Impact of Child Testimony on Adult Attachment and Quality of Relationships

Grant Winners

  • Jan Faust, Ph.D. – Center for Psychological Studies
  • Timothy Arcaro, J.D. – Shepard Broad Law Center
  • Courtney Craig, B.A. – Center for Psychological Studies
  • Kelly Doyle, M.S.
  • Rebecca Heidelberg, B.S.
  • Heather Kacos, B.S.

Deans

  • Karen S. Grosby, Ed.D. – Center for Psychological Studies
  • Athornia Steele, J.D. – Shepard Broad Law Center

Abstract

Award Winners

Child involvement in court custody determinations has been drastically increasing within the past two decades. Previous research has not touched upon the long term effects on children who testify in their parents' divorce proceedings or custody hearings. This current study aims to look at quality of relationships, attachment styles, and psychological well-being of adults who have testified as children in their parents' dissolution proceedings. The purpose of this study is to obtain more information on any potential effects (both positive and negative) that divorce proceedings may have on familial relationships. Information gleaned from this study will be used in the future to inform the process that families encounter while in legal proceedings as well as to minimize the negative effects that they may experience. The study will also aim to inform court personnel on the long term effects of children's involvement in their parents' divorce proceedings. Participants who are currently undergraduate, law graduate students, or other graduate students will be recruited via flyers and academic course introduction. Measures of participants' exposure to different parenting environments, family environments, their level of fear of intimacy, and the psychological impact of testifying, will be administered. Following the data collections phase, results will be analyzed using SPSSX.9 statistical computer package. We will investigate the combination of the variables with respect to divorce status (Divorced Testified vs. Divorced Non-Testified vs. Non-Divorced) via one-factor between-subjects Multivariate Analysis of Variance. We will also assess the relative importance of each outcome variable in the presence of the other via a series of Univariate Analysis of Variance for each dependent variable. Additionally, with respect to the latter pairwise comparisons will be made.