The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.
Parental conflict - Effects on children
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology v. 62 May/Jun 2019: 38-49
This article investigates whether parents' work-family conflict affects parenting and their children's mental health. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, it compares mothers' and fathers' sense of work-family conflict, inter-parental conflict, and parenting irritability, and children's mental health and behaviour problems from ages 4-5 to 14-15 years of age. It finds evidence of the mediating role of parenting irritability in the association between work-family conflict and children's externalising problems, with differences by parent gender and child age, with mothers' work-family conflict showing a more persistent influence over time.
London : Dept. for Work and Pensions, 2018.
In 'Improving lives - helping workless families', the British Government sets out proposals to improve outcomes for children who grow up in workless families. The policy was supported by a strong evidence base, published in an 'analysis and research pack' featuring the latest research and a set of nine indicators to track progress in tackling disadvantage. This new 2018 report updates the indicators with the latest data. The indicators cover the prevalence of parental conflict, entrenched worklessness, poor parental mental health, family breakdown, homelessness, problem debt, drug and alcohol dependency, children's educational attainment, and youth participation in education, employment, or training.
Attachment & Human Development v. 20 no. 4 2018: 349-377
Couple relationship quality has been held to play a key role in children's attachment. This article reviews the evidence on the strength and direction of association between parents' couple relationship quality and young children's attachment security. 24 studies were reviewed, looking at the couple relationship before conception, during pregnancy, and post-natally, and children's attachment security with either the mother or the father. The review finds that inter-parental conflict is inversely associated with offspring attachment security, but further research is needed on the association with other aspects of couple relationship quality.
London : Early Intervention Foundation, 2017.
This paper highlights the importance of addressing inter-parental conflict in families who are in or at risk of poverty. It summarises the findings and policy implications of three research studies by the Early Intervention Foundation: 'Inter-parental conflict and outcomes for children in the context of poverty and disadvantage', 'Exploring parental relationship support: a qualitative study', and 'Interparental relationship support services available in the UK: rapid review of the evidence'. Together, this body of research highlights how poverty and economic stress affect the quality of inter-parental relationships, which in turn impacts on child outcomes. Though there are interventions aimed at families in or at risk of poverty which are effective, the UK evidence needs to develop further.
London : Early Intervention Foundation, 2017.
A previous study explored the impact of parents' relationships - regardless of whether they are together or separated - on children's outcomes. This report extends that study by investigating inter-parental conflict in the context of poverty and economic pressure. It summarises the latest research on what is known about the links between poverty, economic pressure, family processes, and child and adolescent development, then examines the evidence on the effectiveness of interventions implemented in the United Kingdom and overseas aimed at improving inter-parental relationships and outcomes for children from families in or at risk of poverty. The findings highlight how poverty and economic stress affect the quality of inter-parental relationships, which in turn impact on child outcomes. The report concludes with some recommendations for research, policy, and practice.
London : Dept. for Work and Pensions, 2017.
In 'Improving lives - helping workless families', the British Government sets out proposals to improve outcomes for children who grow up in workless families. This document presents the strong evidence base that underpins that policy paper. It combines the latest research with new insights from survey and administrative data, and was created by leading academics, analysts, and policy-makers across government as well as local authorities and front-line workers. Part one focuses on children in workless families, setting out the evidence behind some of the issues associated with persistent worklessness, how these disadvantages are often connected with other factors, and how they impact on children's outcomes. Part two presents nine national indicators, with supporting measures, to track progress in tackling the disadvantages that affect families and children's outcomes. These include the prevalence of parental conflict, entrenched worklessness, poor parental mental health, family breakdown, homelessness, problem debt, drug and alcohol dependency, children's educational attainment, and youth participation in education, employment, or training.
London : Dept. for Work and Pensions, 2017.
In this publication, the British Government sets out proposals to improve outcomes for children who grow up in workless families and face multiple disadvantages. It draws on new analysis on the stark difference in outcomes between children in workless families and those in lower-income working families, with workless families considerably more likely to experience problems with their relationships, have poor mental health, and be in problem debt. This Government will help these families by expanding the Troubled Families Programme, launching new local-level interventions to reduce parental conflict, and targeting at risk parents with complex issues or substance dependency through the welfare system. The first section sets out the case for change, based on the evidence on parental worklessness. The next section explains the steps for action, before concluding with a section on how progress will be monitored.
