Variation within the families of Low Income, Unwed Parents

Variation within the families of Low Income, Unwed Parents

Variation within the Families of Low Income, Unwed Parents Heartland Conference 2014 Family As An Emotional Unit Theoretical basis A key discovery by Dr. Bowen The family as the emotional unit which contains the biologically reproducing pair. The total family organism and emotional system within it

are key to the couples functioning Variation in maturity and adaptability of family units is directed by the level of differentiation & chronic anxiety. A reproducing pair guided by the family unit, the unit effected by the pair. This presentation will review data from a grant with low income unwed expectant couples and the current results. 2 2006-2011 Neighbor agency (Healthy Families) asked KC Center to participate in a Healthy Marriage

Demonstration Grant. Grant Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families(ACF), US Dept of health & Human Services launched Building Strong families(BSF) project. Oct. 2006 5 yr. grant awarded. Requested permission from the Bowen Center to use their Family Interview Guide as a starting point. After the grant ended, the effort to compile the information continues today on a primarily volunteer basis. Serve Low-Income Unwed Expectant or New Parents and

provide them with assessment & evaluation, marriage education, & family support services. Impact of the targeted approach on measures such as relationship stability and quality, and child well-being measures. 3 The KC Center for Family & Organizational Systems was charged with family evaluations. When a couple enrolled in the Healthy Families marriage education program, the KC Center conducted a family evaluation with each couple. Over 100 pieces of information were collected on both the mothers and fathers families for each couple. This was done

in the effort to try and map these young families and look at the vulnerabilities and relationship resources. A one year follow up for each couple was attempted. 4 THEORETICAL THINKING AT THE BEGINING Immaturity mature Very interdependent moving towards independence Wide age spread

same generation, similar age Chaotic reproduction oops baby with further orderly reproduction Emotional Cut-off &/or chronic dependency multiple contacts- easy & useful tension more relaxed Low proximity higher proximity Higher chronic symptom load lower chronic symptom load Emotional reactivity dominates

thoughtful goal directed behavior Less likely couple co-parents more likely couple co-parents High level of interdependency moderate/lower level of interdependency 5 Just a few references The Effects of Stalins Purge on Three Generations of Russian Families Katherine Baker, DSW and Julia Gippenreiter, PhD 1996

The major finding of the study is the strong negative correlation between the factors of cutoff ( for both the maternal and paternal lines) and basic functioning in the grandchild generation. Crudely put, the lowest maturity systems start with more symptoms, more stressors, a demanding emotional environment, and a multigenerational history of those same features. Whether a system produces new stressors, new emotional burdens, or new

opportunities. James E Jones PHD Mark Flinn, PhD U of Missouri, Columbia A family interview was done usually at their home. The interviews were done by masters level staff all with extensive training in family systems and an understanding of the ideas behind the assessment process. This produced a written narrative, quantitative values that were assigned to a range of characteristics, and a family diagram generated for each family. Due to the large amount of

information collected on each mother and father and their extended family unit, an Access table was made to compile information in a convenience sample of 92 cases. This enabled observations of patterns within these families. 9 Evolution of Pilot Study with a Descriptive Goal The process and data collected evolved into a pilot study of the variables that describe this population

Naturalistic: done at the very beginning of the program and one year FU .001 of research development Tool development, interview processes, and a hypothesis generating Primary goal: What do we have here? Descriptive 10 Functional Facts collected on each mother and father and their newborn

Date of Birth, Birth order (baby) Address, Educational Level Occupation, Exit from home

Distance from each of their parents Spacing of baby from other children, # of other children, # of stillbirths, miscarriages, abortions # of children together & individually Relationship status Residential mobility & status Symptom category, count & intensity for the 3 11 Functional Facts collected on each couple

Nuclear emotional process: couple conflict, partner dysfunction, projection and emotional distance Stressors: Intensity, count for each individual and as a couple, acute/chronic Emotional cutoff/contact Extended Family Stability &Intactness Number of other agencies involved Prognosis & comments 12

