PRESCHOOLERS' REPORTS OF MOTHER-CHILD CONFLICT: PERCEIVED COMPETENCE AND SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE WITHIN SINGLE AND INTACT FAMILIES

BARBARA A LISA-JOHNSON, Fordham University

Abstract

Children's conceptions of the parent-child relationship have recently gained renewed attention in the developmental literature. This research has largely focused on school age children's and adolescent's kind and unkind acts (Youniss, 1980), authority relations between children and their parents (Damon, 1977), and the relationship between the development of perspective taking skills and children's understanding of their social world (Selman, 1980). The primary goal of this dissertation was to explore the content areas reflecting 4-to-5 year olds' conceptualizations of mother-child conflict in single and intact families. To accomplish this goal a dual-method approach was utilized whereby 40 boys and 40 girls were tested on both a free-response task and a picture recognition task. Preschoolers predominantly focused on conflict concerned with failure of mothers to satisfy physical and material needs, as well as maternal behaviors related to punishment. Unexpectedly, the picture recognition task did not emerge as a more sensitive means of tapping conflict themes. The picture recognition task did yield a significant main effect for marital status whereby preschoolers from single parent homes reported more statements regarding disappointment about maternal personal characteristics. Perceived maternal acceptance and perceived competence did not predict the frequency of conflict categories as cited by individual children. Tasks could not be directly compared due to the emergence of punishment and the discovery of mathematical incompatibility of analyses previously used in research. Results are discussed in terms of task efficiency and multidimensional aspects of single and intact home environments. ^

Subject Area

Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

LISA-JOHNSON, BARBARA A, "PRESCHOOLERS' REPORTS OF MOTHER-CHILD CONFLICT: PERCEIVED COMPETENCE AND SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE WITHIN SINGLE AND INTACT FAMILIES" (1987). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8716209.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8716209

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