Type of Document Thesis Author Centrone, Talia Joyce Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-08242007-154236 Title Study of the Practice of Family Mediation Degree Master of Science Department Family and Child Sciences, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Kay Pasley Committee Chair Elizabeth Goldsmith Committee Member Robert E Lee Committee Member Keywords
- Mediators' Practices
- Family Mediation
Date of Defense 2007-08-15 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis study examined the practice of family mediation reported by 305 mediators in the United States, as well as trends in practice according to professional affiliation, mainly, law, mental health, social work and other. Data for this study were from a national survey of practicing family mediators of the then Academy of Family Mediators (Pasley & Hinkle, 2000), originally collected with the intention of replicating the Kruk (1998) study of Canadian mediators. Mediators’ demographic characteristics, practice characteristics, issues, beliefs, and models guiding their work were examined, with a specific focus on differences between mediators’ professional affiliation.
Results showed that overall there were differences by professional affiliation in respondents regarding practice characteristics, but there were more similarities than differences regarding issues, beliefs and models used. Significantly more lawyer mediators had completed a doctoral degree, practiced in a private practice setting, and had a greater proportion of their clients who were voluntary (not mandated), compared to the other three groups (mental heath, social work, and “other”). Also, mediators in the law group were more likely than all other groups to charge fees, as well as charge a significantly higher amount in fees. Mediators affiliated with the law group reported mediating property issues significantly more frequently than did mediators affiliated with mental health, social work, or “other”. Similar results were also found their frequency of mediating child support issues and spousal support issues. Parenting (custody) was the only divorce-related issue where the groups did not differ. Further, mediators affiliated with law less frequently included meeting with children in mediation practice than did all other groups. Mediators in the social work group spent less overall time addressing financial issues than did those in the law and mental health groups. Other differences between the law group and the “other” group were found for professional identity, percent of clients that are Caucasian, and type of mediation practiced.
Out of the 30 items mediators addressed on beliefs and issues in the field, group differences were found for only three items. The law group reported less agreement than did those in the “other” group regarding the belief that mediators should be neutral and that children should be included in mediation. Also, in beliefs about the importance of factors influencing positive child outcomes, the law group assigned less importance to shared parent agreements than did those in the “other” group.
Although those affiliated with law appear to be different from all other groups on the majority of questions regarding practice characteristics, such differences were not found for items assessing practice beliefs and issues. This may suggest that, in terms of beliefs and issues, mediators regardless of their professional affiliation have similar beliefs and issues regarding mediation practice. Moreover, most mediators reported using structured negotiation predominantly.
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