Running head: OVERNIGHT STAYS AND ...

3 downloads 31 Views 456KB Size Report
... have involved infants (Pruett, Ebling, & Insabella, 2004; Solomon & George, ... likely to stay overnight than children aged 3 to 12 years (Caruana & Smyth, ...

Sydney Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09/92 September 2009

Overnight Stays and Children’s Relationships With Resident and Nonresident Parents After Divorce Judy Cashmore, Patrick Parkinson & Alan Taylor This paper can be downloaded without charge from the Social Science Research Network Electronic Library at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1474092.

Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1474092

Overnight Stays

Running head: OVERNIGHT STAYS AND CHILDREN'S RELATIONSHIPS

Overnight Stays and Children's Relationship with Resident and Non-resident Parents After Divorce Judy Cashmore, Patrick Parkinson and Judi Single Faculty of Law University of Sydney, Australia Alan Taylor Macquarie University

Correspondence concerning this paper should be addressed to Judy Cashmore at the Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, Phillip Street, Sydney 2000.

Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1474092

1

Overnight Stays

2

Abstract This study addresses questions relating to children‟s contact with their non-resident parent. Interviews were conducted in Australia with 60 young people aged 12-19 and their resident parent, and an additional 31 children aged six to 18. The likelihood of overnight stays was lower when there was conflict between the parents and when the resident parent did not feel secure about the children being in the care of the non-resident parent. Children who stayed overnight with their non-resident parent reported greater closeness and better quality relationships with their non-resident parent than those who had daytime-only contact. They also reported more awareness by the non-resident parent of their activities. This association between the perceived quality of the relationship between children and their non-resident parent and the amount of overnight contact remained significant after taking account of the overall frequency of contact and the level of conflict between the parents (as reported by the resident parent and the child). The findings suggest that overnight stays may both reflect and change the nature of the relationship between children and their non-resident parent, with no apparent downside in this regard for the relationship between children and their resident parent. There was some indication of differences associated with the gender of both the parent and the child.

Keywords: Parental separation, overnight stays, parent-child relationships

Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1474092

Overnight Stays

3

Overnight stays and Children's Relationships with Resident and Non-resident Parents After Divorce

There is a growing body of evidence that it is the quality of contact between children and their non-resident parent and what they do together rather than the frequency or quantity of contact that is beneficial for children's development and the quality of this parent-child relationship (Amato & Gilbreth, 1999; Dunn, 2003; Furstenberg & Cherlin, 1991; Kelly & Emery, 2003; Pryor & Rogers, 2001; Stewart, 2003). Increasingly, attention is being focused on the importance of real or "full service" parenting by nonresident parents and their capacity to engage in the wide variety of activities necessary to foster and maintain a quality parenting relationship (Clarke-Stewart & Hayward, 1996). As Thompson and Wyatt (1999) argue: “Divorced from the routines, settings and everyday activities of the child‟s usual life, a visiting relationship with the non-resident parent quickly becomes constrained and artificial, making it easier for fathers and their children to drift apart as their lives become increasingly independent” (p. 222). For this reason, overnight stays and extended holiday stays may be an important means of maintaining a 'real' parenting relationship because they are more likely than day-time contact or 'Disneyland' visits to give non-resident parents the opportunity to be involved in their children‟s daily activities and routines (Stewart, 1999a). As one multidisciplinary group of 18 experts noted in relation to the quality of relationships between parents and children following parental separation: Time distribution arrangements that ensure the involvement of both parents in important aspects of their children's everyday lives and routines - including bedtime and waking rituals, transitions to and from school, extracurricular and recreational activities - are likely to keep non-resident parents playing psychologically important

Overnight Stays

and central roles in the lives of their children. (Lamb, Sternberg & Thompson, 1997, p. 393) There is also evidence from two studies (one in Australia and one in US) that contact involving overnight stays is more stable and more likely to endure over time than contact involving daytime-only visits (Gibson, 1992; Maccoby & Mnookin, 1992). Mnookin and Maccoby (2002) reported that their findings suggested that “the probability of the father maintaining a connection with the child over time is greater if there are overnight visits” (p. 12). Warshak (2000a, 2003) also concluded that fathers are "more likely to maintain their connection with their children" when they have had overnight contact during the child‟s early years. One reason for this may be the greater satisfaction that non-resident fathers with overnight contact report with the contact arrangements compared with those with day-only contact (Parkinson & Smyth, 2004). There is, however, a paucity of evidence about the link between overnight and longer stays and the quality of the relationship between non-resident parents and their children, and any possible effect on the child‟s well-being. Few studies have specifically examined and separated out overnight stays or extended visits from daytime-only contact (Clarke-Stewart & Hayward, 1996; King, Harris & Heard, 2004; Seltzer & Brandreth, 1994). The findings of the few that have examined the association between overnight stays and the quality of the non-resident parent-child relationship or outcomes for the children are mixed, and, with the exception of Stewart (2003), have involved infants (Pruett, Ebling, & Insabella, 2004; Solomon & George, 1999).

4

Overnight Stays

5

What Factors might Increase or Decrease the Likelihood of Overnight Stays? While overnight stays may foster greater emotional closeness and more involvement by non-resident parents in the lives of their children, it is also possible that children who have a closer relationship with their non-resident parent may want more contact and be more likely to stay overnight with them. It is also possible that other factors may be associated with or mediate any association between overnight stays and children's relationship with their non-resident parent. Age is an obvious factor, with very young children and adolescents both less likely to stay overnight than children aged 3 to 12 years (Caruana & Smyth, 2004; Maccoby & Mnookin, 1992). There has been some concern, now being contested, that infants may not cope well with being separated from their mother for longer periods of time, and if they are being breast-fed, this makes it more difficult (Biringen, GreveSpees, Howard, Leith, Tanner, Moore, Sakoguchi, & Williams, 2002; Gould & Stahl, 2001; Lamb & Kelly, 2001; Solomon & Biringen, 2001; Warshak, 2002). While there has been little debate about the merits of overnight stays for older children and adolescents, there is some evidence that many adolescents do not stay overnight (Stewart, 2003), partly because of competing social activities (Maccoby & Mnookin, 1992). In a nationally representative study in Australia, only 76 % of children aged 4 to 13 years and 72% of adolescents aged 14 to 17 years who had contact stayed overnight (Parkinson & Smyth, 2003). Other factors concern the relationship between the parents: in particular, the level of conflict between the parents and the resident parent‟s trust in the non-resident parent to care for the children properly. A number of studies have found that the greater the conflict between the parents, the less contact there is and the less involved fathers are

