Dimensions of conflict for separated families index: An index for family courts

Rachel Birnbaum*, Lynn McCleary, Michael Saini, Nicholas Bala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many services and interventions focus on assisting separated families experiencing high conflict. Yet, little research has focussed on identifying and distinguishing levels of conflict. This research tested reliability and validity of an Index based on assessing 15 dimensions of conflict typical of high conflict in separation. Seventy-seven mothers and 47 fathers receiving services from family courts or social service agencies were assessed by two raters for inter-rater reliability. Internal consistency was high, with Cronbach's alpha = 0.94 (mothers) and 0.96 (fathers). Inter-rater reliability was high, with ICC = 0.85 (mothers) and 0.83 (fathers). Preliminary evidence of validity was found comparing scores on the index to scores on the Conflict Tactics Scale and the Ahron's Quality of Coparenting Communication Scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Conflict index
  • High conflict separation
  • Measure
  • Separation and divorce
  • Triage in family disputes


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