Longitudinal exploration of family systems dynamic and child social adaptation in early school years (Phase 2)

***Please note that his study was completed in Summer 2018.

This study looks at the dynamics within various family systems (father-child and mother-child relationships; parent-child triad; co-parental relationship; couple relationship; sibling relationship) and how they relate to children’s social adaptation in middle childhood within a longitudinal framework. This study also looks at the quality of the interactions of these various family systems in different contexts such as the home setting, school setting and lab setting.

It has been demonstrated that fathers are getting more involved in the children’s education, yet the majority of existing research focuses on the role of mothers in relation to their child. Although the mother’s influence is very important, we believe fathers also have a role to play.

There have also been many studies on the importance of peers during middle childhood. Indeed, school-aged children do spend a lot of time at school with their friends. However, we expect that the family still remains very important. Therefore, our new phase will be a first study to observe the role of the involvement of fathers and family interactions at school age!

Another great aspect of our study is that seeing all the families that have participated in the first phase allows our project to become a longitudinal study. This means that we will be able to observe the evolution of family relationships throughout time.

In general, the second phase of the project has the same structure as the first phase of the project.  There will be one Home Visit and two Lab Visits (one with each parent) as well as questionnaires to complete online after the visits (paper questionnaire packages are also available).

The Home Visit will take approximately two hours to complete and will be audio- and video-recorded.  First, a mealtime (lunch time or dinner time) will be videotaped, followed by a brief family board game with everybody that is usually present at the home. Then, you, your partner and your child will be asked to interact as a group of three for 15 minutes. After these tasks, you and your partner will participate in a 15- minute videotaped discussion on a topic that is a source of disagreement in your relationship while your child will play a game (videotaped) with his/her siblings (or alone, if no siblings) for a period of 10 minutes.

For the Lab Visits, you and your child’s other parent will complete the Lab Visits at two different times with your child. One of you will complete the Lab Visit a month after the Home Visit, and the other parent will complete the Lab Visit, approximately 3 months later. The Lab Visit will take approximately 2 hours to complete and will be audio- and video-recorded. To begin the session, you will be asked to engage in a 5 minute free play interaction with your child. Following the free play interaction, you and your child will complete a separation-reunion procedure. During the separation, you and your child will complete different tasks in two different rooms.

You will participate in an hour long interview about your childhood and your relationship with your parents. At the same time, the RA will administer a brief measure of your child’s vocabulary, which will take 15 to 20 minutes. Please note that this activity will only occur during the first of the two lab sessions. After, your child will complete a task with the RA that requires him/her to develop some stories using doll plays. This task will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. After the doll-play task, your child will complete a self-esteem assessment and will participate in a 15-minute interactive computer task on psychological well-being. The self-esteem and the psychological well-being tasks will be replaced by self-reports of family (computer task) and sibling relationships in the second visit.

Following the interview, you will be reunited with your child. A snack will be provided for you and your child. You and your child will then participate in an emotional dialogue procedure where we would like for you and your child to remember a time when he/she felt a specific emotion and talk about what happened. This will be followed by a 2-minute playful interaction where you will be asked to think about what you do at home to make your child laugh. You will be asked to do this activity or action for 2 minutes with your child.

For the compensation, if you and your partner choose to participate in this study, you will each be given $10 for the Home Visit and 20$ for each Lab Visit that you attend as well as 10$ per online questionnaire session (2 sessions for each parent). If you do not complete or withdraw from a session you will still be given the corresponding amount. This money should cover any expenses that you may have because of the study (i.e. gas, child care). Also, for participating in this study, your child will receive a toy from our treasure chest after each lab session.

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