Overnight Stays

6

with their children (Arditti & Bickley, 1996; Welsh, Buchanan, Flouri, & Lewis, 2004; Whiteside & Becker, 2000). Maccoby and Mnookin (1992), however, found that while there was not a strong association between the level of conflict between the parents and the likelihood of overnight stays, children were less likely to stay overnight with their father if their mother expressed misgivings about the environment in the father‟s household than if she did not (36% compared with 53%). In addition, children were also more likely to stay overnight if mothers rated the fathers as more involved before the separation. Similarly, Caruana and Smyth (2004) found that relational factors such as conflict between the parents, concerns about the children‟s safety and well-being, and perceived obstruction or disinterest were more likely to limit overnight stays than practical issues such as distance and work commitments. We have therefore focused on three questions. First, what factors are associated with an increased likelihood that children will stay overnight with their non-resident parent? Secondly, are overnight and extended stays, compared with daytime-only contact, associated with greater involvement and closer relationships between children and their non-resident parent? If so, is this association still significant after taking account of the overall frequency of contact and factors such as conflict which may affect the likelihood of overnight contact? Thirdly, is there any association between the amount and type of contact (overnight stays or daytime only contact) and the relationship between the resident parent and the child? METHOD We have drawn on data from two separate studies (Study A and Study B), which provide quantitative and qualitative data on the association between overnight stays and children's relationship with their parents, and especially with their non-resident parent.

Overnight Stays

7

Study A The participants in Study A were 60 parents and adolescents (one parent and one child per family) interviewed as part of the Australian Divorce Transitions Project (ADTP) conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies in 1997 (See Table 1 for details). This study involved a national random telephone survey of 513 parents with children under 18 at the time they separated; 214 had children aged 12 to 18 years at the time of the interview. Parents were asked at the end of their interview whether they were willing to allow the Australian Institute of Family Studies to write to their children to invite them to take part in a survey. The 60 adolescents (33 boys and 27 girls), ranging in age from 12 to 19 who agreed to participatei were interviewed by the same computer-assisted process and assured that what they said was private and that there were no right or wrong answers. If they were not able at that time to talk privately with no one overhearing what they said, they were offered the chance to make another time when they could do so. All the parent respondents were resident parents at the time of the interview. Just over half (55%) who indicated their occupation were professionals, para-professionals or managers but nearly a third of the mothers did not indicate an occupation. Just over a quarter of the sample (n = 16, 26.7%) had been involved in court action (“gone to court before a judge to settle a dispute about the children”). In another 18 cases, the family had formalized their arrangement through consent orders or by registering a parenting plan. Study B The participants in Study B were 34 children from 22 families, ranging in age from 9-19, who were interviewed in 2005/6, as part of a larger study in Sydney on children's participation in decision-making about residence and contact issues following parental separation. Their mean age was 14.1 years (SD = 2.7). Parents and children were

Overnight Stays

8

recruited for the study through family lawyers. Most (n = 26) were living primarily with their mother, but five had previously been in shared arrangements. Just over half of the families (12/22) had experienced contested proceedings. Children were asked whether they thought that overnight stays made any difference to their relationship with their nonresident parent. Measures Study A The following measures were used in Study A. Contact. Children and resident parents were asked several questions about the amount of contact the children had with their non-resident parent. Parents were asked “How often does your child/do your children speak to their other parent by telephone or letter?”. This and all other scales are reported reverse coded from the way they were presented so that higher scores indicate greater frequency of contact; in this case: 1 (never), 2 (less than once a year), 3 (once a year), 4 (every few months), 5 (once a month), 6 (2-3 times a month), 7 (once a week or more), and 8 (daily). Resident parents were also asked “How frequently does your child/do your children see their other parent?” coded 1 (never), 2 (year), 3 (school semester/holidays), 4 (month), 5 (fortnightly ie every two weeks), and 6 (each week). Children were asked “How many nights do you stay [and sleep over] at your father/mother‟s [non-resident parent‟s] place? and the time period was coded 1 (year), 2 (month), 3 (fortnight), 4 (week) and 97 (other arrangement/ eg holidays). Three further variables on overnights stays were calculated to take account of the number of overnight stays per year and the way they were structured. The first was simply an estimate of the overall number of overnight stays per year based on the number per week/month/holiday period. The second was a 4-category measure of frequency: child does not see non-resident parent at all (n = 5), day-time only

Overnight Stays

9

contact (n = 13) and stay overnight for 30 nights or less per year (n = 23) and stay overnight more than 30 nights per year (n = 19). The split on 30 nights per year was selected because 30 was the median number of overnight stays per year for those who had overnight contact, and because of the way it is distributed, it also differentiates between those who had contact arrangements of only one night every other weekend plus some of the holidays, and those who had longer stays and more than one night at a time. The third concerned the type and pattern of overnight contact, coded as 1 (no overnight stays), 2 (holiday only overnight stays) and 3 (regular overnight stays). Independent variables Conflict. Respondent parents were asked how much conflict there was with their former spouse about contact with the children both at the time of the interview and a year after separation, coded from 1 (none) to 4 (a great deal). Children were also asked how well their parents got along with each other, coded from 1 (not at all well) to 4 (very well) and whether their parents argued, coded 1 (not at all) , 2 (a little) or 3 (a lot). Trust. Respondent parents were asked whether they felt secure about the children being in the care of the other parent (1, yes; 0, no). Dependent variables Quality of parent-child relationship. Adolescents and parents were asked to rate on a 4-point scale how close their relationship was: from 1 (not at all close) to 4 (very close). The frequencies for adolescents‟ perceived closeness ratings are presented in Table 1, and are quite similar to those reported by Stewart (2003). Child and parent respondents were also asked to rate on a 4-point scale how involved their parents/they were in what goes on in their / their children‟s life, from 1 (not involved at all) to 4 (very involved).

Overnight Stays

10

Children were also asked four questions about how much each of their parents really knew about who their friends are, what they do most afternoons, where they go if they go out at night, and how they are going at school/work or study, from 1 (knows a lot) to 3 (doesn’t know at all ). The responses to the four questions were added to produce a summary score of adolescents‟ rating of their parents‟ awareness of their activities (Cronbach‟s alpha of .75 standardized for resident parent and .69 non-resident parent, respectively). Two further standardized summary scores for the overall quality of adolescents‟ relationship with (a) the resident parent and (b) the non-resident parent were based on the adolescents‟ ratings of their parents‟ involvement, closeness, and awareness of their activities (Cronbach‟s alpha of .79 standardized for resident parent and .81 non-resident parent, respectively). These scores were standardized to take account of the fact that some of the rating scales were based on 4 categories and some on 3 categories. Study B Study B included several questions on closeness and involvement in the parent-child relationship to replicate the earlier adolescent study. The interview otherwise focused more on qualitative measures. Analysis Study A The aim of the study was to identify the factors associated with adolescents being more likely to have overnight contact with their non-resident parent, and to analyze the association between contact, and especially overnight contact, and the quality of the relationship (closeness, involvement and awareness, and overall summary measure) between the child and both their parents (non-resident and resident parent). Since the sample included some fathers as non-resident parents, we did some preliminary analyses

