Family Lives

Current projects

Changing conceptions: Revisiting lesbian parent and their children. This is a longitudinal qualitative study, funded by a British Academy / Leverhulme small grant.

PI: Professor Kathryn Almack

Family lives diagramThis project will revisit a sample of lesbian couples (N = 20), first interviewed in 1999/2000, who had their first and subsequent children in the context of their relationship. Sociologically little is known about how such family relationships and connections work out over time; children’s voices are particularly unrepresented. The original sample of lesbian parents plus their children will be invited to take part in separate or joint interviews (depending on participant preference). Interviews will explore their understandings and experiences of family and kin relationships within their own household and within the wider societal context of their lives - and how these have evolved over time. Lesbian parent families challenge dominant norms and mores of family life, in particular the heterosexual and biological imperatives of reproduction and family life; as such findings will critically engage with and further sociological theoretical debates on kinship and family relationships in the context of an increasing diversity of family forms.

The original project was a doctoral study: Women parenting together: motherhood and family life in same sex relationships.

For further information please contact: Professor Kathryn Almack

For publications from the original study: Professor Kathryn Almack

Evaluation of Homestart Out of the Blue project

Team: Dr Anne-Marie Burn; Professor Kathryn Almack

We were commissioned to evaluate a new service called ‘Out of the blue’ developed by Homestart Hertfordshire, which provided home visiting support to women at risk of perinatal anxiety and depression. Mothers-to-be who were identified by health and social care professionals as being at risk of perinatal mental health problems were referred to the project. The mothers-to-be received home visits from trained Homestart volunteers over a 6-month period from the third trimester of their pregnancy. The volunteers provided focussed support that would improve the women’s mental health, particularly around their self-confidence in parenting, reducing isolation and improving attachment between the mother and her new born.

This qualitative evaluation explored the Homestart coordinators’ and volunteers’ experiences of taking part in the project and their perceptions of the benefits and challenges to the women who were supported. The findings showed that the pilot project has had a positive impact on the volunteers, coordinators and the women who participated and there were wider benefits to Homestart which has developed new contacts with agencies and new routes for standard referrals. There is the potential to roll the project out to other Homestart schemes across the UK.

An Evaluation of Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies

The Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (CYP IAPT) service is about improving mental health services for children and young people. The transformation programme was introduced in 2011 but there has been limited evaluation of the process by which the programme has been implemented.

This study is evaluating the CYP IAPT programme implemented in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. A document analysis will describe how the programme has been implemented, across time and how this results in improved outcomes. Semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders will explore their experiences of implementation, and the extent to which clinical principles have become embedded in their everyday practice. The study will identify areas for development and to enhance understanding of the local context in order to inform other local transformation initiatives.

Research funded by: CLAHRC East of England

Project lead: Dr Emma Howarth (University of Cambridge)

Exploring views of young people on violence and abuse in intimate partner relationships

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is increasing, particularly in younger people’s relationships. Recent research has shown that half of all young people reported emotional abuse, a fifth reported physical violence and 50-70% of young people reported experiencing abuse through technology. The aim of this study is to develop the current understanding of violence in young people’s relationships. Through small focus group discussions and one-to-one interviews, we are exploring what young people think are the important issues around IPV.  We would like to know young people’s views about the factors that increase or decrease the likelihood of IPV and exploring their attitudes around the ‘normalisation’ of IPV. We are speaking to them specifically about the different types of IPV i.e. emotional, physical, digital or sexual abuse as well as controlling & coercive behaviours.

Working with Michele Lloyd, Professor Shula Ramon and Professor Brian Littlechild

Young people living with a family member who is coming towards the end of life

Kathryn gained funding for and supervised a doctoral study (awarded to Nicola Turner) at the University of Nottingham entitled: Caring to the End: Exploring the family lives of young people with a parent at the end of life

Publications from this study include:

We (Kathryn Almack and Nicola Turner with Kayleigh Chester) are now developing a research proposal to further explore the experiences of young people living with dying in the family