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A STUDY OF THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN CERTAIN DIMEN SIONS OF PARENTS* ATTITUDES AND THEIR CHILDRENfS PATTERNS OF RESPONSE TO EVERYDAY STRESS
A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Department of Psychology The University of Southern California
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts
by Frieda Bornstein Lutsky June 1950
UMI Number: EP63990
All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion.
UMI EP63990 Published by ProQuest LLC (2014). Copyright in the Dissertation held by the Author. Microform Edition © ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code
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This thesis, w ritte n by
PHIIDA.BORKS.TEIH..Xn.TSEf..... under the guidance o f h.&.p.. F a c u lty C o m m ittee, and a p p ro ve d by a ll its members, has been presented to and accepted by the C o u n c il on G raduate S tu d y and Research in p a r tia l f u l f i l l m ent o f the requirem ents f o r the degree o f
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The author wishes to make grateful acknowledgment to those many persons who have helped in the execution of the present study: To my daughter, Marva Lynn Lutsky, for her patience with and tolerance of my inadequacies as a parent during the time it was being written;
To my friends and colleagues, J. Stewart-Bentley and Dr. Jack F. Little, for their helpfulness, encouragement, and constructive criticisms; To Miss Nell Young for her time and interest as well as for her editorial and typing assistance; To Mr. Gus Willmorth for help with the statistical computations; And to the students and their parents without whose cooperation this study would not have been possible.
TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . .
Statement of the problem and its importance Plan of the study
. • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Assumptions underlying the study • • • • • • • •
Organization of the remainder of the thesis
OF THE LITERATURE................. . . .
Clinical studies « . . • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Experimental studies • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • . • • •
Longitudinal studies . * • » • • • • • • • • • •
III. CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE TEST INSTRUMENTS
Parent Attitude-Survey . . . * • • . . • • • •
The University of Southern California
Previously devised methods of assessing parental attitudes
The University of Southern California Parent Attitude-Survey . . . . . . . . . . .
Scoring the P - A - S .........
Validity of the P-A-S
. . . • • • • • • • • •
Reliability of the P-A-S
The Rosenzweig Picture-Frustration Study . . . .
Theoretical background . . • • • • • • • • • •
PAGE The P-F as a test instrument • • • • • • • •
Scoring the P - F .........
The reliability of the scoring • • • • • • •
The reliability and validity of the test instrument • . • • • • • • • • • • • • • • IV.
SOURCES OF THE D A T A .............. Procedure of test* administration
FINDINGS OF THE S T U D Y ........ SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Summary of the study
Summary of the findings • • • • • • . • • • •
Conclusions • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Interpretation of the conclusions and indi cations for further research
B. . . .
LIST OF TABLES TABLE I*
PAGE Summary of Literature on Parent-Child Relationships
•• • « • • • • • • . . « • • •
Reliability of Total and Sub-Scales of the P-A-S . . .. ........................
Percentage Agreement Among Judges Assigning Items to Sub-Scales of P-A-S
• • • •••••
Intercorrelations of Scales in the P-A-S
Frequency of E, I, and M Responses to Items of the P-F and the Weighted Scores Assigned to Each Response Category
Number of Responses and Weighted Scores that Would Be Obtained if a Subject Always Gave the Modal Response to the P-F Items . . . . .
Range of Number of Responses and Range, Means and S.D. of Weighted Scores Obtained on the Response Categories of the P - F .................................
Frequencies of E, I, and M Responses for Items on the P-F as Scored by Three Different Raters
Inter-Rater Reliability for the Scoring of the P-F • • • • • . • •
Educational Level of Mothers
Income Brackets • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Ranges, Means, and Standard Deviations of Scores on P-A-S Obtained by this Study1s Sample Populations and Shoben’s Sample Populations • • • • ......... .
