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Journ. of Fam.Ther.
Family Process
perspekt. mediation
Psychoth. im Dialog
Soziale Systeme
System Familie
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Family Process Heft 3/2012
1/2012 - 2/2012 - 3/2012 - 4/2012 - Überblick

McHale, James & Maureen R. Waller (2012): Introduction to the Special Section. In: Family Process 51 (3): S. 281-283

McHale, James, Maureen R. Waller & Jessica Pearson (2012): Coparenting Interventions for Fragile Families: What Do We Know and Where Do We Need To Go Next? In: Family Process 51 (3): S. 284-306.

abstract: With a large and growing share of American families now forming outside of marriage, triangular infant-mother-father relationship systems in ‚fragile families‘ have begun to attract the interest of family scholars and clinicians. A relatively novel conceptualization has concerned the feasibility of intervening to support the development of a sustained and positive coparenting alliance between mothers and fathers who have not made an enduring relationship commitment to one another. At this point in time, there are very few published outcome studies of programs explicitly conceived to help build coparenting alliances in such families. This article reviews what we currently know from this evolving field of study, and from those related responsible fatherhood and marriage and relationship enhancement (MRE) initiatives that included any explicit targeting, strengthening, and assessment of fragile family coparenting in their designs. We summarize lessons learned thus far from Access and Visitation (AV) programs for non-residential fathers, from MRE programs for low-income, unmarried couples, and from newer programs for fragile families directly designed to target and support coparenting per se. We close with recommendations for charting this important new family process terrain

Cabrera, Natasha J., Mindy Scott, Jay Fagan, Nicole Steward-Streng & Nicole Chien (2012): Coparenting and Children‘s School Readiness: A Mediational Model. In: Family Process 51 (3): S. 307-324.

abstract: We examined the long-term direct and indirect links between coparenting (conflict, communication, and shared decision-making) and preschoolers‘ school readiness (math, literacy, and social skills). The study sample consisted of 5,650 children and their biological mothers and fathers who participated in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort. Using structural equation modeling and controlling for background characteristics, we found that our conceptual model of the pathways from coparenting to child outcomes is structurally the same for cohabiting and married families. Controlling for a host of background characteristics, we found that coparenting conflict and shared decision-making were negatively and positively, respectively, linked to children‘s academic and social skills and co-parental communication was indirectly linked to academic and social skills through maternal supportiveness. Coparenting conflict was also indirectly linked to children‘s social skills through maternal depressive symptoms. The overall findings suggest that for both cohabiting and married families, the context of conflicted coparenting may interfere with the development of children‘s social competencies and academic skills, whereas collaborative coparenting promotes children‘s school readiness because mothers are more responsive to their children‘s needs. These findings have implications for programs aimed at promoting positive family processes in cohabiting and married families.

Waller, Maureen R. (2012): Cooperation, Conflict, or Disengagement? Coparenting Styles and Father Involvement in Fragile Families. In: Family Process 51 (3): S. 325-342.

abstract: This paper draws on information from the Fragile Families Study (N=2,695) to examine how different coparenting styles emerge and are related to fathers‘ involvement with young children in a representative sample of unmarried parents. The results show that the quantity and quality of paternal involvement is significantly higher when unmarried parents establish a cooperative as opposed to a disengaged or conflicted coparenting style. Cooperative coparenting is less likely, however, when unmarried parents have separated after the birth or were never together as a couple, when fathers are unemployed or have other risk factors, when the child has a more difficult temperament, and when parents have fewer children together. This analysis also helps clarify previously equivocal findings concerning the relationship between coparenting conflict and paternal involvement. Regression results show that paternal involvement is not significantly different among parents with cooperative and mixed coparenting styles, indicating that when unmarried parents can work together and support each other‘s parenting efforts, even if they argue frequently while doing so, fathers remain more involved. At the same time, conflicted coparenting leads to a larger decrease in father involvement than disengaged coparenting. In the context of poorer-quality coparenting relationships, it was conflict that mattered for fathering, not just parents‘ inability to cooperate. Implications of these findings for parenting education programs are discussed.

Burton, Linda M. & Cecily R. Hardaway (2012): Low-Income Mothers as“Othermothers“ to Their Romantic Partners‘ Children: Women‘s Coparenting in Multiple Partner Fertility Relationships. In: Family Process 51 (3): S. 343-359.

abstract: In this article, we investigated low-income mothers‘ involvement in multiple partner fertility (MPF) relationships and their experiences as ‚othermothers‘ to their romantic partners‘ children from previous and concurrent intimate unions. Othermothering, as somewhat distinct from stepmothering, involves culturally-scripted practices of sharing parenting responsibilities with children‘s biological parents. We framed this investigation using this concept because previous research suggests that many low-income women practice this form of coparenting in their friend and kin networks. What is not apparent in this literature, however, is whether women unilaterally othermother their romantic partners‘ children from different women. How often and under what circumstances do women in nonmarital MPF intimate unions with men coparent their partners‘ children from other relationships? We explored this question using a modified grounded theory approach and secondary longitudinal ethnographic data on 256 low-income mostly unmarried mothers from the Three-City Study. Results indicated that 78% of the mothers had been or were involved in MPF unions and while most had othermothered the children of their friends and relatives, 89% indicated that they did not coparent their partners‘ children from any MPF relationship. Mothers‘ reasons for not doing so were embedded in: (a) gendered scripts around second families, or ‚casa chicas‘; (b) the tenuous nature of pass-through MPF relationships; and (c) mothers‘ own desires for their romantic partners to child-swap. Implications of this research for family science and practice are discussed.