Functional Facts collected on the Parents of the young couple (Grandparents) Geographic distance of each Birth order Symptom type, count & intensity For this presentation the data on age, proximity, birth order and symptom count will be described. 13

Couple Vulnerabilities The family evaluation provided data that illustrated : A combination of family variables that signals underlying emotional processes in relationships that lower or improve the odds of the couple staying together and/or co-parenting. It also indicates their level of functioning. 14

Age Are the couples ages correlated? Yes Age predictability Age spread of the couples Surprisingly, there was more of an age spread than anticipated. There were some couples with a wide age spread with younger mothers and older fathers. Most are young. One risk or vulnerability for these couples appears to be an age spread.those that fall outside the means

are at greater risk if combined with other risk factors or vulnerabilities to remain or return to a lower level of functioning? Not co-parent? 17 Thinking about age results Younger mothers at risk: higher rate of 15-20 year olds.. This leads to questions such as where is the father guarding these young daughters? How many have biological fathers or wellestablished step-fathers in the home? This question became more pertinent as the

data materialized 18 Proximity Proximity of their Parents /Grandparents of the baby Do these couples have geographic access to their parents? Sometimes 8 hands or more are needed with a baby! Not to confuse proximity with emotional cutoff

19 PROXIMITY was described as:

Distance to each parent of mother and father) 0) N/D 1) same house 2) same neighborhood 3) same town 4) less than 30 miles away 5) 30-250 miles away 6) 250-1600 miles away 7) different country 20

Distance from mothers (Grandmother of baby) Proximity of Couples & their Parents Most mothers lived close 23% of the fathers and 20% of the mothers live with their mothers (grandmothers of the baby) 65-75% were in the same neighborhood, city or within 30 miles of their mothers (grandmother of the baby) The geographic drift was definitely towards

the mothers. 22 Distance from fathers (Grandfather of baby) In contrast to the fathers, about half of the mothers of the baby (49%) lived close to their father too. Of course the parents might be married. Only about 36% of the fathers lived close to their fathers (paternal grandfather of the baby) No data (ND) interesting for the grandparents of the

baby. What is that all about? Went back through each chart and found deaths, incarceration and when asked, the subject did not know the location of the parent. Valid proximity means they had addresses, cities, etc. No Data Breakdown what it meant-most know where their mothers are Fathers look different, especially the fathers father (paternal grandfather) Unavailability

The variables of incarceration, death and unknown location were combined to look at who was available and who was not as a potential resource for the couple with the new baby. Total fathers proximity ( death, incarceration & unknown combined) Total mothers proximity availability ( death, incarceration & unknown combined)

Paternal grandfather most at risk A fourth of paternal grandfathers (25%) were not available to the couple compared to 13% of the mothers fathers(maternal grandfather) not being available. Where are the Poppas? The death rate seemed highso took a look So.. 17% death rate in this population. This seems high, nationally. One in 10 experience a deathage 25 and younger. Does this add to these new fathers being

vulnerable to death, incarceration and no contact with their babies? Few end up in contact with their children long term or for financial support. How many symptoms did each partner have? A symptom included emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms. Simply, the number of symptoms were counted. 33

SYMPTOM COUNT Done for each parent, grandparent and baby 0) N/D

1) 6+ 2)4-5 3)2-3 4)0-1 Four represents the lowest symptom level 34 The load of symptoms in the young family 20% with the highest symptom load About half (47% ) of the couples have symptom levels of 1 & 2 (which is the highest two symptom levels.) High

symptom level for a young population Also of note is the variation within the group of number of symptoms. Some couples lighter weight, others loaded with symptoms This might be a indicator of stress levels and a predictor of their ability to stay intact. It is also consistent with theory, where partners are attracted to the same level of differentiation Birth Order What is the birth order of these new parents? 54 out of 163 were only children.

