Assessing and detecting response bias in self and referenced attitude towards conflict in family cases

Assessing and detecting response bias in self and referenced attitude towards conflict in family cases

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Ramón Arce
Verónica Marcos
Jéssica Sanmarco
Bárbara Castro


Background/Objective: Contentious couple breakup is associated to adverse outcomes for couple members and offspring. Parental attitudes towards conflict resolution are a robust predictor of the litigiousness of the breakup. Nonetheless, response bias should be strongly suspected in parental attitude reported in this setting. Thus, a field study with the aim of knowing the prevalence and magnitude of the response bias and of ascertaining empirically valid criteria to classify the suspect of response bias was designed. Method: A total of 2,797 adults, 50.9 % men, with underage children aged from 21 to 68 years (M = 40.41), 2,488 married (without previous breakups), 204 involved in a mutual agreement separation and 105 in a contentious separation, answered to a measure of self-reported and referenced attitude towards conflict resolution. Results: The results exhibited that parents of the contentious and mutual agreement separation groups biased their answers. Likewise, the results provided empirical criteria for response bias classification. Epidemiologically, the observed probability of response bias was of .629[.537, .721] in the group of parents of contentious separation and of .377[.310, .444] in the group of parents of mutual agreement separation. Conclusions: The implications of the results for the design and implementation of mediation and intervention programs are discussed.


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