts. Here, the researchers find that parents underreport children's reactions to parental conflicts compared to the children themselves. The article is published in the Journal of Family Psychology.


Three master's theses are based on the data collected in the pilot project:


The Dynamics of Family Conflict Study sends out annual newsletters; one for parents and one separate newsletter for children and young people. In Norwegian only.