A systematic qualitative evaluation of levels of differentiation in families with children at risk

Yeudit Avnir*, Ron Shor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To increase the understanding of the dynamics within the parent-child relationship in families with children at risk the concept of differentiation was operationalized and applied to this population. The focus of this paper is on presenting the systemic qualitative framework assessing level of differentiation in parent-child relationships and illustrating how it can be applied within the context of social welfare services to assess changes in the parent level of differentiation and thus their approach to their children. The method was developed to evaluate change in parents' approach to their children resulting from a short term therapeutic group program aimed to treat parents whose child rearing practice are dysfunctional. Pre- and post-treatment interviews were conducted with those participating in the program and examples were selected from their descriptions to illuminate application of the framework to content analysis of actual case studies. The results of this analysis indicated that this multidimensional operationalization of the concept of differentiation could provide a concrete and specific method for examining the ongoing daily events and problems in parent-child relationships on one hand and for capturing the complex issues in parent-child dynamics on the other. This method was found to be an accessible nonintrusive tool which researchers and practitioners could use for evaluating practices with families and children at risk.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)504-513
Number of pages10
JournalFamilies in Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998


Dive into the research topics of 'A systematic qualitative evaluation of levels of differentiation in families with children at risk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this