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Using the Iowa Family Interaction Rating Scale (IFIRS) To Code Family Interactions. Sara Neeves* and Cheryl Buehler, Ph.D. Department of Human Development and Family Studies The University of North Carolina at Greensboro *This research was supported by UNCG Office of Research.
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Using the Iowa Family Interaction Rating Scale (IFIRS) To Code Family Interactions Sara Neeves* and Cheryl Buehler, Ph.D. Department of Human Development and Family Studies The University of North Carolina at Greensboro *This research was supported by UNCG Office of Research
Undergraduate Research Assistantship Goals • To better understand advanced research in a university setting, under the leadership of an established faculty member • To better understand interrater reliability • To gain experience with observational research methods
Theoretical Foundation Of The IFIRS • Based on three theories: • Social Interactional Theory • Behavioral Theory • Social Contextual Theory
What Is The IFIRS? • Developed at Iowa State University’s Institute for Social and Behavioral Research by Melby, Conger et al. • Global coding system that uses a set of 40 scales (see Table 1) to measure emotional and behavioral traits of individuals • Measures expressed emotions and behaviors on individual, dyadic, and group levels
What Is The IFIRS? (cont’d) • Expressed emotions and behaviors assessed are considered to be stable and ongoing • Behaviors and expressed emotions are rated on a scale of 1 to 9, with some rated on a scale on 1-5 • The IFIRS has been adapted by other researchers to study various issues (e.g., economic stress, marital instability, adoptive parenting, sibling relationships)
Scales Used In The IFIRS • Individual Characteristic Scales • General mood or state of being of a person regardless of with whom that person is interacting in the task • Dyadic Interaction Scales • Assesses the behavior directed by one person toward another person in an interaction context • Dyadic Relationship Scales • Assesses the relationship between two interactors. Assesses the characteristics of a dyad’s relationship rather than behaviors of individuals • Parenting Scales • Assesses parenting behaviors
Tasks Assessed Using The IFIRS • Behaviors and expressed emotions are assessed during discussion and problem-solving tasks • Four tasks are completed by each family (mother, father, youth) • Task 1: Parent and youth (discussion, 15 minutes) • Task 2: Parent and youth (discussion, 15 minutes) • Task 3: Both parents and youth (problem-solving, 20 minutes) • Task 4: Both parents (marital discussion, 20 minutes)
My Experience With The IFIRS • The Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) provided me the opportunity to be trained to use the IFIRS for observational coding • Training consisted of: • 240 hours of video-based training • Memorization of 150 page coding manual • Three paper tests (passing criteria > 90%) • Final coding test (passing criteria > 80%) • Following a passing grade on the final coding test, I became a regular coder on the research team for my faculty advisor, Dr. Cheryl Buehler • Criterion testing occurs approximately every other month for duration of my time on the research team
Conclusion • Through my experience with the Undergraduate Research Assistantship program I was able to better understand observational research methods • I completed training for the IFIRS and participated in coding observational data • I learned about interrater reliability and participated in reliability coding sessions • Because of my experience as an URA I was able to join the research team for Dr. Cheryl Buehler
References Information about the IFIRS taken from: Melby, J., & Conger, R. (2001). The Iowa Family Interaction Rating Scales: Instrument summary. In P.K. Kerig & K.M. Lindahl (Eds.), Family observational coding systems: Resources for systemic research (pp. 33-58). Mahwah, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.