33% of mothers only children. 32.93% fathers are only. Consistent finding And.that would predict 10.98% to be paired together randomly. However, this sample has 17.72% as couples. It appears they have a preference towards other only children. Also the rate of only children tied to the less availability of paternal & maternal fathers? 39 Only Mother Nature could make a histogram like this Only Children

As shown in the charts, there is a high percentage of only children (higher than the national average). The risk of couples not staying together is highest for two only children. In the 1960s Walter Toman,PhD noted that unwed parents represented a disproportionately high rate of only children. This current sample also confirms this trait. The current rate of only children is about 21% of the population but in this population its 33 %. 41

fit of the pieces, not the presence of the pieces Murray Bowen, MD How to show what I see in the clinical hour with families? Where two people look like individuals but as the session begins, they fade and the emotional field of the relationship which is not contained by physiological measures (or contained within a body) is running between them and examined in the session. How to show the emotional stream of relationship processes and patterns of interaction that create the functional facts of the family?

Functional facts display the surface of underlying emotional processes. How to illustrate the underlying emotional process that creates the facts? Family diagram 80+ yrs. old 80+ yrs old 69 yrs old

Charles Odessa, MO 65 yrs old sup RR Donnelley 63 yrs old elev. chlores. acid reflux retired

John Shirley Lexington, MO 48 yrs.old truck driver ht murmur depression phy abusive

47 yrs old Jeff Lexington Carmen Beth Barbara Roy married and div. tw ice, Polo, MO, 2nd. div '00

bd. 4-27-'87 sr hs Lex., MO Army Res. '04-'07 lived c/ Mo '07-'10 dep diag at 13 ht attack at 18 ht surg. 19 & 20 abused by Fa. pan. attac. in mil. chronic

migraines sleep disorder moved alot, Texas, Pleasant Valley, MO 43 yrs old 41 yrs old Tamera Illinois Christy

Kentucky bd 1/29/'85 some college acid reflux car crash '05 Texas unemployed MK

Rachel Texas bd. 6-9-'05 kindergarten '10-'11 Fa. has custody '10 behavior probs Caden AA Liberty, MO

bd. 9-18-'10 5 days NICU colic 1-2 mos Masyn 43 yrs old nurse quit w ork '02 hypertension 22 yrs old dropped hs

chronic drugs lives w ith Mo Deanna Oak Grove, MO This is how I would like to show the collected family diagrams. (also, would like to show in motion) ? If the family networks were mapped, would

the scale of differentiation be obvious? Would the high symptom families cluster? Summary The effort to map relationships has produced a distinct pattern in relationships and variation that so far fits with Bowen family systems theory There are more young, only children, without an available grandfather, particularly a paternal grandfather, than anticipated. The variation within these families with one producing early, represents a cascade of relationship interactions. The variation of the symptom load in this group

is also demonstrated. The results support the further potential of using Bowen family systems theory as a guide for assessment tools and the generation of hypothesis. 47 Acknowledgement of many Thanks to the many people that have contributed to the effort: KC Faculty & Staff: Kathleen Riordan LSCSW, Leann Howard LSCSW, Patricia McMahon LPC, Lori Kirkpatrick, MPH

Access table: Jennifer Hoyt & spouse, Brian Hall, Lori Kirkpatrick, MSW student Andrea McAdam Research Scientist liason: Chris Sexton, PHD Special thanks to Data Analyst : Jim Edd Jones, PHD & all the slides that illustrative 48 Bibliography Bowen, Murray Family Therapy in Clinical Practice, Jason Aronson, 1985 Christakis, N. Happiness: It really is Contagious, NPR, Jan. 26, 2009

Christakis, N. the Spread of Obesity in a large Social network over 32 Years New England Journal of Medicine, July 26, 2007 Noone, Robert The Multigenerational Transmission Process and the Neurobiology of Attachment and Stress Reactivity Family Systems A Journal of Natural systems Thinking in Psychiatry and the Sciences Baker, Katharine and Gippenreiter, The Effects of Stalins Purge on Three Generations of Russia Families Family systems a Journal of Natural systems thinking in Psychiatry and the Sciences, vol 3 no 1996

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