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

Published: Mar 30, 2006 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Chris Hatcher, University of California-San Francisco. Department of Psychology

https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06140.v1

Version V1

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.

Hatcher, Chris. Families of Missing Children: Psychological Consequences and Promising Interventions in the United States, 1989-1991. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-03-30. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06140.v1

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
1989 -- 1991
1989-06 -- 1991-03

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.

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.

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.

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.

Families of missing children in the United States.

Individuals.

personal interviews

survey data, and clinical data

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).

Not applicable.

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.

1997-03-07

2006-03-30

2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • 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

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.

1997-03-07 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.

Notes

  • These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.