N.S.W. : ANROWS, 2017.
This paper presents key findings for policy and practice from a study into the impact of domestic and family violence on parenting capacity and parent-child relationships in Australia. Drawing on a mixed method approach involving analysis of three longitudinal data sets, a review of the literature, and interviews with service users, the study investigated parental conflict in families and impacts on the emotional health and parenting behaviours of mothers and fathers and child functioning; how DFV experienced before separation, after separation, or both affects parents' emotional health and parent-child relationships; and mothers' experiences of engagement with services in the domestic and family violence, child protection, and family law systems. The findings add to the evidence base on the impact of this violence and the issues that are shared or differ across gender and family structure.
N.S.W. : ANROWS, 2017.
This report collates the findings of a research study into the impact of domestic and family violence on parenting capacity and parent-child relationships in Australia. The study focused on three main issues: parental conflict in families and impacts on the emotional health and parenting behaviours of mothers and fathers and child functioning; how DFV experienced before separation, after separation, or both affects parents' emotional health and parent-child relationships; and mothers' experiences of engagement with services in the domestic and family violence, child protection, and family law systems. A mixed method approach involving four separate components was employed, involving a review of the literature (also published separately), an analysis of data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, an analysis of data from the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families (LSSF) and the Survey of Recently Separated Parents (SRSP), and interviews with 50 women in contact with DFV services. The findings add to the evidence base by bringing together evidence on a diversity of Australian populations and capturing the experiences and impacts on fathers, mothers, and children at varying ages and stages, enabling the identification of important issues across gender and family structure.
Social Science and Medicine v. 168 Nov 2016: 167-174
Research has shown that working nonstandard hours has a negative impact on not only a worker's health, but the health of their children too. This article investigates the impact on adolescent children in one-parent families. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, it examines the impact of parental work schedules - including weekend and night shifts - on the mental and physical health of adolescents aged 15?20, and the possible causes such as increased work-family conflict and low job control.
Journal of Child and Family Studies v. 25 no. 9 Sep 2016: 2778-2796
This article investigates the impact of non-resident work arrangements - such as Fly-In/Fly-Out (FIFO) - on children and families, and the family- and work-related factors that are associated with different outcomes. Surveys were conducted by 46 FIFO workers, 232 partners of FIFO workers, and a comparison group of parents, regarding family and couple relationship quality, family conflict, child behavioural and emotional adjustment, parenting style, parenting competence, and personal adjustment, emotional problems, and alcohol use. The implications have findings for supporting FIFO families.
Canberra : Attorney-General's Dept., 2014
The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families examines the experiences, circumstances, and wellbeing of separated parents and their children in Australia. It was commissioned as part of the evaluation of the 2006 Family Law reforms, and three waves of surveys have now been conducted. This current report presents findings from wave 3, conducted in 2012 with 9,028 parents five years after separation. It explores the opinions and experiences of separated parents regarding: quality of inter-parental relationships; child-focused communication between parents; safety concerns and violence and abuse; use and perceived helpfulness of family law services; pathways for developing parenting arrangements; family dispute resolution; stability and change in care-time arrangements; property division and their timing and perceived fairness; and child support arrangements and compliance. The report also asks parents about their child's wellbeing, and compares this with care-time arrangements and family dynamics.
Australasian Journal of Early Childhood v. 39 no. 2 online annex Jun 2014: 118-125
Emotional symptoms are one of the primary manifestations of child mental health problems. The current study investigated whether being exposed to maladaptive parenting (high hostility and low warmth) and/or marital conflict in infancy is associated with a significantly increased risk of having emotional symptoms in the early school years. Relevant data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) were available for 3161 children (1621 boys) who had a median age of nine months (M age = 8.8 months, SD = 2.5 months) at wave 1 and a median age of 58 months (M = 57.5 months, SD = 2.8 months) at wave 3. Children who were exposed to maladaptive parenting and/or marital conflict at wave 1 were found to have a significantly increased risk of having emotional symptoms at wave 3. These findings indicate that by incorporating a focus earlier in children's development it should be possible to achieve better outcomes from programs that target parenting behaviours and family functioning.
