The study primarily pertains to the benefit of tertiary intervention program for the rehabilitation of children who have recently experienced divorce. The research is focused on providing evidence that schools can play a vital role at providing effective treatment to the children before they are referred to community healthcare service or enrolled in any such program. It will not be an oversimplification to suggest that the study is conducted to provide a systematic approach in resolving one of the most widespread social problems facing modern America.
The high rate of divorce and a prevailing nuisance of a fatherless America can have a significant effect on future generations who are raised without their inherent right to parenthood. (Blankenhorn, 1996) During the experiment, observers were keen to study the effects of treatment by monitoring the levels of verbal aggression, reasoning and violence. The final sample constituted 15 children averaging 13. 1 years. These children were picked from different walks of life and were treated for approximately three months before the final evaluation of results.
Each participant completed a Conflict Tactics Scale pre and post treatment. The questionnaires developed resembled a liker type rating scale from 0 to 6 which was used by each student to assist in the evaluation. The results of the study, as reported by children were conclusive in providing proof that there was a marked development in the behaviour of treated children. There also seemed to be a significant improvement in reducing verbal aggression and increasing reasoning to resolve conflicts.
In contrast, the statistics indicated demise in violent behaviour but the difference was insignificant to describe it as a possible reduction. Subsequently, teachers of the participating students were asked to measure the effectiveness of the treatment by assessing the overall performance of the participants in classroom. The teacher evaluation started from the first semester of each school year until the completion of the entire 12 months. Their remarks concluded that there was a definite improvement in the classroom behaviour of the children being treated.
Such improvement in classroom behaviour can directly be attributed to the decrease in verbal aggression and increased sense of reasoning due to the treatment. Research Assumptions & Limitations The study concluded that pre-referral intervention to treat behavioural problems in children of separated parents can resolve such issues before these children are enrolled in special education programs at schools. It also assumes that parental conflicts can easily spill over to schools which results in deteriorating performance at school.
Furthermore, it suggests involving community agency councillor in the treatment process because their position may offer a more in-depth look into family unit and school environment. The statistical model was based on the hypothesis that the results of treatment have a direct correlation with the performance of the children at school. Moreover, the study relied heavily on observing only the three behavioural patterns which were assumed to be the basis of all the problems.
It should be noted that each student completed a version of Conflict Tactics Scale which included question types that had the tendency to compel students to provide answers as they deem fit to their credibility. Also, the limitations of using a Likert type rating scale in managing the Conflict Tactics Scale is evident by the fact that several questions may have compelled the students to hide the actual situation. The reasoning subscale provides a reasonable example to describe the problem.
It included several options such as trying to discuss issue calmly, getting information to back one’s position or demonstrating the discussion of an issue. All these options may be perceived as a positive whereas options like arguing heatedly yet without yelling may have a negative perception. Logic dictates that students who are undergoing a social trauma is likely to pick a positive option. Regarding such situations, a research conducted at University of British Columbia focused on the limitation of Riker Type Scale to provide accurate data.
It concluded that young children may report in extreme manner when confronted with an emotional question therefore clinics and research should specifically take into account the use of self reporting questionnaire which focuses on feelings and emotional expressions. (Chambers & Johnston, 2002) Such a study also limits access to both the parents who should be considered one of the major sources of information. If accessed, there is a possibility that parents will likely provide a biased view of the entire situation due to several issues including ongoing legal proceedings.
It is also difficult to gauge attitudes and participation of participants as observer does not have direct surveillance over its subjects. Statistical Analysis Although considerable literature exists on the effects of parental dissolution on child emotional well being, the purpose of this study is unique as it strives to answer a theory regarding tertiary intervention programs. The study has highlighted important aspect of child rehabilitation which is often ignored.
However, it is noticeable that the conflict resolution model presented in the study relies on the results from self observation of the subjects that has a tendency to be biased. In fact such an observation may be the basis of self selection bias where the sample group of participants have control over the answers to almost every question regarding their behaviour. Various researchers have undertaken studies that address such problems in the quasi-experimental evaluations examining the effects of multi level data to provide valid impact estimates.
The effect of self selection bias can easily impact the final outcome as students, custodial parents and the teachers have the tendency to provide favourable results under lack of direct observation. The student may want to provide a better image by selecting the options most favourable to their personal image; a custodial parent may want to provide a better image of their treatment of child while a teacher may be biased to get credit that could help them get positive outcome of their own professional evaluation.
The study has been done in a controlled environment which spanned a considerable time period to allow effective evaluation but it is noticeable that low sample size and emphasis on only three variables might not be seen as substantial evidence to prove that the child behaviour is largely dependent on only three factors, which if controlled can rehabilitate a child effected from divorce.