Social Science Update: Does spanking negatively affect children and families?

The answer to this question has changed over time. In the 1950’s, virtually everyone spanked and set strong rules for their children. In the 1960’s and 70’s, parents were more relaxed and trusted that children needed to learn by trial and error. Later, there was a phase of helicopter parenting that involved no corporal punishment. However, a 2013 Harris poll found that four out of five American parents spank their children. Why is this?

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Social Science Update: What are the effects of father and mother parenting on children’s mental health in high and low conflict divorces?

In 2008, social scientists conducted a study that looked at 182 family participants. The scientists reviewed court records every six months for three years. This study involved couples who were divorced and mothers who had primary physical custody of their children. Fathers were also interviewed. This study utilized a number of scales to rate conflict frequency, intensity, degree of resolution of interpersonal conflict, and how often parent’s argued about a range of topics such as discipline.

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Social Science Update: Does a presumption of joint physical custody in the law make any difference in cases involving domestic abuse?

In 2011, social scientists looked at the effect of the 1997 change to Oregon’s custody law. The law changed to include the presumption that joint physical custody is in the best interests of the children of divorce. The study review 500 randomly selected files of cases involving children for three years before the change in the law and for five years after the change in the law.

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Social Science Update: What is effect of childhood stress on health across the lifespan?

In 2008, social scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study that looked at the effects of positive stress, tolerable stress, and toxic stress on children. The study looked at 17,000 adults of which almost 2/3 reported one type of stress and more than 20% reported multiple types of stress.

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Social Science Update: What is the relationship status among families with children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)?

In 2012, social scientists conducted a population based study that looked at over 77,000 children ages 3-17. Of these children, 913 were reported to have a current ASD diagnosis and 1,412 had been diagnosed with ASD in the past. This study looked at family composition, co-morbid conditions, and maternal mental and physical health.

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Social Science Update: What is the influence of divorce on reports of and desires for maternal and paternal involvement in young adults?

In 2009, social scientists conducted a study that looked at 1,376 college students. The study used retrospective reports of the young adults: 25% from divorced families and 75% from intact families. The average age at the time of divorce was 8. Participants filled out questionnaires that assessed 20 domains of parental involvement. This included caregiving, companionship, and discipline.

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Social Science Update: Are mediation agreements an appropriate divorce tool in families with a history of intimate partner violence?

In 2012, social scientists did a study to examine mediated agreements in initial divorces, paternity cases, and post-divorce modifications. The study looked at intimate partner violence in the context of these mediated agreements.

 

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Social Science Update: What are the predictors of supportive co-parenting after relationship dissolution among at-risk parents?

In 2011, social scientists conducted a study that looked at nearly 5,000 mothers and 4,000 fathers who were dating, cohabiting, or married at some point during their child’s first three years of life. The scientists rated supportive co-parenting on a six item scale when the children were ages 1, 3, and 5. The scale measured cooperation, communication, and parents respecting and valuing each other’s parental roles. It looked at the current and prior relationship status with the other parent. The study also looked at the child’s temperament.

 

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Social Science Update: What is the relative risk regarding the timing of divorce in families of children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

In 2010, social scientists conducted a study that looked at 391 parents of children with ASD. To qualify for the study, the families had to have a child that was 10 or older at the start of the study with an ASD diagnosis. The study consisted of two to three hour interviews in the home with the parents. The parents also completed phone interviews and written questionnaires.

 

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Social Science Update: What are the trajectories of internalizing, externalizing, and grades for children who have and have not experienced their parent’s divorce or separation?

In 2006, social scientists conducted a study that looked at 97 children who experienced divorce between the ages of kindergarten through grade 10. The scientists conducted in depth interviews with the mothers in their homes and looked at the children’s grades.

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Social Science Update: How do post-divorce care arrangements impact different age groups of young children?

In 2011, social scientists conducted a study that looked at post-separation parenting arrangements for infants and toddlers. This study examined the impact of child care arrangements on infants under the age of two, children ages two to three, and four to five year olds. The study focused on patterns of care as rare if any overnights, overnights of at least once per month but less than once per week, and at least once per week.

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Social Science Update: What are the rates and predictors of divorce among parents of youth diagnosed with ADHD?

In 2008, social scientists conducted a study that looked at 244 children diagnosed with ADHD. The scientists gathered data from the parents of adolescents and young adults with and without ADHD via telephone surveys. The study focused on how many years after the birth of the child the divorce occurred, the number of years the couple was married before the birth of a child with or without ADHD, the severity of ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder (CD), and the diagnoses of the parents.

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Social Science Update: How does shared overnight care after separation interact with complex developmental or family circumstances to influence children’s psychological and emotional outcomes?

In 2011, social scientists conducted a study regarding post-separation parenting arrangements that involved ongoing parental conflict. This study looked at mediation participants with high conflict and high psychological hostility toward the other parent. The study looked at shared care arrangements in which the children spent 35% of overnights with each parent by looking at four groups: continuous primary care, continuous shared care, changed arrangements, and rare to no contact. This study involved 133 families with 260 children and was based upon research interviews at four points in time with mothers, fathers, and children with the average age of the children being 13.

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Social Science Update: Is the partner who decides to initiate a divorce more attractive than the partner who does not initiate?

In 2009, social scientists did a study to compare the attractiveness levels of partners in a divorce. The study focused on individuals who initiated the divorce versus those who did not initiate the divorce. The study looked at 580 divorced individuals between the ages of 20 and 60.

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