Overnight Stays

11

to see what, if any, differences there were in the dynamics and factors affecting contact arrangements, and the relationship with the non-resident parent, when the resident parents were mothers versus fathers. There were no significant differences in the contact arrangements, related factors or in the quality of parent-child relationships associated with mothers versus fathers being the resident parent, although there were some clear trends. For example, non-resident mothers tended to live closer to their children (within 50 kilometers) than non-resident fathers, and adolescents living with their father were just as likely to stay overnight with their non-resident parent (mother) as those living with their mother but there was a trend for them to have more overnight stays with their nonresident parent and more frequent phone and written contact than those living with their mother (p = .065), consistent with Stewart's (1999a) finding. There was a trend for children living with their mother to report having a better relationship with their nonresident father than those living with their father had with their non-resident mother (standardized summary measure, p = .09); the only significant association was for the child's perception that their non-resident mother was more aware of their activities than non-resident fathers were (p = .025) but this disappeared when the number of overnight stays was taken into account. These differences/trends were taken into account where necessary in the following analyses but the groups were combined unless otherwise noted because of the small sample size. The initial analyses included bivariate correlations and simple non-parametric tests (chi-square and Fisher exact probability) to examine the association between contact arrangements (in particular, the number of overnight stays) and the age and gender of the child, the distance between the parents' households, the presence of a new partner in either home, the level of conflict as reported by the parent participant and the child, and the parent's level of trust in the other parent.

Overnight Stays

12

Bivariate correlations and chi-square analyses were also used initially to examine the association between the non-resident parent's relationship with the child (as reported by the child) and the number and patterning of overnight stays. Separate one-way analyses of variance, with Bonferroni post-hoc pair-wise comparisons, and with the frequency of overnight stays (more than 30 nights per year or fewer) as a betweensubjects factor were conducted to determine whether the various measures of the adolescents' perceptions of their relationship with their non-resident parent, and with their resident parent, differed according to the frequency of overnight stays per year. This was repeated with the sample split by gender of the child. Similarly, separate one-way analyses of variance, with Bonferroni post-hoc pairwise comparisons, and with the type and structure of contact (day-only, holiday overnight stays, and regular overnight stays) as a between-subjects factor were conducted to see whether there were any significant effects associated with the patterning of overnight contact. To test whether the main effect for overnight stays was a function of the frequency of face-to-face contact (seeing as well as staying), the overall frequency of contact (six categories ranging from 'never' to 'at least weekly') was entered as a covariate in a series of follow-up analyses of covariance. Preliminary analyses showed that its association with the various measures of the quality of the non-resident parent-child relationship (the dependent variables) was predominantly linear, so it was entered as a single degree-offreedom variable. Logistic regression analyses were also carried out to test whether the association between overnight stays and the quality of the parent-child relationship was still significant after taking account of the two factors that were associated with an increased likelihood of overnight stays – the level of conflict between the parents and whether the

Overnight Stays

13

resident parent trusted the non-resident parent to look after the children as reported by the parent participants.ii These analyses were repeated, where appropriate, to determine whether the type and structure of contact (including the number and patterning of overnight stays) between the child and their non-resident parent was associated with any differences in the quality of the relationship between adolescents and their resident parent. Study B The final set of analyses involved the data from Study B to replicate some of the associations found in Study A and to add qualitative data from children and parents in this study. RESULTS Study A The results address the three questions in order: first, what factors were associated with adolescents being more likely to have contact and, in particular, to stay overnight with their non-resident parent? Second, is there any association between contact, and especially overnight contact, and the quality of the non-resident parent relationship (closeness, involvement and awareness, and overall summary measure)? Third, is there any association between the type and amount of contact (overnight or day-only) and the adolescents‟ and resident parents‟ perceptions of their relationship?

What factors were associated with adolescents’ contact arrangements? About 90% of the adolescents were in contact with their non-resident parent (73% were non-resident fathers) according to both parent and adolescent respondents (parents, 88%; adolescents, 91%). Resident parents‟ reports and children‟s reports on the frequency of contact between children and their non-resident parent were strongly

Overnight Stays

14

correlated: r (58) = .54, p < .001. Five adolescents said they had no contact at all with either their non-resident father (two girls and one boy) or non-resident mother (two boys). While parents‟ and adolescents‟ accounts of the amount and frequency of contact varied to some extent, face to face contact was on a regular and at least two-weekly or equivalent basis for just over two-thirds of the adolescents who had contact (38/55, 69%). Most adolescents with contact (75%) also said they stayed overnight on a regular basis (a figure that is very similar to that from a nationally representative study in Australia (Parkinson & Smyth (2003)), but a quarter of the adolescents who had some contact (13/55, 25.5%) said they never stayed overnight; 12 of these 13 were living with their mother. Including those who had no contact, in total 18 adolescents never stayed overnight. The median number of overnight stays for those who did stay overnight was 30 nights per year. For 13 adolescents, ten of whom lived some distance away from their non-resident parent (over 100 kilometers or overseas), the overnight stays occurred in blocks during holiday breaks rather than the more common or standard pattern of every other weekend throughout the year. The amount of contact, including the number of overnight stays per year, was significantly associated with the level of conflict reported by parents and by children. The more conflict parents reported over contact at the time of the interview, the less likely adolescents were to stay overnight with their non-resident parent (χ 2 (2, N = 59) = 8.9, p = .012; odds ratio = 5.7). Similarly, adolescents who said their parents got on well reported more overnight stays, but not more frequent contact overall, with their nonresident parent than those who reported a less harmonious relationship ( r (60) = .29, p = .023).

Overnight Stays

15

Overnight stays were also more likely if the resident parent said they felt secure about the children being with their former partner (χ2 (1, N = 54) = 10.5, p = .001; odds ratio = 10.9). For the majority of adolescents who stayed overnight with their nonresident parent (33/41, 80.5%; one case with missing data), their respondent parent felt secure about them being there; for adolescents who had contact but never stayed overnight, two-thirds of the resident parents (8/13) did not feel secure about it. Trust in the non-resident parent was also correlated with adolescents‟ accounts of how well their parents got on with each other (r (59) = .45, p < .001). There were no differences associated with prior court action, the distance the children lived from their non-resident parent or the presence of a new partner for either the resident parent or the non-resident parent. There were near-significant trends for girls (p = .062) and older adolescents (p = .067) to be less likely to stay overnight than boys (girls: 16/25, 64%; boys: 26/30, 87%: Fisher exact probability, p = .062) and those under 16 (16+ years: 12/20, 60%; under 16: 30/35, 86%).

