The Best Interests of the Child from different cultural perspectives: Factors influencing judgements of the quality of child-rearing environment and construct validity of the Best Interests of the Child-Questionnaire (BIC-Q) in Kosovo and Albania

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Child-rearing practices and beliefs of what determines a ‘good quality’ of child-rearing differ across cultural contexts and diverse interpretations can be given to “a child’s best interests”. This study aims to examine the cultural factors that influence judgements of the quality of children’s rearing environment, and the construct validity of the Best Interests of the Child-Questionnaire (BIC-Q) scale when used in the Western Balkans. In our research on migrant children who returned to Kosovo and Albania, the BIC-Q is used to assess the quality of the child-rearing environment from a local cultural perspective on child-rearing. To assess cultural differences in judgements of the child-rearing environment, we measured agreement through Cohen’s kappa of BIC-Qs completed from a Western-Balkan and a Western-European perspective on child-rearing. The construct validity of the BIC-Q scale was assessed through a Mokken scale analysis. The findings show that – except for two items – there is substantial agreement between Western-European and Western-Balkan assessors regarding the direction of the judgement, i.e. if the scores on the child-rearing conditions are dichotomized (sufficient/insufficient). The judgements of the ‘respect’ and ‘interest’ conditions are sensitive to differences in the cultural or professional perspectives of the assessors. The findings of the Mokken scale analysis demonstrate a strong and reliable scale in the cultural context of the Western Balkans (H=.73; Rho=.97). Knowledge gained from using the BIC-Q to assess the living situation of returned migrant children in their countries of origin and insight into child-rearing standards provides input for the best interests of the child determination.
Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Pages (from-to)331-351
Number of pages21
JournalChild indicators research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2019



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