Family Life and Methodological Issues
Quantitative studies of family life and family members' well-being generally rely on single informants in relation to both This raises two issues: first, the validity of an individual's perceptions of family life, and second, that part of any association found may arise because the same person provided information on both.
Analyses of data obtained from 11 year olds and their parents taking part in the 11 to 16/16+ study found that the patterns of apparently ‘incorrect' responses from children in respect of whether or not they lived with ‘dad' suggested these were neither the result of carelessness nor intentional errors, but instead represented children's perceptions of the situation with regard to their father figure. Only very small differences in child health or adjustment were observed according to family structure, while the strongest relationships between family process and child health/adjustment occurred in respect of reports from the same informant.
Sweeting H, Seaman P. Family within and beyond the household boundary: children's constructions of who they live with. In: McKie L, Cunningham-Burley S, editors Families in society: boundaries and relationships. Bristol: Policy Press, 2005:95-110.
Sweeting H. Our family, whose perspective?. Journal of Adolescence 2001;24:229-50pubmed