Bristol, UK : Policy Press, 2014.
"There is increasing government recognition of the importance of early family experiences on individuals in the long term and of how inter-parental conflict influences children's development. Recognition of the role of such factors early in life is key to helping both policy makers and practitioners promote positive outcomes for children. This ... book reviews recent research showing how children who experience high levels of inter-parental conflict are at serious risk not only in terms of their own wellbeing, but also in relation to the perpetuation of these behaviours later in life. It examines the differences between destructive and constructive conflict and how they affect children, explores why some children are more adversely affected than others, and features the latest evidence on how conflict affects child physiology. Of particular note is the book's focus on the growing evidence-based literature on conflict interventions within the last decade."
Journal of Family Studies v. 19 no. 3 Dec 2013: 267-271
In the April 2013 edition of this journal, Lucas, Nicholson and Erbas published an article on 'Child mental health after parental separation: the impact of resident/non-resident parenting, parent mental health, conflict and socioeconomics'. The article used data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children to compare the mental health of children in couple-families and separated, mother-headed families, and to examine the reasons why children from separated families fared worse. One source cited by the article is a recent report by Patrick Parkinson, 'For kids sake'. However, Professor Parkinson disagrees with their interpretation of his work, and in this new article, he sets out his arguments.
Journal of Family Studies v. 19 no. 3 Dec 2013: 272-275
In the April 2013 edition of this journal, Lucas, Nicholson and Erbas published an article on 'Child mental health after parental separation: the impact of resident/non-resident parenting, parent mental health, conflict and socioeconomics'. The article used data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children to compare the mental health of children in couple-families and separated, mother-headed families, and to examine the reasons why children from separated families fared worse. One source cited by the article is a recent report by Patrick Parkinson, 'For kids sake'. However, Professor Parkinson disagrees with their interpretation of his work, and has set out his arguments in this December edition. In this article, the original authors respond to his comments.
Journal of Family Studies v. 19 no. 1 Apr 2013: 53-69
Children of separated parents are consistently shown to have greater likelihood of poor mental health than children of intact families. Explanations to date have focussed on the impacts of parental conflict, and the role of resident mothers, neglecting the potential importance of non-resident fathers. Using recent data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, this study 1) compares the mental health of children from intact families with resident fathers to those from separated families with non-resident fathers and 2) explores predictors of poor mental health among children from separated families. Children from separated families had poorer mental health than those from intact families, but this difference was explained fully by exposure to parental conflict, socioeconomic status and parent mental health, and to a lesser extent by parenting practices. Among children from separated families, the strongest predictor of child mental health was maternal parenting consistency. Policy implications are discussed.
A variety of societal changes have led to the prolonged co-residency of adult children in the parental home. In North American and European studies, co-residence of adult children has been shown to affect parents' quality of life, yet no research has examined the effect on Australian parents. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of co-residency on parental adjustment. Participants were a convenience sample of Australian parents (N = 113) with a focal child over the age of 18 living at home. Parents completed an online survey on parental adjustment, marital relationship quality, parental conflict, perceived adulthood status of their adult child, parenting styles and levels of parent-child conflict. Results indicated that parenting style, in particular those parents who were disapproving, had an impact on levels of parental depression, anxiety and stress. Perceived adulthood status of the adult child living at home and parenting style were also found to significantly predict levels of parent-child conflict. In addition, the relationship between perceived adulthood status of child and parent-child conflict was partially mediated by disapproving parenting, suggesting that if parents and young adults disagreed about adulthood status, parents disapproved as a consequence, leading to increased levels of parent-child conflict. These results may be utilised to suggest possible targets for interventions which may assist parents achieve to functional relationships during this extended period of adult child co-residency. Such interventions will be discussed in depth.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 32 no. 3 Sep 2011: 249-263
Adolescent substance abuse is a common problem and family interventions are emerging as a strategy to prevent it and assist family coping. The effectiveness of a prevention-focussed family intervention was evaluated for its secondary impacts on improving parental mental health and family functioning. Twenty-four secondary schools in Melbourne Victoria were randomly assigned to either a control condition or an intervention titled Resilient Families. The two intervention levels analysed were: (1) a parenting booklet only and; (2) combining the booklet with face-to-face parent education sessions. Parent surveys at baseline were followed up one year and four years later. Repeated-measures analysis (n = 560) found parents attending parent education demonstrated reductions in mental health symptoms, however this had negative effects on family cohesion and no impact on family conflict. These findings were interpreted in terms of parent education assisting parent mental health by promoting assertive parenting styles that may increase adolescent-parent tension by encouraging firmer parental boundaries and strategies to reduce adolescent substance use.
