A COMPARISON OF INTERACTION IN SINGLE-PARENT AND INTACT FAMILIES

JAMES THOMAS MCQUADE, Fordham University

Abstract

The present study compared single-parent and two-parent families with respect to the behavior of family members and the interactive patterns present in both family structures. Six main hypotheses were tested. In addition, the influence of sibship type and its interactive effects with marital status was tested. Three measures of family interaction were examined: mothers' adjective ratings, observer adjective ratings, and observer interaction scoring. SYMLOG, a system for the multiple-level observation of groups, was used as a measuring instrument.^ The first three hypotheses compared single-parent and married mothers on the three SYMLOG dimensions: F-B, U-D, and N-P. The mothers' adjective ratings indicated no differences between both groups on any of the dimensions. The observer adjective ratings failed to find any differences between the groups on either the F-B or the U-D dimensions. On the N-P dimension, observer adjective ratings indicated that single-parent mothers were more negative.^ The interaction scoring method, which is based on the act-by-act scoring of behavior, proved to be the most sensitive to behavior differences. On this measure, single-parent mothers were more U, more F, and more N than married mothers. It was hypothesized that role conflict would be associated with single-parent status but no evidence was found to support this position. As predicted, no evidence was found on any of the comparisons that sibship type results in significant differences. Furthermore, no interaction between marital status and sibship type was found throughout.^ The last two hypotheses examined the roles assigned to children. No evidence was found that deficits in the parental subsystem are solved by parentifying a child. On the other hand, while the adjective rating methods did not yield significant findings, the interaction scoring method supported the position that a child may be placed in an isolated position more frequently in a single-parent family. The child in this position may become the target of displaced negative feelings. Implications for community agencies and school personnel were discussed as well as methodological issues and areas for future research. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

MCQUADE, JAMES THOMAS, "A COMPARISON OF INTERACTION IN SINGLE-PARENT AND INTACT FAMILIES" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8308481.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8308481

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