This exploratory study aimed to evaluate the effects of conflictual separation and divorce on children’s representations of self and of family relationships in child custody evaluations. Forty-seven school-aged children, assessed in the course of civil separation procedures characterized by high levels of marital conflict (high conflict group), and a control group (low conflict group, n=47) matched for sex, age, and social level were asked to complete the Blacky Pictures Test. The protocols were analyzed by experts using the double-blind method on the base of an ad hoc grid. Results showed that children involved in high conflictual separations provided a more unstable self-representation and more negative representation of parents, higher emotional dysregulation (anger, guilt, persecutory distress), and inability to stay alone and to tolerate the ambivalence than the low conflict group.
- Blacky Pictures Test
- Child custody evaluation
- Marital conflicts
- Self and family representations