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Families of Missing Children: Psychological Consequences and Promising Interventions in the United States, 1989-1991 (ICPSR 6140) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study was conducted to examine the psychological reactions experienced by families of missing children and to evaluate families' utilization of and satisfaction with intervention services. To address issues of psychological consequences, the events occurring prior to child loss, during the experience of child loss, and after child recovery (if applicable) were studied from multiple perspectives within the family by interviewing parents, spouses, siblings, and, when possible, the missing child. A sample of 249 families with one or more missing children were followed with in-home interviews, in a time series measurement design. Three time periods were used: Time Series 1, within 45 days of disappearance, Time Series 2, at 4 months post-disappearance, and Time Series 3, at 8 months post-disappearance. Three groups of missing children and their families were studied: loss from alleged nonfamily abduction (stranger), loss by alleged family or parental abduction, and loss by alleged runaway. Cases were selected from four confidential sites in the United States. The files in this collection consist of data from detailed structured interviews (Parts 1-22) and selected quantitative nationally-normed measurement instruments (Parts 23-33). Structured interview items covered: (1) family of origin for parents of the missing child or children, (2) demographics of the current family with the missing child or children, (3) conditions in the family before the child's disappearance, (4) circumstances of the child's disappearance, (5) perception of the child's disappearance, (6) missing child search, (7) nonmissing child, concurrent family stress, (8) coping with the child's disappearance, (9) coping with a nonmissing child, concurrent family stress, (10) missing child recovery, if applicable, (11) recovered child reunification with family, if applicable, and (12) resource and assistance evaluation. With respect to intervention services, utilization of and satisfaction with these services were assessed in each of the following categories: law enforcement services, mental health services, missing child center services, within-family social support, and community social support. The quantitative instruments collected data on family members' stress levels and reactions to stress, using the Symptom Check List-90, Achenbach Child Behavior Check List, Family Inventory of Life Events, F-COPES, Frederick Trauma Reaction Index-Adult, and Frederick Trauma Reaction Index-Child.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Family Information Sheet Data -- Primary Respondent - Download All Files (1 MB)
DS2:  Family History Questionnaire and First Missing Child Data, Time Series 1 -- Primary Respondent - Download All Files (6.6 MB)
DS3:  Family History Questionnaire and First Missing Child Data, Time Series 1 -- Partner - Download All Files (1.4 MB)
DS4:  Sibling Questionnaire Data, Time Series 1 - Download All Files (0.8 MB)
DS5:  Second Missing Child Questionnaire Data, Time Series 1 -- Primary Respondent - Download All Files (0.7 MB)
DS6:  Second Missing Child Questionnaire Data, Time Series 1 -- Partner - Download All Files (0.4 MB)
DS7:  Family History Questionnaire Data, Time Series 2 -- Primary Respondent - Download All Files (6.3 MB)
DS8:  Family History Questionnaire Data, Time Series 2 -- Partner - Download All Files (3.2 MB)
DS9:  Sibling Questionnaire Data, Time Series 2 - Download All Files (0.7 MB)
DS10:  Missing Child Questionnaire Data, Time Series 2 - Download All Files (0.7 MB)
DS11:  Family History Questionnaire Data, Time Series 3 -- Primary Respondent - Download All Files (4.3 MB)
DS12:  Family History Questionnaire Data, Time Series 3 -- Partner - Download All Files (1.5 MB)
DS13:  Sibling Questionnaire Data, Time Series 3 - Download All Files (0.8 MB)
DS14:  Missing Child Questionnaire Data, Time Series 3 - Download All Files (0.7 MB)
DS15:  Recovery Questionnaire Data, All Types of Disappearances -- Primary Respondent - Download All Files (4.1 MB)
DS16:  Recovery Questionnaire Data, All Types of Disappearances -- Partner - Download All Files (0.8 MB)
DS17:  Recovery Questionnaire Data, Alleged Stranger/Parental Abductions, First Missing Child -- Primary Respondent - Download All Files (1 MB)
DS18:  Recovery Questionnaire Data, Alleged Runaway Episode, First Missing Child -- Primary Respondent - Download All Files (0.6 MB)
DS19:  Recovery Questionnaire Data, Alleged Stranger/Parental Abductions, Second Missing Child -- Primary Respondent - Download All Files (0.5 MB)
DS20:  Recovery Questionnaire Data, Alleged Runaway Episode, Second Missing Child -- Primary Respondent - Download All Files (0.4 MB)
DS21:  Recovery Questionnaire Data, Alleged Stranger/Parental Abductions -- Missing Child - Download All Files (0.7 MB)
DS22:  Recovery Questionnaire Data, Alleged Runaway Episode -- Missing Child - Download All Files (0.6 MB)
DS23:  Clinical Symptoms of Adults (SCL-90) -- Primary Respondent - Download All Files (0.5 MB)
DS24:  Frederick Trauma Reaction Index -- Primary Respondent - Download All Files (0.2 MB)
DS25:  Frederick Trauma Reaction Index -- Partner - Download All Files (0.2 MB)
DS26:  Frederick Trauma Reaction Index -- Sibling - Download All Files (0.2 MB)
DS27:  Frederick Trauma Reaction Index -- First Missing Child - Download All Files (0.2 MB)
DS28:  Frederick Trauma Reaction Index -- Second Missing Child - Download All Files (0.2 MB)
DS29:  Clinical Symptoms of Children (CBCL) -- First Missing Child - Download All Files (0.3 MB)
DS30:  Clinical Symptoms of Children (CBCL) -- Second Missing Child - Download All Files (0.3 MB)
DS31:  Family Inventory of Life Events and Changes -- Primary Respondent - Download All Files (0.4 MB)
DS32:  Family Crisis-Oriented Personal Scales -- Primary Respondent - Download All Files (0.3 MB)
DS33:  Family Crisis-Oriented Personal Scales -- Partner - Download All Files (0.3 MB)