Is there an association between the type and amount of contact and the quality of the non-resident parent-child relationship? The estimated number of overnight stays per year (based on their frequency and pattern) was significantly correlated with the adolescents' reports of the quality of their relationship with their non-resident parent. The more overnight stays, the closer their relationship (r (60) = .30, p = .020), the more involved (r (55) = .43, p = .001), and the more adolescents reported that their non-resident parent was aware of their activities (r (55) = .40, p = .003). In addition, the overall standardized summary measure of the quality of their relationship with their non-resident parent was highly correlated with the number of overnight stays (r (52) = .64, p < .0001).iii There were, however, some marked

Overnight Stays

16

differences between boys and girls: while all the correlations were significant for boys (p < .01), this was not the case for girls (Table 2). For example, the correlation between the number of overnight stays and the summary measure was .71 (p < .001) for boys and .32 for girls; similarly for perceived level of involvement: .55 for boys (p < .001) and .31 for girls. Table 3 shows the mean ratings for each of the four measures of adolescents‟ ratings of their non-resident parent‟s closeness to them, their perceived involvement, awareness of their activities, and the overall standardized summary measure of the perceived quality of the relationship with their non-resident parent by the number of overnight stays (split on the median of 30 overnight stays per year). The five adolescents who did not see their non-resident parent at all were excluded from these analyses. Table 3 also shows the results for the four analyses of variance, all of which were significant (p < .05).iv For each measure, there was a significant difference (using Bonferroni post hoc pair-wise tests) between those who saw their non-resident parent but did not stay overnight with them, and those who stayed with them for more than 30 nights a year. With the exception of closeness, there was also a significant difference between the ratings of adolescents who stayed overnight on 30 or fewer occasions per year, and those who did so on more than 30 occasions. Adolescents who stayed overnight for more than 30 nights per year said their non-resident parent was more involved with them, and more aware of their activities, than those who stayed overnight less often - or not at all for involvement. Their overall ratings of the quality of the relationship also followed much the same pattern. Similarly, there was a significant difference between the ratings of adolescents who had day-only contact with their non-resident parent, and those who stayed overnight with them on a regular basis, as opposed to holiday stays. The ratings of those who had

Overnight Stays

17

holiday contact were intermediate between, and not significantly different from, those of either the day-only contact group or the regular overnight group, with the exception of their awareness of their activities; in this case, adolescents with holiday stays reported that their non-resident parent was less aware of their activities than those with regular overnight contact (p = .016). (Again, the differences were more marked or only found for boys, not girls.) To test whether the overnight stays effect was a function of the frequency of contact ('seeing' their non-resident parent as well as staying overnight), these analyses of variance were repeated with the overall frequency of contact (overnight stays plus other forms of contact combined) as a covariate. The difference between those who had „day-time only contact‟ and those with more than 30 overnight stays was still significant for all four measures (closeness, involvement, and awareness, and the summary measure of quality); the difference between those who had more than 30 and less than 30 overnight stays per year was also significant for awareness. Logistic regression analyses also confirmed that while overnight stays were associated with the level of conflict and trust between the parents, the association between overnight stays and the quality of the relationship between adolescents and their non-resident parent was still significant after taking account of inter-parental conflict and trust. There were significant overall differences for the amount of conflict (Wald χ2 (3; N = 59) = 8.62, p = .035) and level of trust reported by the parent respondent (Wald χ2 (2; N=54) = 7.5, p = .024), but not for the quality of the relationship between the parents reported by the child (Wald χ2 (2; N = 55) = 1.02, p = .601). None of the pair-wise differences was significant for conflict and trust, but both overall effects were significant [Wald χ2 (3; N = 59) = 8.56, p = .036) and Wald χ2 (2; N = 54) = 6.94, p = .031 respectively), when the amount of contact was included as a covariate.

Overnight Stays

18

These results suggest that the quality of the relationship between adolescents and their non-resident parents is not just a function of the frequency of overall contact or the level of conflict. While the frequency of contact overall was not a significant factor, adolescents who had more overnight stays (more than 30 nights per year) reported that their relationship with their non-resident parent was closer, and their non-resident parent was more involved and aware of what went on in their lives than those who had day-time contact only. In addition, adolescents who had regular overnight stays reported that their non-resident parent was more aware of their activities than those who had holiday stays.

Are overnight stays associated with any differences in the relationship between resident parents and their adolescent children? Not surprisingly, and consistent with other findings (Dunn, 2003), adolescents reported that they felt closer to the parent they lived with most of the time than to their non-resident parent (M = 3.5, SD = .68 and M = 3.0, SD = .91 for resident parent and nonresident parent, respectively: t (59) = 3.7, p < .001). This difference was not significant, however, if they stayed overnight for more than 30 nights per year (M = 3.32, SD = .75 and M = 3.32, SD = .67 for resident parent and non-resident parent, respectively). Similarly, adolescents reported that their resident parent was more involved with them than their non-resident parent was (M = 3.24, SD = .64 and M = 2.60, SD = .81 respectively; t (54) = 4.5, p < .001) but again, not if they had more than 30 overnight stays per year with them (M = 3.16, SD = .77 and M = 3.16, SD = .51 for resident parent and non-resident parent, respectively). They indicated that their resident parent knew more about their activities and what went on in their lives (who their friends were, what they did after school etc) than their non-resident parent did (M = 3.58, SD = .56 and M = 2.77, SD = .63 respectively: t (54) = 9.9, p < .001) but the two summary measures were

Overnight Stays

19

significantly correlated (r (55) = .48, p < .001), in contrast with the other cross-parent correlations which were not significant. Neither the type of contact („overnight stays‟ versus „daytime-only contact‟) nor the amount of overnight contact were associated with any significant differences in adolescents‟ ratings of the closeness of their relationship with their resident parent (see Table 3 for tests of significance) or their level of involvement. Nor were there any associated differences in resident parents’ perceptions of their closeness to their children or how involved they said they were in their children's lives, associated with the type or amount of contact between the children and their non-resident parents. Consistent with Fabricius (2003) and Stewart (2003), both the resident parents and the adolescents indicated that they were just as involved and close to each other regardless of the frequency of the child‟s contact or overnight stays, with their non-resident parent.v However, there were some significant correlations between the number of overnight stays and the various measures of the quality of the adolescents' relationship with their nonresident mothers, as reported by the adolescents (ranging from .55 to .60, p < .05) but the sample size (n = 14) was small.vi Study B Data from 34 children in this study replicated the findings from Study A in relation to the association between the type of contact and how close and how involved children reported their parents to be. Like the adolescents in Study A, these children and adolescents reported that they were closer to their resident parent than to their nonresident parent (M = 3.6, SD = .61 and M = 2.3, SD = 1.11 for resident parent and nonresident parent, respectively: t (33) = 6.58, p < .001), and that their resident parent was more involved in their lives (M = 3.7, SD = .54 and M = 2.1, SD = .99 for resident parent and non-resident parent, respectively: t (31) = 9.77, p < .001). Like Study A, those who