Journal of Family Studies v. 17 no. 2 Aug 2011: 86-109
It is well documented that children who experience parental divorce are more likely than those in intact families to experience a range of emotional and behavioural adjustment problems, and to perform less well academically. However, few studies of the impact of divorce have exclusively considered young children. This paper takes advantage of a recent Australian child cohort study to examine links between young children's emotional wellbeing, the quality of the co-parental relationship, and post-separation paternal involvement. We found that while children aged 6-7 years living with both parents generally had better emotional wellbeing than similar aged children living with one parent, inter-parental hostility was an important factor in explaining young children's emotional wellbeing. But regardless of family type, children whose parents had a hostile inter-parental relationship tended to have poorer emotional wellbeing than children whose parents did not have a non-hostile relationship, as reported by children and their parents.
Journal of Family Studies v. 17 no. 1 Apr 2011: 24-35
The Parenting Through Separation (PTS) program is available throughout New Zealand to separating parents. The PTS program aims to educate parents on the impact of separation on children, how to minimise parental conflict, and how to make post separation care arrangements that are in children's best interests. This paper presents an evaluation of the PTS program, including an assessment of the extent to which the program is meeting its aims. Using before and after course measures the evaluation also assessed the extent to which parents reported reduced parental conflict, more satisfactory care arrangements, and improved child adjustment. While the PTS program is doing well in achieving most of its goals, the research identified areas where it is having less of an impact.
Family Matters no. 86 2011: 40-48
The importance for children's wellbeing, long-term adjustment and maintenance of loving and supportive relationships with both parents after divorce is well documented. However, questions remain about links between parenting arrangements and relationship outcomes, specifically in terms of the ways that shared overnight care after separation may interact with complex developmental or family circumstances to influence children's outcomes. This article summarises two recent Australian studies of post-separation shared parenting arrangements, with a focus on developmental outcomes for children in two risk groups: children living with ongoing parental conflict after separation, and infants and pre-schoolers. Both studies help to illuminate the socio-economic, relationship and developmental 'equipment' required for translating a shared time arrangement post separation into a developmentally supportive experience for the children concerned.
Family Matters no. 86 2011: 33-39
This article presents key findings from the first year of the Post-Separation Parenting and Financial Settlements study, conducted at the Melbourne University Law School and funded by the Australian Research Council. It focuses on 32 in-depth interviews conducted in 2009 with parents in post-separation shared care arrangements, drawn from a qualitative sample of 60. The article summarises findings concerning pathways into, and experiences of, shared post-separation parenting in a range of situations, including both conflicted and amenable arrangements. While no claim is made that these experiences are representative of the population of separated parents with shared care arrangements, the qualitative data can throw light on what some of the quantitative trends mean in the everyday lives of families who fit those trends, while also perhaps identifying and exploring other experiences.
Family Matters no. 86 2011: 19-32
The 2006 family law reforms were designed to strengthen family relationships regardless of the parents' relationship status, and to protect and promote children's wellbeing. A key question that arises from the changes is: under what circumstances are children advantaged or disadvantaged by arrangements that set out or encourage significant amounts of time with both parents? This article therefore examines four issues: the prevalence of different care-time arrangements in families that experienced parental separation after July 2006; parents' views about the flexibility and workability of their arrangements; characteristics of families with different care-time arrangements; and the strength of the relationship between child wellbeing on the one hand, and care-time arrangements and family dynamics on the other. The analysis is based on Wave 1 of a survey of 10,002 parents who participated in the first wave of the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families in 2008.
London : Centre for Excellence and Outcomes on Children and Young People's Services (C4EO), 2010.