Study Description

Citation

Hatcher, Chris. Families of Missing Children: Psychological Consequences and Promising Interventions in the United States, 1989-1991. ICPSR06140-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1997. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06140.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   coping, demographic characteristics, families, family relations, intervention, kidnapping, law enforcement, loss adjustment, mental health services, missing children, parental kidnapping, psychological wellbeing, social support, stress

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1989--1991

Date of Collection:  

  • 1989-06--1991-03

Unit of Observation:   Individuals.

Universe:   Families of missing children in the United States.

Data Types:   survey data, and clinical data

Data Collection Notes:

The responses to the quantitative measurement instruments from the three time periods were merged into one file per instrument/respondent (Parts 23-33). The numeric suffix of the variables indicates the time period to which the variables apply.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   This study was conducted to examine the psychological reactions experienced by families of missing children and to evaluate families' utilization of and satisfaction with intervention services, including law enforcement services, mental health services, missing child center services, within-family social support, and community social support. The results of the research should help to clarify the nature of the missing child event, and to identify various coping strategies and successful intervention services.

Study Design:   Data were collected from 249 families of missing children in several categories: alleged family abduction, alleged nonfamily abduction (stranger), and alleged runaway. The project design provided for the measurement of multiple perspectives within each family. One parent figure, at the request of the project staff interviewer, was self-designated as the Primary Respondent. If the Primary Respondent had a married or other live-in relationship with another adult, this individual was designated as the Partner. The oldest sibling in the home over the age of 8 and under the age of 18 was designated as the representative Sibling for the project. The Missing Child, if recovered and over the age of 8, was a project participant as well. The project incorporated a repeated measures, time series, multiple perspective design utilizing quantitative and project-specific measurement instrumentation administered in person. The project assessment package was divided into two major sections, structured interviews and quantitative instruments. Family contact and case selection were accomplished through four confidential field sites in the United States. Each site had a full-time family interviewer located there. By the conclusion of the project, each remaining family case had completed three time series interviews (Time Series 1, within 45 days of disappearance, Time Series 2, at 4 months post-disappearance, and Time Series 3, at 8 months post-disappearance). In addition, if the missing child was recovered, a fourth round of interviews (Recovery files) was completed.

Sample:   Families of children missing due to family abduction and runaway were randomly selected for invitation to participate in the project from four confidential sites in the United States. Because of relatively small case flow, virtually all nonfamily abduction cases were invited to participate.

Data Source:

personal interviews

Description of Variables:   Structured interview items covered: (1) family of origin for parents of the missing child or children, (2) demographics of the current family with the missing child or children, (3) conditions in the family before the child's disappearance, (4) circumstances of the child's disappearance, (5) perception of the child's disappearance, (6) missing child search, (7) nonmissing child, concurrent family stress, (8) coping with the child's disappearance, (9) coping with a nonmissing child, concurrent family stress, (10) missing child recovery, if applicable, (11) recovered child reunification with family, if applicable, and (12) resource and assistance evaluation. The second section of the assessment package, quantitative instruments, was composed of six established psychometric instruments. These were selected because they represented empirically-validated measures of domains central to the study of trauma response: (1) clinical symptoms of adults (SCL-90 of Derogatis et al.), (2) an inventory of adult reaction to trauma (Frederick Trauma Reaction Index Form A), (3) an inventory of child reaction to trauma (Frederick Trauma Reaction Index Form C), (4) clinical symptoms of children (CBCL of Achenbach), (5) an inventory of family stressors (FILE), and (6) an inventory of family coping resources (F-COPES).

Response Rates:   Not applicable.

Presence of Common Scales:   The project assessment package included six quantitative nationally-normed measurement instruments: Symptom Check List-90, Achenbach Child Behavior Check List, Family Inventory of Life Events, F-COPES, Frederick Trauma Reaction Index-Adult, and Frederick Trauma Reaction Index-Child.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-03-30 File UG6140.ALL was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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