Overnight Stays

20

were staying overnight reported that they felt closer to their non-resident parent (M = 3.5, SD = .61) than those who had holiday (M = 2.3, SD = .96) or day-only contact (M = 2.1, SD = .93) or who had no face to face contact at the time of the second interview (M = 1.3, SD = .45; F (3, 29) = 13.21, p < .001). Those who had regular overnight stays also reported that their non-resident parent was more involved in their lives (M = 3.2, SD = .73) than those with holiday contact (M = 2.1, SD = .65), day-only contact (M = 1.6, SD = .75) or no face to face contact at all (M = 1.3, SD = .46: F (3, 29) = 14.55, p < .001). There was also little difference between the ratings for boys and girls, and the association between overnight stays and their relationship with their non-resident parent was significant for both boys and girls. Like the adolescents in Study A, there were no differences in the children's ratings of their resident parent's closeness and involvement associated with the type and the frequency of overnight stays. Findings from the Qualitative Data The comments the children and adolescents in both studies made about the contact arrangements with their non-resident parent provide some valuable insights into the value of overnight or extended stays and the particular aspects that mattered to them. The three most common comments were that they wanted more contact and longer periods of time together, and more flexibility in the arrangements, consistent with the findings of other studies on children's views about contact arrangements (Gollop, Smith & Taylor, 2000; Walczak & Burns, 1984: Warshak, 2003). Some children and adolescents, including some who did not stay overnight, specifically referred to the value of extended visits and staying overnight (preferably for more than one night). For example:

Overnight Stays

21

It'd be good not have to worry about the little of amount of time we have to spend together – to be able to do what we want to spontaneously without having to have it orchestrated because there is not enough time to do things that we want to do. (18-year-old girl in Study A, with no overnight contact)

Sometimes I wish the weekends were permanently like 3 days. Cos when we go down for just normal weekends, we really only get a day and then we have to go home. (9 year-old boy in Study B)

Two adolescent girls in Study B referred to the importance of routine and time together, specifically linked in one case to not feeling like a visitor with her father (Warshak, 2000b): [Is it better staying overnight?] Yeah, because it .. it gives you more time to be together. It just makes you feel comforted because you are spending that overnight time with them. Even if you're sleeping you know that they're in the next room asleep as well. Like routine, sort of thing .. cos it's like you're having a normal life with them. (17 year-old girl in Study B)

I hate day only visits. It would take me half a day just to get here and back. I think it just gives you that extra time to have dinner with them and stuff .. I'd hate to come down, have lunch and then go back .. that'd be kind of like I'm going to my friends' house (14 year- old girl in Study B)

Overnight Stays

The comments of two adolescents in Study A about the changes they would like in their contact arrangements - either in terms of 'alone time' or lack of secrecy – highlight their wish for more 'normal' time with their non-resident parent. I'd like to go camping with my dad by myself, so I could get to know him, I only just start to know him a little, I feel like I'm calling one of my friend‟s parents „dad‟, that he isn't my dad, then it's time to come home for another two years. (12-year-old boy in Study A with overseas holiday stays)

I‟d make it so I could at least spend the night or a weekend with her. It'd be better not to go on a school night cos you don't get a chance to do anything together… And it‟s always secretive and that makes things very tense. I can‟t relax in case my dad found out that I was seeing her without him knowing about it. (17 year-old girl in Study A with no overnight contact)

The wish for more time was not, however, universal, and some wanted more flexibility in the arrangements: I see him every holidays and lately it‟s been one weekend a month and every holiday and long weekend. It‟s sort of annoying because I‟ve got stuff on and the other day I wanted to go to a really, really good concert and I had to go to dad‟s. … I‟d like it to be more flexible so I can decide whether I wanted to go down …if I could just go "OK, I‟m not doing anything next weekend I‟ll come down then instead". (11 year-old girl in Study B) Several children and adolescents in families where there had been violence or very difficult relationships did not want overnight stays at all:

22

Overnight Stays

23

It was really uncomfortable – I really just didn‟t feel safe. When I was there, I was in his world and I felt like I couldn‟t escape… I used to go and see him every second weekend and it was really hard because your mates would have a party and you couldn‟t go because it‟s his time and you'd just always be real sad through the week 'cause you had to go and see this man at the end of it. It was the worst! (11 year-old boy in Study B) While not all children wanted overnight stays, their comments indicate the importance of asking children and generally provide support for Warshak's (2003) claim that "we have good reason to believe that they [children] would welcome the opportunities provided by overnight stays for laying a stronger foundation to their relationships with both parents" (p. 380).

DISCUSSION The main finding was that children and adolescents who stayed overnight reported more involvement by and a closer relationship with their non-resident parent than those who saw them but did not stay overnight or did not see their non-resident parent at all, after taking account of the overall frequency of contact. There was also some indication of a gender effect, consistent with King, Harris and Heard's (2004), with girls tending to stay overnight with their non-resident fathers less than boys, and boys rather than girls having better relationships with their non-resident parent when they stayed overnight more often and more regularly. The link between overnight stays and the quality of children's relationship with their non-resident parent may be interpreted in several ways (Dunn, 2003). On the one hand, children who stay overnight may become closer to their non-resident parent. Alternatively, children who have a better relationship with their non-resident parent may

Overnight Stays

24

be more likely to want to stay overnight, and older adolescents are more likely to be able to get there independently. As Buchanan, Maccoby and Dornbusch (1991) concluded, the effects may operate in both directions, and there may also be complex interactions and feedback loops with the non-resident parent providing a buffer where the child is having difficulties with the resident parent (Kelly & Emery, 2003; Simons, Whitbeck, Beaman, & Conger, 1994). Cross-sectional data does not allow the direction of effect, or changes over time, to be determined but a longitudinal study may be helpful in teasing these out. If it is reasonable to suppose that for many children, the quality and closeness of the relationship is an outcome of having sustained periods of time together which includes overnight stays, there are several reasons why this might be so. As indicated earlier, overnight stays may allow and engender a different form of parenting from daytime-only contact. This may be a function both of time and of the different activities involved in overnight stays. Overnight stays and daytime-only contact are qualitatively different in that, in overnight stays, time is usually “less constrained and structured” and encompasses the routines, everyday activities and “dynamics that typically characterise family life” (Caruana & Smyth, 2004). This means that the non-resident parent – more often the father – has to move beyond the „support‟ role that fathers often play within a marriage and the recreational role they may otherwise play in daytime contact after separation (Stewart, 1999a, 1999b). Having children stay overnight involves providing meals, preparing children for bed and for school, monitoring their activities, setting limits, and comforting them (Kelly & Lamb, 2000; Pryor & Rodgers, 2001; Warshak, 2000b). While non-resident fathers may initially lack confidence in this new role, there is some evidence that they pick up the skills and confidence and are significantly more satisfied with the contact arrangements than when they had day-only contact (Smyth,