Correlations Between Maternal Scores on P-A-S and Children*s Scores on P-F
Correlations Between Children*s Estimate of Maternal Attitudes on the P-A-S and Children’s P-F Scores . . • • • • • • •
Difference-Scores Obtained from Comparison of Children’s Estimates and Actual Maternal Scores • • • • • • • • • • • •
Correlations of Children*s P-F Scores and the Difference-Scores Between Maternal Scores and Children’s Estimates of Maternal Scores on the P-A-S
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The recognition that an individual’s behavior is, in large part, a'product of his relationship with his parents, long antedates the formulation of the science of psychology. Modern dynamic psychology has, however, emphasized certain aspects of the parent-child relationship, stressing the importance of particular parental attitudes to the develop ment of particular behavior patterns in the child which are evaluated as beneficial or detrimental to his social adjust ment.
One of the areas of social adjustment to which the
modern psychologist attributes great importance is the individual’s ability to cope with frustration and express aggression.
The person’s ability in these respects is
frequently attributed to his relationship with his parents. Ruch,'1' for example, states: Parents who make a real effort to give their child, continuous satisfaction of his infantile needs and who guide him wisely through the socialization process ofchildhood— avoiding the dangers of overprotection on one side and overstrict prohibition on the other— are not likely to see him turn to the clinics for aid in making his life adjustments. He will be able to express his individuality in socially constructive ways, and he will be relatively free of anxiety and emotional difficulty
1 Floyd L. Ruch, Psychology and Life. (Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Company, 3rd edition, 1948), p. 471*
2 in two chief problems which confront every person in our society: expressing aggression and expressing sexuality. And, he will be able to handle the inevi table frustrations which everyone of us encounters, and to which every one of us reacts in his ownway. Ruch2 further goes on to state: The particular reaction any given person will make to a frustrating situation depends first of all upon the nature of that situation . . . It also depends upon many factors in the individual's life history: impor tant among these factors are, of course, the emotional experiences he has had as an infant, child, and adoles cent, especially in the expression of sexuality and aggression. For the most part, the clinic has provided the basis from which deductions have been made in regard to the factors in the life history which give rise to particular ways of coping with frustration or expressing aggression. It is from this matrix of clinical observations that the hypothesis of the present study is drawn. Statement of the problem and its importance# The hypothesis of this study is that certain attitudes of the mother are significantly correlated with the direction of aggression elicited in her child by mildly frustrating situations. The hypothesis represents an attempt to express in quantitative terms the qualitative cues derived from Clinical observations and experience.
It>id.T p. 472.
The value of a study designed to verify such an hypothesis lies, primarily, in the predictive index that the demonstration of such a relationship and its quantitative statement would give. Although the prediction of behavior is, in itself, a major goal of psychology, the importance of the verifica tion of this particular hypothesis lies also in two other areas:
first, the possible cues it might provide to an
increased understanding of the dynamics of parent-child interaction itself, and, second, the significance of the behavior it attempts to predict.
The widespread popular
dissemination of psychological information has made parents increasingly aware of the importance of their role.
is a wide public clamour3 for knowledge regarding childrearing.
That a certain child*s responses to frustrating
situations are frequently regarded as “problem behavior” by parents may be
ascertained by a cursory glance at any book
or article which deals with the behavior problems of children. Any clarification of the nature of the relationship that may be found to exist between a motherfs attitudes and her child*s responses to frustration would provide a tool
3 This may be seen by the fact that a book such as Dr. Benjamin Spock*s Pocket Book of Baby and Child Care (Pocket Books, Inc., New York, 1945’) promised such wide saleability that it warranted publication in a cheap paperbound edition.
4 for parent education as well as one which would be clinically useful* The importance of prediction of an individuals res ponses to frustration, however, has social implications beyond the confines of the parent-child relationship and the clinic, since responses to frustration are frequently aggressive, and the control and channeling of aggression is one of the major tasks of any organized society. The primary value, then, of a study such as the pre sent one lies in the possibility that it may increase the accuracy of prediction for a type of behavior which has important ramifications at a broad social level as well as within the narrower confines of the parent-child and thera peutic relationships. A corollary value which accrues to the present study is that, should statistically significant correlations be’ obtained between the measures of a mother fs attitudes and her child*s responses to frustrating situations with the particu lar test instruments used in this study, their usefulness as clinical, diagnostic and research instruments would be considerably enhanced. Plan of the Study.