Gaskin-Butler, Vikki T., Tina Engert, Meredith Markievitz, Camielle Swenson & James McHale (2012): Prenatal Representations of Coparenting Among Unmarried First-Time African American Mothers. In: Family Process 51 (3): S. 360-375.

abstract: Results of semistructured interviews with 45 pregnant unmarried first-time African American mothers indicated a wide range of expectancies concerning the coparenting relationship they would develop with others once their baby arrived. Most common coparenting systems projected by respondents involved maternal grandmothers and/or the babies‘ fathers, though other caregivers were explicitly anticipated in a smaller number of cases. Multiperson coparenting systems were the norm, and only 2 of 45 respondents anticipated that they would be entirely on their own with no coparental system whatsoever. Qualitative analyses of mothers‘ narratives about postbaby coparenting systems revealed five main constructions: having thought about and anticipating coparenting, positive in outlook; having thought about and anticipating coparenting, but with mild concerns (conflict, unreliability); having thought about coparenting and anticipating limited or no support; having thought about coparenting and anticipating significant conflict and nonsupport; and having not thought much about coparenting, being neither focused on nor worried about this issue. Illustrations of each of these types are provided, and directions for family science and practice are discussed.

Marchetti-Mercer, Maria C. (2012): Those Easily Forgotten: The Impact of Emigration on Those Left Behind. In: Family Process 51 (3): S. 376-390.

abstract: Much has been written about the experiences and stresses of those who emigrate. By contrast, little attention has been paid to the experiences of those who stay behind - family members and friends who for various reasons do not to join their loved ones in the destination country. In this article, I describe the experiences of some South Africans whose families and friends have emigrated. This study forms part of a larger research project focusing on the impact of emigration on South African family life. Twenty-one participants were interviewed by means of a semistructured interview at least 6 months after one or more family member(s) and/or friend(s) left South Africa, to explore participants‘ experiences around their loved ones‘ emigration. A thematic analysis of the data reveals that those left behind experience various emotions, ranging from emotional ambivalence to anger and distress. Emigration is mostly experienced as a vast loss, almost akin to a ‚death‘, bringing about significant changes in social networks and relationships. The therapeutic significance of the findings for those working with emigrant families is also explored.

De Haene, Lucia, Peter Rober, Peter Adriaenssens & Karine Verschueren (2012): Voices of Dialogue and Directivity in Family Therapy With Refugees: Evolving Ideas About Dialogical Refugee Care. In: Family Process 51 (3): S. 391-404.

abstract: In this article, we reflect on our evolving ideas regarding a dialogical approach to refugee care. Broadening the predominant phased trauma care model and its engaging of directive expertise in symptom reduction, meaning making, and rebuilding connectedness, these developing dialogical notions involve the negotiation of silencing and disclosure, meaning and absurdity, hope and hopelessness in a therapeutic dialogue that accepts its encounter of cultural and social difference. In locating therapeutic practice within these divergent approaches, we argue an orientation on collaborative dialogue may operate together with notions from the phased trauma care model as heuristic background in engaging a polyphonic understanding of coping with individual and family sequelae of forced displacement. This locating of therapeutic practice, as informed by each perspective, invites us to remain present to fragments of therapeutic positioning that resonate power imbalance or appropriation in a therapeutic encounter imbued with a social context that silences refugees‘ suffering. In a clinical case analysis, we further explore these relational complexities of negotiating directive expertise and collaborative dialogue in the therapeutic encounter with refugee clients.

Davis, Judith (2012): The Golden Pig, Reflections As Ancestral Blessings: The Reflecting Process in Teaching Family Therapy. In: Family Process 51 (3): S. 405-419.

abstract: This is an example of a postmodern, dialogical approach to teaching family therapy based on the work of such practitioners as Tom Andersen, Michael White, and Lynn Hoffman, among others. It demonstrates the way in which the reflecting process connects all of the participants in a web of meanings both educational and transformational. This particular consultation, which includes the author, her graduate students, the client, and guest participant Lynn Hoffman, ends with an unexpected ritual of intergenerational appreciation. Privileging the transcript, it is presented as a kind of theatre where the learning is revealed more through the dialogue than through authorial analysis. The experience is embedded in an ‚ethics of participation‘ (Hoffman, 1992) where social connectedness and attunement are key.

Olson, Mary E., Aarno Laitila, Peter Rober & Jaakko Seikkula (2012): The Shift from Monologue to Dialogue in a Couple Therapy Session: Dialogical Investigation of Change from the Therapists' Point of View. In: Family Process 51 (3): S. 420-435.

abstract: As part of a larger research project on couple therapy for depression, this qualitative case study examines the nature of dialogue. Drawing on Bakhtinian concepts, the investigation shows how the conversation shifts from a monologue to dialogue. Among the findings are: first, the process of listening is integral to the transforming experience. That is, the careful listening of the therapist can evoke new voices, just as the experience of one of the partners‘ ‚listening in‘ to the conversation between the other partner and the therapist can create movement and new trajectories. The latter is a qualitative difference between dialogic therapy with a couple and that with an individual. Second, the therapist not only acts as creative listener, but as the dialogue unfolds, actively contributes to meaning-making. Third, the study upholds having a team of researchers as a polyphonic forum and the usefulness of Bakhtinian concepts in clinical research on dialogue in multi-actor sessions.

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