Overnight Stays

25

2004; Parkinson & Smyth, 2004). This may be one reason that overnight contact has been found to be more durable than daytime-only contact (Maccoby & Mnookin, 1992). Regular or extended overnight contact arrangements where children feel that they have two homes and the space to keep their own things may also avert the transformation in the relationship that occurs when non-resident parents become 'Disneyland dads' and their children are "visitors" who need to be hosted and entertained (Warshak, 2000b). In the words of the 14 year-old girl cited in the study, "I'd hate to come down, have lunch and then go back .. that'd be kind of like I'm going to my friends' house". Forestalling the decline to a 'visiting' relationship is likely to be easier if the non-resident parent has the resources to provide such a home-base where, for example, children can have their own bedroom (Parkinson & Smyth, 2004). Shared time and involvement in everyday activities, not just leisure-time activities, are also conducive to children, and especially adolescents, talking with their parents in a more relaxed manner about their activities, who their friends are and how they are going at school (Stewart, 2003; Waizenhofer, Buchanan, & Jackson-Newsom, 2004). This allows their non-resident parent to be aware of their children's activities and involved in their lives, and to provide some monitoring and advice, which is in turn protective and related to better school performance and less acting-out (Dubas & Geris, 2002; Stattin & Kerr, 2000). There are also potential benefits for resident parents from more durable overnight stay arrangements, especially if they are relieved of the burden of negotiating changes in the contact arrangements which many parents find difficult (Maccoby & Mnookin, 1992). Overnight stays allow resident parents to have a break from the full-time care of their children (Clarke-Stewart & Hayward, 1996), and "full service parenting" by the nonresident parent might avert the resentment that resident parents may feel when the non-

Overnight Stays

26

resident parent becomes the 'fun parent' and they are responsible for the 'routine' aspects (Warshak, 2000b). It is also possible that their support and investment in the child‟s relationship with their non-resident parent could strengthen their own relationship with their adolescent children. Although the current study found little difference in the quality of the resident parent's relationship with their children associated with the presence or absence of overnight or extended stays, further research with larger samples would allow a break-down by the gender of the resident parent and the gender of the child that might reveal effects or interactions that are suggested by the trend data in this study (Stewart, 1999b). It seems then that overnight stays may both reflect and change the nature of the relationship between the child and their non-resident parent – with no apparent downside for the resident parent. It is also likely that overnight stays may serve as a marker for other factors and for “deeper contextual issues that need to be explored in terms of family dynamics” (Smyth & Ferro, 2002, p. 55). These include the level of conflict and trust between the parents, and parents‟ income and capacity to provide accommodation that is suitable for overnight stays (Parkinson & Smyth, 2004). Consistent with Maccoby and Mnookin‟s (1992) study, when resident parents reported that they did not feel secure about the children being with their non-resident parent, the children were significantly less likely to stay overnight. Similarly, overnight contact was less likely where conflict between the parents was higher. The link between trust, conflict and the likelihood of overnight stays suggests that mothers may control the amount and kind of contact children have with their non-resident parent (Seltzer & Brandeth, 1994). The association between the quality of the relationship between children and their non-resident parent – as perceived by the children – was, however, significant after

Overnight Stays

27

taking account of the level of conflict and trust between the parents, and the overall frequency of contact. The evidence from this study therefore suggests that children and adolescents could benefit from overnight stays in terms of their relationship with the non-resident parent even where there has been high conflict, if parents can be assisted to deal with the issues which make it difficult for them to agree about overnight contact. In some cases, serious concerns about child protection may contra-indicate overnight stays. However, in other situations, therapeutic programs to assist separated parents may help resolve the legitimate concerns that resident parents may have about the wellbeing of the children in the care of the other parent while staying overnight. As Smart and Neale (1999) observed, “Pre-divorce parenting may be a poor preparation for post-divorce parenting, and the skills, qualities and infrastructural supports required for the former may be rather different to those required for the latter” (p. 46). Services which can help fathers, in particular, to manage the transition to the role of sole caregiver, and therapeutic interventions which could help to resolve both the legitimate and the unfounded concerns primary caregivers may have about the well-being of children if they are to be in the care of the other parent for extended periods, may do much to overcome the barriers to closer relationships between non-resident parents and children. There is also a need for further research on the patterns and structure of nonresident parents‟ contact and parenting with their children to extend the small body of empirical research on overnight stays and overcome the limitations of this study. The small sample size means that the results must be interpreted with caution although the replication of some of the findings in both samples adds some weight to these findings. The small sample size also restricts the type of multivariate analyses that could be conducted and does not allow the more fine-grained analyses that could take account of

Overnight Stays

28

both the gender of the non-resident parent and the gender of the child. The second limitation is that these data do not include responses from non-resident parents although it is arguable that children might be better judges of the parent-child relationship than either parent (Stewart, 2003). The third limitation is that these are cross-sectional data which do not allow any conclusions about causation or the direction of effect. Longitudinal data with consistent, more comprehensive and theoretically based measures of relationship quality (Amato & Gilbreth, 1999) and contact quality, and particular attention to the differences between daytime-only contact and overnight and long holiday stays, would be helpful to map changes in the residence and contact arrangements and the quality of the relationships.

Overnight Stays

29

REFERENCES Amato, P. & Gilbreth, J. (1999). Nonresident fathers and children's well-being: a metaanalysis. Journal of Marriage & Family, 61, 557-573. Arditti, J. & Bickley, P. (1996). Fathers' involvement in mothers' parenting stress postdivorce. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 26, 1-23. Biringen, Z., Greve-Spees, J., Howard, W., Leith, D., Tanner, L., Moore, S., Sakoguchi, S. & Williams, L.M. (2002). Commentary and Response to articles in previous issues: Commentary on Warshak‟s “Blanket restrictions: Overnight contact between parents and young children. Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 40, 204-207. Buchanan, C. M. Maccoby, E. E., & Dornbusch, S. M. (1991). Caught between parents: Adolescents‟ experiences in divorced homes. Child Development, 62, 1008- 1029. Caruana, C. & Smyth, B. (2004). Daytime-only contact. In B. Smyth (Ed). Parent-child contact and post separation and parenting arrangements (pp. 69-84). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies. Clarke-Stewart, K.A. & Haywood, C. (1996) Advantages of father custody and contact for the psychological well-being of school-age children. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 17, 239-270. Dubas, J.S. & Geris, J.R.M. (2002). Longitudinal changes in time parents spend in activities with their adolescent children as a function of child age, paternal status, and gender. Journal of Family Psychology, 16, 415 -427. Dunn, J. (2003). Contact and children‟s perspectives on parental relationships. In A. B. Bainham, M. Lindley, Richards & L. Trinder (Eds.), Children and their families contact, rights and welfare (pp. 15-32). Oxford: Hart.

