Codie Atherton was just awarded a Master of Clinical Psychology degree after completing her thesis titled “Developing a Brief Measure of Coparenting Competence: The Coparenting Competence Scale” under the supervision of Dr Linda Campbell and Dr Chris May (Family Action Centre).
Within the family, one of the most significant relationships that occurs is the coparenting relationship. This is the one that parents share in the raising of children. Recent research by May, St George, Fletcher, Dempsey, and Newman (2017) has developed the concept of coparenting competence, which is the sense of collective parenting efficacy that parents experience in raising children, that is generated in the coparenting relationship and only exists in association with that partnership. The concept of coparenting competence bridges a gap between family systems thinking and efficacy theory wherein research has previously focused on the self-efficacy of one or either parent and not the collective efficacy within the parenting partnership.
In order to learn more about how well parents think they parent together and to enable studies in which coparenting competence is measured - in the current study - we developed a self-adminstered measure of coparenting competence – the Coparenting Competence Scale. The measure was designed by experts in collaboration with parents. The reliability and validity of the measure was tested by asking 302 participants, who were currently living together with their child and had at least one child aged 17 years or younger, to complete the measure online. The current study found support for the reliability and validity of the scale and also found that coparenting competence, assessed by the scale, is distinct from factors previously used to represent coparenting quality in multivariate measures. The current study makes an important contribution to coparenting research with the development of a reliable and valid measure of coparenting competence. The development of the scale adds to the literature by demonstrating that this newly described construct is distinct from factors previously used to represent coparenting quality in multivariate measures. The scale adds to the field of coparenting research as a standalone measure, focused on efficacy, or as another assessable factor in multivariate evaluation of coparenting quality.
Codie’s thesis will be made available on Nova – The University of Newcastle’s digital repository. We are also currently writing up the findings for publication. We will keep you posted.
We are launching a new study exploring the parenting experience of having a child with a neurodevelopmental disorder and severe behavioural challenges such as aggression. We are particularly investigating aggressive behaviours in young people diagnosed with the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorders. We would like to learn more about the types of aggressive behaviours experienced, and also to learn more about how this behaviour affects the experience of parents and the impact these behaviours have on day-to-day family stress and functioning. This is important as there are no published studies exploring this phenomenon in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome and we cannot develop appropriate interventions unless we understand the needs of people with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome and their families.
Firstly, we would like to talk to parents of children aged between 11 and 18 who have a diagnosis of 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome who are aggressive but we would also like to talk those who have children who are not aggressive. We would then like to talk to parents who have adult children with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome who were (or still are) aggressive in their adolescence.
To start off with the study is for Australian based parents only as we would like to conduct the interviews face-to-face. However, regardless of where you are from, if you have a child with the syndrome who is aggressive - and you are interested in participating in the study - send us a message and we will keep your details so we can contact you for the next phase of the study or organise alternative ways of learning more about your experiences.
Click here to read about the study and to send us a message. If it is not working you can always email us or contact us on Facebook.
Depression and anxiety symptoms during the transition to early adulthood for people with intellectual disabilities
Kristie Austin completed her Master in Clinical Psychology at the University of Newcastle back in 2015. Sometimes publications of data can take a long time but finally, we have published the findings in the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.
The study explored the transition to adulthood is a major developmental milestone; a time of self-discovery and increased independence. For young adults (YA) with intellectual disabilities (ID), however, this period is especially challenging. The increased incidence of mental health disorders in this population, such as depression and anxiety, make this transition even more difficult, increasing caregiver burden at a time when the young adult would traditionally be gaining independence. It is not clear, however, why YA with ID are more susceptible and what factors may predict mental health symptoms.
The study found that the level of insight young people had was the strongest predictor of anxiety (with gender in the controls), with increased insight predicting fewer anxiety symptoms. However, YA with ID had significantly less insight than their aged-matched counterparts and significantly higher levels of anxiety. They were also less likely to have achieved traditional adulthood milestones. Maladaptive coping was the strongest predictor of depression for YA with ID. In comparison, both maladaptive coping and insight predicted depression in controls. More maladaptive coping predicted increased depressive symptoms in both populations, whilst increased insight predicted fewer depressive symptoms in controls.
Therefore, insight and maladaptive coping are potential targets in the treatment of anxiety and depression among YA with ID. Longitudinal intervention studies exploring the efficacy of such targeted programmes in reducing mental health symptoms and improving the transition to adulthood for these young people are recommended.
To read the full paper, click on the link below;
Austin, K. L., et al. "Depression and anxiety symptoms during the transition to early adulthood for people with intellectual disabilities." Journal of Intellectual Disability Research (2018).
Hi, I am Dr Linda Campbell. I am an Academic and a Clinical Psychologist. This blog is meant to keep you in the loop about the activities of of our research lab - the FIND Lab.