In attempting to verify the hypo
thesis, that a relationship exists between a motherfs attitudes and her child*s responses to frustrating
situations, two test instruments were selected*
designed to assess parental attitudes, is the University of Southern California Parent-Attitude-Survey,^ which is a questionnaire-type instrument devised by Shoben? to provide a measure of a Total attitude scale and scores on sub-scales defined as (1) Dominant, (2) Possessive, (3) Ignoring, and (4) Unclassified*6
The second instrument selected is the
Rosenzweig Picture-Association Study for Assessing Reactions to
which is a limited projective procedure
designed to disclose patterns of response to mildly frus trating situations resembling those of everyday stress*
P-F permits classification of these responses into three categories, 8 (l) extrapunitive, (2 ) intropunitive, and
4 Hereafter referred to as the P-A-S. 5 Edward Joseph Shoben, Jr., t!The Assessment of Paren tal Attitudes in Relation to Child Adjustment,tf Genetic Psychology Monographs. 39sl01-48« February, 1949* 6 These are defined and elucidated in Chapter III, Part I, p. 41-2.
7 Hereafter referred to as the P-F or Rosenzweig P-F. II, p.
8 These 59
categories are defined in Chapter III, Part
(3 ) impunitive. The study was planned to provide measures of the actual maternal attitudes and of the children1s estimate of these attitudes, so that both sets of scores, as well as the differences between them, might be correlated with the measures of the children*s responses to frustration. It was planned to use college students as the 11child11
population for several reasons:
(1) Because of
their availability; (2) Because a measure of an already 11socialized1 *
response to frustration was desired and (3 )
It required a degree of maturity to estimate parental attitudes on an instrument such as the P-A-S. Assumptions underlying the study. _ The use of a “child11 population which has reached young adulthood, how ever, involves several assumptions.
The first of these is
that parental attitudes remain sufficiently constant so that measures made at any given point in time will give a substantially valid picture of the constellation of atti tudes that have been operative during the lifetime of the child. It is further assumed that the essential continuity in the field of parent-child interaction stems from two possible sources: (1) That, despite specific behavioral changes which
attend the childfs maturation process, the under lying parental attitudes themselves remain func tionally equivalent in their impact on the child• (2) That, despite possible changes in the parental attitudes, the child perceives them as though they remain unchanged, and in a sense, creates a functional equivalence in the parental attitudes and thereby imposes a continuity on a field that might, objectively, appear discontinuous. The assumption is made that the actual maternal P-A-S scores will provide a measure of the second. Another assumption is that the most probable referent for “children11 for parents taking the P-A-S would be the children to whom the P-F was administered.
Or, if this be
not entirely the case, that parents have sufficiently similar attitudes towards children in general that their responses would reveal those attitudes of significance in their own childfs development even if that particular child were not necessarily kept in mind when the P-A-S was being answered. This postulates, in other words, a “horizontal” consistency of attitudes as well as the “longitudinal” consistency out lined above# This brings up the crucial assumption of the study, which rests on the assumed validity of the test instruments used to measure its variables.
Organization of the remainder of the thesis♦ The remainder of the thesis is organized to include a review of the pertinent literature on parent-child relationships, followed by a critical evaluation of the test instruments utilized, a treatment of their theoretical bases, a review of the previous attempts to derive similar measures, and an account of the scoring methods used.
The sources of the
data and the methods of test administration are given. findings of the study are then stated.
The thesis is termi
nated with a summary, a statement of the conclusions based on the study*s findings and suggestions for further research drawn from the thesis as a whole.
CHAPTER II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Modern dynamic psychology greatly emphasizes the importance of the socialization process in the development of mature adult behavior.
It is generally conceded that,
in our culture, though many agencies may contribute toward this process, the most important, and in point of time, the primary one is the family.