Overnight Stays

30

Fabricius, W.V. (2003). Listening to children of divorce: New findings that diverge from Wallerstein, Lewis and Blakeslee. Family Relations, 52, 385-396. Furstenberg, F. & Cherlin, A. (1991). Divided families: What happens to children when parents part. Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press. Gibson, J. (1992). Non-custodial fathers and access patterns (Research Report No. 10). Canberra: Family Court of Australia. Gollop, M. M., Smith, A. B., & Taylor, N.J. (2000). Children's involvement in custody and access arrangements after parental separation. Child and Family Law Quarterly, 12, 383-399. Gould, J.W.& Stahl, P.M. (2001). Never paint by the numbers. A response to Kelly & Lamb (2000), Solomon & Biringen (2001) and Lamb & Kelly (2001). Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 39, 372-376. Kelly, J.B. & Emery, R.E. (2003). Children‟s adjustment following divorce: Risk and resilience perspectives. Family Relations, 52, 352–362. Kelly, J.B. & Lamb, M.E. (2000) Using child development research to make appropriate custody and access decisions for young children, Family & Conciliation Courts Review, 38(3), 297-311. King, V., Harris, K.M. & Heard, H.E. (2004) Racial and ethnic diversity in nonresident father involvement. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 66, 1-21. Lamb, M.E. & Kelly, J.B. (2001). The continuing debate about overnight visitation: Using the empirical literature to guide the development of parenting plans for young children: A rejoinder to Solomon & Biringen. Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 39, 365-371.

Overnight Stays

31

Lamb, M.E., Sternberg, R. & Thompson, R.A. (1997). The effects of divorce and custody arrangements on children's behavior, development, and adjustment. Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 35, 393- 404. Maccoby, E.E. & Mnookin, R.H. (1992). Dividing the child: social and legal terms of custody. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. Mnookin, R.H. & Maccoby, E.E. (2002). Facing the dilemmas of child custody. Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, 10, 54-88. Parkinson, P. & Smyth B, (2003). When the difference is night & day: Some empirical insights into patterns of parent–child contact after separation. Paper presented at the 8th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne, 2003, available at http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/afrc8/papers.html#p. Parkinson, P., & Smyth, B. (2004). Satisfaction and dissatisfaction with father–child contact arrangements in Australia. Child and Family Law Quarterly, 16, 289-304. Pruett, M.K., Ebling, R., & Insabella, G. (2004). Critical aspects of parenting plans for young children interjecting data into the debate about overnights. Family Court Review, 42, 39 - 59. Pryor, J. & Rogers, B. (2001). Children in changing families: Life after parental separation. Melbourne: Blackwell. Seltzer, J. A., & Brandreth, Y. (1994). What fathers say about involvement with children after separation. Journal of Family Issues, 15, 49-77. Simons, R. L., Whitbeck, L. B., Beaman, J., & Conger, R. D. (1994). The impact of mothers' parenting, involvement by nonresidential fathers, and parental conflict on the adjustment of adolescent children. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 56, 356-374. Smart, C. & Neale, B. (1999). Family Fragments? Cambridge: Polity Press.

Overnight Stays

32

Solomon J. & Biringen, Z. (2001). The continuing debate about overnight visitation: Another look at the developmental research: Commentary on Kelly and Lamb‟s “Using child development research to make appropriate custody and access decisions for young children”. Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 39, 355364. Solomon, J., & George, C. (1999). The development of attachment in separated and divorced families. Effects of overnight visitation, parent and couple variables. Attachment and Human Development, 1, 2-33. Smyth, B. (2004). (Ed.) Parent-child contact and post-separation and parenting arrangements. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies. Smyth, B. & Ferro, A. (2002). When the difference is night and day. Family Matters, 63, 54 –37. Stattin, H., & Kerr, M. (2000). Parental monitoring: A reinterpretation. Child Development, 71, 1072-1085. Stewart, S. D. (1999a). Disneyland dads, Disneyland moms? How nonresidential parents spend time with absent children. Journal of Family Issues, 20, 539-556. Stewart, S. D. (1999b). Nonresident mothers' and fathers' social contact with children. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 894-907. Stewart, S. (2003). Nonresident parenting and adolescent adjustment: The quality of nonresident father- child interaction. Journal of Family Issues, 24, 217-244. Thompson, R.A. & Wyatt, J.M. (1999). Values, policy, and research on divorce: Seeking fairness for children, in R.A. Thompson & P. R Amato (Eds.). The postdivorce family: Children, parenting and society (pp. 191-226). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Overnight Stays

33

Waizenhofer, R.N., Buchanan, C.M., & Jackson-Newsom, J. (2004). Mothers' and fathers' knowledge and adolescents' daily activities: its sources and its links with adolescent adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 18, 348-360. Walczak, Y. & Burns, S. (1984). Divorce: The child's point of view. London, Harper & Row. Warshak, R. A. (2000a). Blanket restrictions: Overnight contact between parents and young children. Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 38, 422-445. Warshak, R. A. (2000b). Social science and children's best interests in relocation cases: Burgess revisited. Family Law Quarterly, 34, 83-113. Warshak, R.A. (2002). Who will be there when I cry in the night? Revisiting overnights – A rejoinder to Biringen et al. Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 40, 208218. Warshak, R.A. (2003). Payoffs and pitfalls in listening to children. Family Relations, 52, 373- 384. Welsh, E., Buchanan, A., Flouri, E. & Lewis, J. (2004). ‘Involved’ fathering and child well-being: Fathers’ involvement with their secondary-school-aged children. York: National Children's Bureau and Joseph Rowntree Foundation Whiteside, M.F., & Becker, B.J. (2000). Parental factors and the younger child's post divorce adjustment: A meta-analysis with implications for parenting arrangements. Journal of Family Psychology, 14, 5-26.

Overnight Stays

34

AUTHOR NOTE

The original data for Study 1 are from the Australian Divorce Transitions Project (ADTP) conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies and are available from the Australian Social Sciences Data Archive ASSDA Study no. D1042 and Study D1043. The principal investigators on the Australian Divorce Transitions Project (ADTP) adult project were Kathleen Funder, Grania Sheehan, Bruce Smyth and Belinda Fehlberg, and on the Children's study (no. D1043) were Kathleen Funder and Grania Sheehan.

While the principal investigators bear no responsibility for the further analysis or interpretation of the data presented in this paper, the present authors acknowledge their valuable role in the conceptualisation and conduct of the study, without which this paper would not have been possible. The data from Study 2 came from a study funded by the Australian Research Council. We are grateful to Bruce Smyth, Jacqueline Goodnow, and the reviewers for their constructive comments and criticism on the earlier drafts of this paper.

