Post-Separation Visitation Disputes: Differential Interventions

BACKGROUND PAPER

(2001-FCY-6)

RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

  1. Settlement: There was no significant association found between types of evaluation and settlement, X2(1, N=91)=3.12, p>.05.

  2. Satisfaction mean scores: The following scores were obtained on the satisfaction scale for: mothers (alpha=.93), X=3.52 (SD=1.16) and fathers (alpha=.92), X=3.63 (SD=1.04). There were no statistically significant differences found between mothers' and fathers' satisfaction mean scores by type t(24)=.821, p>.05. Factorial analysis of variance found no main effect of either settlement, F(1.43)=.119, p>.05; or type, F(1.43)=3.41, p>.05; or interaction of settlement by type of intervention, F(1.43)=.406, p>.05 with respect to mothers' satisfaction. Factorial analysis of variance found no main effect of either settlement, F(1.29)=.003, p>.05; or type, F(1.29)=0.468, p>.05; or interaction of settlement by type of intervention, F(1.29)=0.198, p>.05 with respect to fathers' satisfaction. Both parents' satisfaction is not contingent upon the type of evaluation intervention.

  3. Level of communication: There was no significant differences found for mothers communication scores by type of intervention at Time 2, t(42)=-.191, p>.10. For fathers at Time 2 however, there was a statistically significant difference found between fathers in the focussed evaluation intervention, (X=1.431, SD=.698) and traditional evaluation intervention, (X=2.105, SD=1.149), t(33)=2.047, p<.05. There was a statistical significant difference found between mothers (X=1.665, SD=.824) and fathers (X=4.306, SD=1.341) at Time 1, t(54)=-10.93, p<.05. There was no significant difference found between mothers and fathers at Time 2, t(31)=-.375, p>.01. There was no statistical significant difference found between satisfaction with the amount of sharing of information regarding their child between mothers and fathers at Time 1, t(41)=1.95, p>.01 and Time 2, t(25)=.629, p>.01.

  4. Children's adjustment post separation: There was no statistical significant difference found between parents rating of their child's adjustment scores by type of evaluation intervention at Time 2. Mothers evaluation of Total Behaviour Problems, t(45)=-1.166, p>.10; Internalizing Behaviour Problems, t(45)=-.827, p>.10; and Externalizing Behaviour Problems, t(45)=-1.557, p>.10. Fathers evaluation of Total Behaviour Problems, t(30)=-.663, p>.10; Internalizing Behaviour Problems, t(30)=-.258, p>.10; and Externalizing Behaviour Problems, t(30)=-1.248, p>.10. Correlations among mother, father and teacher reports of child adjustment (as measured by the CBCL/Time 1 and Time 2, respectively) for girls and boys were combined. Correlations across raters at Time 1 ranged from a low of r=-.02 (father and teacher reports of child internalizing problems) to a high of r=.47 (mother and father reports of externalizing problems). Correlations across raters at Time 2 ranged from a low of r=-.02 (mother and teacher reports of internalizing problems) to a high of r=.50 (mother and father reports of child externalizing problems).

There were no significant correlations among any of the variables between mother, father and teacher self-reports on the CBCL and child and family variables (age of child, number of months separated, SES, and number of days per month of access by the non-custodial parent) at either Time 1 or Time 2.

Table 4a: Time 1

Child-rearing obligations and responsibilities
Percentages, mean and standard deviation scores for parental component items (N=66)

Item   Often Sometimes Rarely Mean SD
    % % %    
Making major decisions regarding your children's lives M 13.7 6.1 80.3 4.21 1.26
F 14.8 11.5 70.5 4.30 1.58
Making day to day decisions about your children's lives M 4.5 4.5 90.9 4.56 .79
F 9.8 8.2 78.7 4.76 1.41
Discussing personal problems yourchildren may be having M 12.1 10.6 77.3 4.20 1.18
F 16.4 14.8 60.6 4.20 1.71
Discussing school and/or medical problems M 15.2 15.2 69.7 4.00 1.30
F 19.7 14.8 60.6 4.07 1.63
Planning special events in your children's lives M 9.1 7.6 83.4 4.41 1.02
F 13.1 9.8 72.2 4.36 1.56
Talking about your children's accomplishments and progress M 12.1 7.6 80.3 4.30 1.10
F 11.5 19.7 65.5 4.16 1.49
Talking about problems you are having in raising the children M 2.2 10.9 86.9 4.64 1.18
F 11.5 11.5 72.2 4.38 1.47
Discussing how the children are adjusting to the divorce M 3.0 9.1 84.8 4.71 1.09
F 3.2 6.6 83.6 4.751.16
Discussing problems you are having with the co-parenting relationship M 4.5 4.5 87.9 4.74 1.06
F 8.2 9.8 59.0 4.03 1.72
Discussing finances in regard to your children M 3.0 6.1 87.9 4.74 1.06
F 19.7 14.8 59.0 4.03 1.72

Five-point scale ranging from always (1) to never (5); in the frequency distribution, always and often were combined, as were rarely and never.

In Table 4A (Time 1), mothers and fathers reported that they shared more information regarding major decisions about their child's life (29 percent), personal problems their child may have been having (29 percent) and school and/or medical problems (35 percent). Financial issues (23 percent), problems in co-parenting (13 percent) and how their child was adjusting to the separation and/or divorce (6.2 percent) were avoided, as they led to conflicts between them.