This rapid literature review summarises what works in improving children's outcomes by supporting parent couple relationships and reducing conflict. Chapters include: proportions of parents and carers who experience conflict and/or separation, and their characteristics; effects on children of parental conflict and divorce; meeting the support needs of parents and carers affected by parental conflict, separation and divorce; and meeting the support needs of children affected by parental conflict, separation and divorce.
Canberra, A.C.T. : Attorney-General's Dept., 2010
As part of the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families, this report explores young people's experiences of family relationships, living arrangements, and adjustment after separation. Interviews were conducted in 2009 with 623 young people aged 12-18, whose parents had separated between 2006 and 2008. The study examined living arrangements, changes in care-time arrangements, involvement in decision making, sources of support, stepfamilies and grandparents, financial support and hardship, family violence and conflict, quality of relationships, and the effects on young people's wellbeing. The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families is part of the evaluation of the 2006 Family Law reforms. These reforms aimed to promote more cooperative parenting after separation and incorporate the views and feelings of children in custody arrangements.
Canberra, A.C.T. : Attorney-General's Dept., 2010
The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families examines relationships and wellbeing in separated families in Australia. Some 10,000 separated parents with children were interviewed for the first wave in 2008, as part of the evaluation of the 2006 Family Law reforms. This current report presents findings from the second wave, now the parents have been separated for two to three years. The study investigates parenting issues including communication between parents, abuse and safety concerns, the development of parenting arrangements, the use of family dispute resolution services, changes in child care arrangements, involvement in decision making, and child support and compliance. The study also examines the effect of these issues on child wellbeing. The report discusses the findings and the changes that have occurred over time, as well as the methodology of the study. Though most respondents maintained a harmonious relationship with the other parent, there are still reports of conflict, fear, and family violence.
Bonn, Germany : IZA, 2010.
"This study examines the link between divorced nonresident fathers' proximity and children's long-run outcomes using high-quality data from Norwegian population registers. We follow (from birth to young adulthood) 15,992 children born into married households in Norway in the years 1975-1979 whose parents divorce during his or her childhood. We observe the proximity of the child to his or her father in each year following the divorce and link proximity to children's educational and economic outcomes in young adulthood, controlling for a wide range of observable characteristics of the parents and the child. Our results show that closer proximity to the father following a divorce has, on average, a modest negative association with offspring's young-adult outcomes. The negative associations are stronger among children of highly-educated fathers. Complementary Norwegian survey data show that highly-educated fathers report more post-divorce conflict with their ex-wives as well as more contact with their children (measured in terms of the number of nights that the child spends at the fathers' house). Consequently, the father's relocation to a more distant location following the divorce may shelter the child from disruptions in the structure of the child's life as they split time between households and/or from post-divorce interparental conflict."
North Carlton, Vic. : Family Transitions, 2010.
This collection explores the effects of divorce and separation on children. It features three reports commissioned by the Attorney General's Department of Australia. The first report, 'A longitudinal study of school-aged children in high conflict separation', uses data from the Children in Focus longitudinal study of 260 children from families experiencing significant conflict over post-separation parenting arrangements. The report looks at the stability of physical care, the factors leading to successful shared parenting, and developmental outcomes for children. The second report, 'Overnight care patterns and psycho-emotional development in infants and young children', uses data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children concerning separated families. It explores the associations between overnight care arrangements and psycho-emotional outcomes for infants and preschool children. A third report links the findings of these two studies.
Family Matters no. 85 2010: 38-48
The Australian Institute of Family Studies 'Evaluation of the 2006 Family Law Reforms' in 2009 found that one of the central challenges facing the family law system is family violence. A substantial minority of separated parents reported having experienced physical violence, and over half reported having experienced emotional or physical violence. The data collected as part of the AIFS evaluation highlighted the difficulties faced by those working in the family law system (service system professionals, lawyers, court staff and judicial officers) when working with families affected by family violence. This article summarises the main points that arose from the evaluation. Challenging issues include identifying whether there is family violence, the nature of the violence, whether it is ongoing and the most appropriate responses. Dealing with family violence in the family law context is difficult because of its prevalence in separating families, combined with the fact that there is often little or no evidence because most family violence occurs behind 'closed doors', without witnesses. It is also difficult because a parent may be too frightened of their ex-partner to tell anyone about the violence, let alone a court.