Research Activities

In the context of the research activities, data will be collected in regards to:

Imprisoned Mothers'  (IM)

a) attachment style & parental style
b) exposure to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) & stalking (perpetration & victimization)
c) exposure to abuse & neglect, during her childhood

Children of Imprisoned Parents's (CHIP's)
a) attachment style
b) mental health
c) exposure to abuse & neglect (CAN).
The data will be collected through structured interviews with IM & CHIP. Structured interview was chosen against self-completion because of the sensitive nature of the topics investigated as well as because of the estimation that a large percentage of incarcerated women would face severe difficulties in a self-completion task due to language barriers. For children the same method was favoured not only in virtue of the topics’ sensitive nature but also in order to be able to recognize & appropriately intervene in CAN situations.

Even though the correlation between IPV & CAN as well as between abuse during childhood & victimization or perpetration during adulthood are considered to be well established, the respectful evidence is derived from separate retrospective studies and there is no study targeting the high risk population of IM & their children. For the development of the surveys’ research tools, a combination of modified existing questionnaires is proposed & questionnaires tailored to the needs of the current project. The following instruments are initially proposed:

Tools for measuring IPV (Victimization & Perpetration) of IM: A compiled tool that will be created by combining (a) the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale-CTS2 - (b) the Obsessive Relational Intrusion (ORI) Scale-Short Form & the Relational Pursuit for Stalking Perpetration.

Tools for measuring CAN of both children & IM during childhood: The three ICAST research tools developed by the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect (ISPCAN) for the UN Study on Violence against Children, undertaken by UNHCHR, WHO, & UNICEF, is proposed to detect CAN for both mothers & children:
  • ICAST-CH: the ISPCAN Child Abuse Screening Tool – Children’s Version (12-18 years old), aiming at measuring the experiences of abuse & neglect of CHIP in their home environment
  • ICAST-P: the Parent Questionnaire: Punishment, discipline & violence in the home, aiming at measuring children’s exposure to abuse and neglect, through their mothers’ accounts
  • ICAST–R: the Retrospective Version, aiming at measuring the CAN the IM had been subjected to during her childhood
Tools for measuring children’s Mental Health: The Strengths & Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), originally developed to measure children’s mental health; it is comprised of 5 sub-scales indicating a) conduct problems, b) inattention-hyperactivity, c) emotional symptoms, d) peer problems & e) pro-social behavior. The two versions completed by the child & the parent are proposed for use.

  1. Straus, M.A., Hamby, S.L., Boney-McCoy, S., & Sugarman, D.B. (1996). The revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2): development and preliminary psychometric data. Journal of Family Issues, 17(3), 283-316.
  2. Straus, M.A., Hamby, S.L., & Warren, W.L. (2003). The Conflict Tactics Scale handbook. Los Angeles (CA): Western Psychological Services.
  3. Cupach, W.R., & Spitzberg B.H. (2000). Obsessive relational intrusion: incidence, perceived severity, and coping. Violence and Victims, 15, 357–372.
  4. Cupach, W.R., & Spitzberg B.H. (2004). The dark side of relationship pursuit: from attraction to obsession and stalking. Mahwah (NJ): Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  5. International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (2006). Questionnaires and Guides for the UN Study on Violence against Children. Available at: http://www.ispcan.org/questionnaires.htm.
  6. Goodman, R. (1997). The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: A research note. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38, 581-586.