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Interpretation Of The Study Results

ITER PROJECT

 

The results of the study, held among 150 Bulgarian families, 14 of which (or 9.3 %)identify themselves as such with a conflict child, come to show irregular distribution of the family types in Bulgaria. The major type of families is the Chaotic- Enmeshed one - 71.43 % of the families with a conflict child and 75.74 % of the families with a non conflict child. The next type of family is the Flexible-Connected, which has a much smaller share – 14.29% of the families with conflict children and 6.62 % of those with non conflict children. The families of the Flexible – Separated and Flexible-Enmeshed types are 7.14 % of the families with a conflict child. These two types of families have an insignificant share among the families with non conflict children.

From the study results we identify the two dimensions of family: cohesion and adaptability. A significant share of the families in Bulgaria is with “high” adaptability. It is typical for them to go adrift and lose their bearings in stressful situations. On the other hand Bulgarian families are of the type with medium-high cohesion. They are characterized by emotional commitment and mutual compromises. Their members spend their free time together and are used to helping each other. The study shows that the major share of the families are “mid-range” – 75.74 % of those with non conflict children and 73.43% of those with conflict children. The second group is that of “balanced” families. A significant share of this group is taken by the families with conflict children /28.57 %/, while for those with non conflict children the percentage is smaller/10.3 %/.

The analysis shows that Bulgarian families are functional. There are some problems concerning the adaptability, where the results are rather extreme, but the results regarding the cohesion are balanced. The explanation for this might be connected with the radical changes which took place in Bulgarian society in the past 20 years, which have led to instability and chaos in the behavior of young and middle-age people. The chaotic behavior is a token of insecurity and is a consequence of the inconsistent and irregular development of Bulgarian society as a whole. Another reason, which does not apply to the other countries participating in the study, is the transformation of property. This change has been carried out in Bulgaria for a too long period of time and its results are pretty contradictory, which gives an additional sense of insecurity. 28.57 % of the families with conflict children and only 10.3 % of those with non conflict children are completely functional. At first sight there results seem illogical. They are expected to be in reverse order – especially for the families with non conflict children. One of the explanations for this can be found in family cohesion. This cohesion, that finds expression in family members helping each other, is stronger in families with conflict children, where real problems exist.

The quality of communication of the 150 Bulgarian families studied shows results, similar to those of the other participating countries. The results show high quality of communication in Bulgarian families. As in families with non conflict children the quality of communication is a bit higher /41.48/ than in those with conflict children /39.5/. Good communication includes commitment, support and involvement in problem solving.

To study the situations, which are the most frequent cause for stress for the families, three groups of stressful situations are defined. The results in all three of them show similarity between the results for Bulgaria and for the rest of the countries as a whole. The trend of decreasing the amount of stress and the relation between the stressful situations of the first type, which are the most frequent ones, having the most serious effect on the family, is observed both in Bulgaria and in the general results for all countries. The stressful situations of the first type include conflicts in the family and lack of control /excessive expenses, drug use, lack of time/. For Bulgaria the amount of stress is the highest one in the stressful situations of the first type - 14.14 for the families with conflict children and 16.69 for the families with non conflict children. The general results for all countries, participating in the study, also show highest amount of stress in the situations of the first type – 16.58 and 16.48 respectively. Regarding the stressful situations of the second type - bad organization of the housework or neglect /like school failure of the children, non distribution of housework, problems in the care of the children/ a trend of decreasing the amount of stress is observed both in Bulgaria and the rest of the countries. This decrease of the amount of stress is from 14.14 to 10.86 for families with conflict children and from 16.69 to 13.24 for families with non conflict children. This trend of decrease in the amount of stress is preserved for the stressful situations of the third type. This type is the rarest one and concerns unexpected factors - like diseases or deaths, conflicts with grandparents or uncles, unwanted pregnancies, removals or transfers. Because of their unexpectedness and rarity they cause the smallest amount of stress. For Bulgaria the results are 8.64 for families with conflict children and 10.54 for families with non conflict children. Not only the trend of decrease in stress is preserved, but also the correlation of the amount of stress between families with non conflict and conflict children. An interesting trend is observed that in families with non conflict children the amount of stress, caused by all types of stressful situations is higher than in those with conflict children. The cause for that may be the fact that families with conflict children are more used to conflicts between their members, and to having problems to solve, so stressful situations do not have such great impact on them, as they are something common for the family. While in a family with non conflict children the problems are something rare and usually unexpected, and when the family faces such a situation, the stress is much more significant and the perturbation in the family has a graver impact on the family members. An interesting trend is observed in Bulgaria, concerning the stressful situations of the third type. The amount of stress in conflict families in this type of situations is much lower compared to the families in the rest of the countries and compared to the results of the Bulgarian families with non conflict children. The reason for this is probably that these factors appear very rarely in the life of a family and cause less stress than the situations which its members face every day.

The study of the opinions of 143 children between 9 and 21 years of age, 83 of which boys and 60 girls, has showed that in Bulgaria there are no differences between conflict and non conflict children according to the gender. The analysis of the relation between the age and the fact of children being conflict or non conflict shows that there are differences between the conflict and non conflict children according to age. The largest amount of conflict children is observed in the group between 13 and 16 years /68.4 %/. This percentage decrease to 21.1 % for the 17-21 age group and to 10.5 % for the children between 9 and 12 years of age.

The study of the opinions of the children concerning the conflict between their parents define several properties of the conflict: intensity /how intensive is the conflict, since it can scale from a calm discussion to physical violence/, frequency of the conflict/ with what frequency the parents discuss/, duration and stability/ how long the conflict persists/, resolution by the parents /is the conflict finally resolved/. The sense of guilt of the child is also studied from two aspects – the content of the conflict /whether the child has something to do with the discussions/ and self-blame/ whether the child blames himself or herself for the conflict/. The threat for the child is also explored in the following aspects: perception of the threat/ whether the child feels threatened of being beaten or being involved into the discussion or whether the child fears that his or her parents will separate/, coping efficacy of the child /whether the child feels able to cope with the conflict and help in the resolution of it/ and triangulation /whether the child takes sides in the conflict helping one of his/her parents/.

The study results for Bulgaria, which manifest the children’s perception about the interparental conflict, are similar to the rest of the countries. The results show that the biggest issues in the interparental conflicts are their intensity /8.21 in families with conflict children and 8.77 in those with non conflict children/ and the child’s capability of coping with the conflict /8.26 and 8.68 respectively/. The total results of these two aspects are 8.70 for the intensity of the conflict and 8.62 for the child’s ability to cope with the conflict. The data shows that the conflict children are more sensitive to interparental conflicts. There is one aspect of the study for Bulgaria, which shows a significant aberration – resolution of the problem by the parents. Conflict children think that their parents cannot resolve their problems /7.74/ while among non conflict children this perception is much less frequently met /10.62/. The difference between the results for this aspect is really significant. This result might suggest that in Bulgaria there is a strong correlation between parents’ inability to solve problems and their children’s formation as conflict ones. This inability might be regarded as the main reason for a juvenile to be formed as a conflict person, as if parents are not capable of coping with their problems, the chaos, confusion and sense of insecurity in their life are transferred to their children, leading to aberration in their behavior.

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