Prevalence and community variation in harmful levels of family conflict witnessed by children: implications for prevention

Habib, Cherine, Toumbourou, John W., McRitchie, Martin, Williams, Joanne, Kremer, Peter, McKenzie, Dean and Catalano, Richard F. 2014, Prevalence and community variation in harmful levels of family conflict witnessed by children: implications for prevention, Prevention science, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 757-766, doi: 10.1007/s11121-013-0416-4.

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Title Prevalence and community variation in harmful levels of family conflict witnessed by children: implications for prevention
Author(s) Habib, Cherine
Toumbourou, John W.ORCID iD for Toumbourou, John W.
McRitchie, Martin
Williams, JoanneORCID iD for Williams, Joanne
Kremer, PeterORCID iD for Kremer, Peter
McKenzie, Dean
Catalano, Richard F.
Journal name Prevention science
Volume number 15
Issue number 5
Start page 757
End page 766
Total pages 10
Publisher Springer
Place of publication New York, NY
Publication date 2014-10
ISSN 1389-4986
Keyword(s) children
family conflict
health promotion
Summary  Abstract
Children’s reports of high family conflict consistently predict poor outcomes. The study identified criteria for high family conflict based on prospective prediction of increased risk for childhood depression. These criteria were subsequently used to establish the prevalence of high family conflict in Australian communities and to identify community correlates suitable for targeting prevention programs. Study 1 utilised a longitudinal design. Grade 6 and 8 students completed a family conflict scale (from the widely used Communities That Care survey) in 2003 and depression symptomotology were evaluated at a 1-year follow-up (International Youth Development Study, N = 1,798). Receiver-operating characteristic analysis yielded a cut-off point on a family conflict score with depression symptomatology as a criterion variable. A cut-off score of 2.5 or more (on a scale of 1 to 4) correctly identified 69 % with depression symptomology, with a specificity of 77.2 % and sensitivity at 44.3 %. Study 2 used data from an Australian national survey of Grade 6 and 8 children (Healthy Neighbourhoods Study, N = 8,256). Prevalence estimates were calculated, and multivariate logistic regression with multi-level modelling was used to establish factors associated with community variation in family conflict levels. Thirty-three percent of Australian children in 2006 were exposed to levels of family conflict that are likely to increase their future risk for depression. Significant community correlates for elevated family conflict included Indigenous Australian identification, socioeconomic disadvantage, urban and state location, maternal absence and paternal unemployment. The analysis provides indicators for targeting family-level mental health promotion programs.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s11121-013-0416-4
Field of Research 111704 Community Child Health
Socio Economic Objective 920501 Child Health
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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