Overnight Stays

35

Table 1 Description of Sample A and Sample B ________________________________________________________________________ Sample A Mean

SD

Sample B Mean SD

Age at interview (years) Children

14.7

1.9

13.0

2.9

6.2

2.4

5.4

2.8

13.4

4.5

11.9

7.1

N

%

N

%

Boys (n = 33)

22

66.7

(n = 13) 12

92.3

Girls (n = 27)

22

81.5

(n = 18) 16

88.8

Involved in court action

16

26.7

16

51.6

Overnight stays

42

70.0

13

41.9

6

10.0

1

3.2

Quite close

19

31.7

9

29.0

Very close

35

58.3

21

67.7

5

8.3

12

38.7

Not at all/not very close

12

20.0

5

16.1

Quite close

23

38.3

8

25.8

Very close

20

33.3

6

19.3

Time since separation Length of marriage

Living with mother

Closeness to resident parent Not at all/not very close

Closeness to non-resident parent No contact at all

Overnight Stays

36

Table 1 continued Description of Sample ________________________________________________________________________ Sample A

N

%

Less than 15 kms

18

30.5

15-49 kms

14

23.7

50- 99 kms

3

5.1

100-500 kms

6

10.1

Over 500 kms

14

23.7

Distance from non-resident parent

Overnight Stays

37

Table 2 Correlations involving Adolescents’ Reports on Relationship with Resident (RP) and Non-Resident Parent (NRP) with conflict as reported by Child and Resident Parent, and Descriptive Statistics (N = 60) ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Sample A Boys Girls N = 60 ___________________ Non-resident parent (NRP)/ Other Variables

N = 33 _________________________

N = 27 _____________________

Overnight

Conflict

Conflict

Overnight

Conflict

Conflict

Overnight

Conflict

Conflict

stays

RP

Ca

stays

RP

Child a

stays

RP

Child a

1. Conflict (RP) a

.26*

2. Conflict (C)

.29*

3. Trust (RP)

.44**

.13

.45***

.36*

-.35*

-.36*

.44*

-.10

-.57

4. Close to NRP (C)

.30*

.29*

.28*

.44*

-.45*

-.55*

.13

.01

-.30

5. NRP Involved (C)

.43***

.18

.51***

.53***

-.54*

-.31

.30

-.30

- .21

6. NRP aware (C)

.40**

.34*

.49**

-.68***

-.59**

.21

-.29

- .03

7. Summary NRP (C)

.64***

.53***

.71***

-.69***

-.53**

.32

-.17

- .10

.45***

.53*** .07

.11

Overnight Stays

38

Table 2 continued _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Sample A

Boys

Girls

N = 60 ___________________________

N= 33 _________________________

N = 27 _________________________

Resident parent (RP)

Overnight

Variables

Conflict

Conflict

Overnight

stays

RP

C

stays

8. Close to RP (C)

.14

.20

.10

.22

9. RP Involved (C)

.08

.06

.06

10. RP Aware (C)

.04

.21

.21

11. Summary RP-C (C)

.19

.24

.23

12. Close to C (RP)

.01

.28*

13. Involved with C (RP)

.10

.19

Conflict

Conflict

Overnight

Conflict

Conflict

RP

Child a

stays

RP

Child a

.13

.19

.47*

.19

.19

.25

.07

.13

.03

.11

.03

-.37

.09

.30

.23

.18

.23

.43***

.05

.31

.11

.00

.26

.11

.03

-.21

.13

.05

-.03

.17

.06

.19

.13

-.26

.05

-.03

.36

Overnight Stays

Notes to Table 2 a

Conflict (C) as reported by the child refers to the question and related scale: How well do your parents get on? This has been reverse

coded to make it consistent with conflict as reported by the resident parent. (Letters in parentheses indicate whose report it was.) * p < .05

** p < .01

*** p < .001.

39

Overnight Stays

40

Table 3 Adolescents’ Mean Ratings of Parent-Child Relationship by Amount and Type of Contact with Non-resident Parent

Measure

Daytime only

Overnight Overnight 30 nights per yr _______________________________________________________________ Mean

SD

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

Analyses of variance _____________________ F

df

η2

p

_______________________________________________________________________________ Perceived relationship with non-resident parent Closeness

(Males)

Involvement

(Males, Females) (Males)

Awareness

Overall quality

(Males)

2.5 a

.88

3.3 a, b

.81

3.3 b

.67

4.68

2, 52

.013

.229

2.1 a, b

.64

2.4 c

.84

3.2 b, c

.50

8.96

2, 52

.001

.287

3.5 a

.46

2.2 a, b

.52

2.8 b

.46

8.18

2, 52

.001

.155

0.4 a ,b

.93

1.2 a, c

.64

1.9 b, c

.83

13.72

2, 45

.001

.244

3.5

.78

3.6

.66

3.4

.68

.41

2, 52

ns

3.3

.63

3.2

.61

3.2

.64

.11

2, 52

ns

2.5

.41

2.6

.52

2.6

.43

.78

2, 52

ns

1.6

.96

1.3

1.1

1.8

.91

1.35

2, 49

ns

Perceived relationship with resident parent Closeness

(Females)

Involvement Awareness

(Males)

Overall quality (Males)

Overnight Stays

41

Notes to Table 3: Ratings with the same superscript in each line were significantly different (p < .05). Measures marked with superscript (male/female) indicate that were differences by gender of child.

Overnight Stays

42

NOTES

i

The 60 parents whose children were interviewed were very similar to the overall

sample of 214 parents with children aged 12 to 18 at the time of the interview in terms of age, occupation, court involvement (eg., 23.8% compared with 26.7%) and the frequency of contact they reported between the children and the non-resident parent (eg., 11.5% compared with 12.1% said their children never saw the non-resident parent). ii

These factors were either inherently dichotomous or else the responses were

distributed in such a way as to make analysis of a dichotomous version more appropriate than analysis of the original variable. iii

These correlations were very similar to those obtained by using the frequency

categories ('never' to 'at least weekly') but the numbers of overnight stays provides more information eg where a child stays overnight every two weeks as well as on holidays. Partialling out the effect of the parent respondent's occupational status made little difference to the correlations between overnight contact and the measures of the quality of the relationships. iv

There was some difference between the results for male and female

adolescents with significant results for males but not for females for some measures but the groups were so small when divided by gender (only four male adolescents who had day-only contact, for example) that these results are not reliable. They do, however, point

Overnight Stays

43

to a trend. Where there were significant differences by gender, these measures are marked in Table 3 in superscript. v

Children also rated their relationship with their resident parent as being

significantly less close (p < .001) and as having lower levels of involvement than their resident parent did (p < .001). This was the case for both boys and girls but girls' ratings on closeness were significantly correlated with those of their resident parent (r (27) = .400, p =. 008), while boys' were not (r (33) = .17, p =. 33); neither were significantly correlated for involvement (girls, r = .33, p = .09, and boys, r = .15, p = .09). vi

Again, there were indications of some differences for male adolescents (on the

overall quality of the relationship) and for girls on closeness, with boys feeling closer to their resident parent (mother) when they had some overnight contacts with their nonresident father. The numbers in each group are, however, small.