Table 4b: Time 2

Child-rearing obligations and responsibilities
Percentages, mean and standard deviation scores for parental component items (N=46)

Item   Often Sometimes Rarely Mean SD
% % %    
Making major decisions regarding your children's lives M 8.7 2.2 86.9 4.46 1.00
F 10.2 10.3 79.5 4.30 1.58
Making day to day decisions about your children's lives M 2.2 6.5 91.3 4.65 .71
F 9.8 8.2 78.7 4.46 1.14
Discussing personal problems your children may be having M 8.7 15.2 76.1 4.15 1.23
F 16.4 14.8 60.6 4.20 1.71
Discussing school and/or medical problems M 10.8 15.2 73.9 4.07 1.20
F 19.7 14.8 60.6 4.07 1.63
Planning special events in your children's lives M 4.3 6.5 89.1 4.52 .81
F 13.1 9.8 72.2 4.36 1.56
Talking about your children's accomplishments and progress M 8.6 6.5 93.4 4.33 1.08
F 11.5 19.7 65.5 4.16 1.49
Talking about problems you are having in raising the children M 2.2 10.9 86.9 4.54 .86
F 5.2 17.9 76.9 4.31 1.03
Discussing how the children are adjusting to the divorce M 4.3 6.5 86.9 4.70 1.03
F 2.6 5.1 89.8 4.74 1.07
Discussing problems you are having with the co-parenting relationship M 6.5 10.9 76.1 4.72 1.33
F 5.2 2.6 89.8 4.64 .90
Discussing finances in regard to your children M 2.2 15.2 80.4 4.48 .94
F 10.3 12.8 74.3 4.18 1.25

Five-point scale ranging from always (1) to never (5); in the frequency distribution, always and often were combined, as were rarely and never.

In Table 4B (Time 2), mothers and fathers reported less sharing of information regarding major decisions about their child's life (19 percent), personal problems their child may have been having (25 percent) and school and/or medical problems (31 percent).

Table 5a: Time 1

Correlations among child behaviour ratings for mother, father and teacher

Teachers' ratings Fathers' ratings
Overall Internal External Overall Internal External
Mothers'
ratings
Overall .27* .13 .29* .47* .36* .48*
Internal .21 .11 .22 .48* .44* .42*
External .32* .13 .42* .35* .17 .47*
Fathers'
ratings
Overall .23 .03 .21 N/A
Internal .23 .02 .19
External .24 .00 .28

Table 5A illustrates the correlations among mother, father and teacher ratings of each of total behaviour problems, internalizing problems and externalizing problems for Time 1. The upper left quadrant shows the mother/teacher correlations. Within that quadrant, the upper left to lower right diagonal shows the correlation between mother and teacher for the same behaviour rating. There are statistically significant correlations between mothers' and teachers' ratings of externalizing (r=.42) and overall behaviour problems (r=.27). The agreement between mothers and teachers on internalizing behaviour is not statistically significant.

The upper right quadrant shows agreement between mothers' and fathers' ratings of behaviour. An examination of the diagonals illustrates that there is statistically significant agreement on ratings of each type of behaviour concerns. Finally, the lower left quadrant shows the agreement between the fathers' and teachers' ratings. No significant agreement was found. While it is true that the sample sizefor thesecorrelations was smaller than for the other two quadrants, only one correlation (r=.28 for external behaviour) was of a magnitude that had been significant in the other analyses.

Table 5b Time 2

Correlations among child behaviour ratings for mother, father and teacher

Teachers' ratings Fathers' ratings
Overall Internal External Overall Internal External
Mothers' ratings Overall .32 .21 .33 .36* .08 .50*
Internal .10 -.02 .11 .38* .20 .42*
External .46* .38* .52* .19 -.05 .35*
Fathers' ratings Overall .19 .19 .17 N/A
Internal .15 .09 .17
External .17 .17 .13

Table 5B illustrates the correlations among mother, father and teacher ratings of each of the total behaviour problems, internalizing problems and externalizing problems for Time 2. Within each quadrant the upper left to lower right diagonal represents raters assessment of the same type of behaviour problems. The upper left quadrant shows the mother and teacher correlations. There are statistically significant correlations between mothers' and teachers' ratings of the child's externalizing problems, (r=.52). The upper right quadrant shows agreement between mothers' and fathers' ratings of behaviour. There are statistically significant correlations between mothers' and fathers' ratings of overall behaviour problems (r=.36) and mothers' and fathers' ratings of externalizing problems (r=.35). Finally, the lower left quadrant shows the agreement between the fathers and teachers ratings. No significant agreement was found.

The data were also analyzed to compare custodial parent (mothers had sole custody 86 percent of the time), non-custodial parent and teacher ratings. There was a significant correlation between custodial and non-custodial parent evaluation of total behaviour problems (r=.46; N=51), as well as custodial and noncustodial parent evaluation of externalizing behaviour problems (r=.47; N=42) at Time 1. No other significant correlations were found. At Time 2, significant correlations were found between custodial parent (usually the mother) and teacher ratings of the child's externalizing behaviour problems. No other significant correlations were found.

The total sample size for children (N=65) scoring in the clinical norm cutoff (90th percentile) e.g.: T=63 for Total Behaviour Problems, Internalizing and Externalizing Behaviour Problems (Achenbach and Edelbrock, 1983) at Time 1 and at Time 2 (N=45) was less than 20 percent in both the traditional or focussed evaluation groups.

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