We are seeking funding to transcribe, code, and analyze data from a study to how parental divorce affects children. One hundred and three families participated in 1981-82 within eight months of parental separation; these same families are being seen again during 1982-83, one year after their initial participation. Our premise has been that children's adjustment during this transition period can best be predicted by understanding the qualilty of their family system functioning; furthermore, we believe adjustment will change too. Accordingly, we have gathered information that will allow us to describe the family units at each of the two post-separation times in terms of (a) their ability to satisfy several primary functions of a family (i.e., provision of material resources, physical protection, cohesion, regularity, nurturance, and companionship), (b) their interaction patterns (i.e., role boundary ambiguity, triadic tension, and enmeshment), and (c) the psychological adjustment of other family members. Children's adjustment itself will be characterized in terms of behavior problems, emotional adjustment, peer relations, school performance, and physical health. In general, we presume that families that satisfy their primary functions, that are not characterized by pathogenic interaction patterns, and that include well-adjusted family members will have children who show fewer negative effects of the separation; these relationships should generally hold true at both post-separation periods. However, a corollary presumption is that some family and individual characteristics will be more important that others and that which ones are most important may change from one period to the next. Consequently, our approach to data analysis will be to assess relationships between predictors and outcomes at each time of assessment, then to examine the ways in which family system functioning has both concurrent and long-term effects on children's adjustment.
|Healy Jr, J M; Malley, J E; Stewart, A J (1990) Children and their fathers after parental separation. Am J Orthopsychiatry 60:531-43|