One hundred thirty-four families of children with school refusal were evaluated with the Family Assessment Measure (FAM). The families were divided into seven types based on adults in the home. Single-parent families were overrepresented in this sample compared to the general population. Comparisons were made between the two largest family types: mother-only families, in which the mothers were separated, divorced, or widowed (n = 40), and families with two biological parents (n = 61). Mothers of school refusers in these single-parent families reported significantly more family problems on the FAM compared with mothers living with the children's fathers. The two areas of family problems identified in the single-parent families were role performance and communication. Children in both groups reported normal family functioning on the FAM. Fathers of school refusers, compared to mothers, reported more symptoms of somatization, depression, and phobic anxiety on the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Dr. Bernstein’s effort on this manuscript was supported in part by the National Institute of Mental Health Grant R29 MH46534.
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