The scientific literature,
whether it be psychological, sociological or anthropological and regardless of theoretical bias, is universally agreed that the child’s developing personality characteristics are in large part dependent on his relationship with his parents Burgess and Locke,9 in their sociological study of the family, for instance, are able to state simply, 11. . • the earliest and basic traits of the personality are formed in the family.u Mead,^ in her most recent book, bases her entire analysis of the way different cultures pattern "femi nine” and ’’masculine11 behavior on the manner in which this cultural heritage is transmitted to the children through
9 E. W. Burgess and H. J. Locke, The Family: From Institution to Companionship (New York: American Book Com pany, 194-5), p. 209. 10 Margaret Mead, Male and Female (New York: Morrow and Company, 19491
10 their earliest contacts with their parents. Psychological literature, too frequently takes this point of view.
Gesell and Ilgl^ state;
The early impression of the family life during the first five years leaves the most fundamental and endur ing imprint. Aculturation begins in the home and the influence of larger social groups is limited by the trends initiated through the family. According to Murphy, Murphy and Newcombl^ the child’s very “self11 is the outcome of his experience in the home,
eron!3 points out that 11. . • parents are the chief inter preters to the child of the culture in which he is destined to live, 11 and, further, that it is through their interpreta tions, implied and manifest in their behavior, that he learns to accept the cultural definitions of what is good and desirable, or wrong and intolerable. The psychoanalysts have always been insistent about attributing the personality characteristics of the indivi dual to the effects of his early.life experiences.
^1 A. Gesell, and F. L. Ilg, Infant and Child in the Culture of Today; the Guidance of Development in Home and Nursery School INew York; Harper and Brothers, 1943), p. 37* 12 G. Murphy, L. B. Murphy, and T. M. Newcomb, Experi mental Social Psychology; An Interpretation of Research upon the Socialization of the Individual (New York; Harper and Brothers, revised edition, 1937),pp• 208-9* 13 N. Cameron. The Psychology of Behavior Disorders: Houghton Mifflin Com-
A Biosocial Interpretation (New York; pany, 1947), p. 24.
11 and Pearson^ succinctly express the classic psychoanalytic viewpoint when they say: • . . the solution of the relationship with the parents— the Oedipal situation— crystallizes the per sonality, character and behavior patterns for all future life situations. This is the normal process of develop ment and from it we expect a personality that can attain success and happiness in vocational and sexual life in accordance with the culture and the possibilities of the civilization in which he lives. It is probably in great part due to psychoanalytic formulations that, out of the broader context of family influences, psychologists have come to place special emphasis on the role of the mother and her attitudes to the persona lity development of children.
is not alone when he
declares riIt is generally accepted that the most potent of all Influences on social behavior is derived from the primary social experience with the mother.” This universal recognition of the importance of family influences, and of the particular importance of the motherfs influences, in shaping the personality development of child ren, has given rise to a spate of popularized psychological literature, which is frequently full of admonitions to
-*-4 0. S. English, and G. H. J. Pearson, Common Neuroses of Children and Adults (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1937), p. 52. 3-5 D. M. Levy, Maternal Qverprotection (New York: Columbia University Press, 1943), p. 1.
12 parents, mothers in particular, telling them how they should behave toward their children generally and even giving them advice on the ’‘handling*1 of specific problems.
From a daily
column in a large metropolitan newspaper,^ for instance, we cull the following from a discussion on toilet trainings The probability is * . • that undue concern about a child*s toilet habits and excessive emotion shown toward wetting and soiling, may be responsible for the child*s attitudes* * *-• The mother has to remain unperturbedknowing that this is a more influential attitude toward better habits than is her anger or despair. . . or, from a popular magazines^-^ Faultfinding, critical, unloving attitudes drive children into themselves and the less they are exposed to such influences, the better. * • Love, the love that scorns a bribe, that has no price, no selfish motive, is what nourishes children. Surround them with it. Let them abide in it, and they will flourish like the green bay tree. Examples could be cited ad infinitum. the newspapers and magazines are full of them.
The columns of The above
quotations were, for example, picked almost at random. These articles are often written by experts in child care.
There is no dispute with the particular advice which
However, their tone implies that the relevant
M. M. Eldred, f,Your Baby and Mine,11 Los Angeles Daily Hews, November 7, 194-9, p. 21. 17 Angelo Patri, f,The Voice of Affection,** Hedboqk, 9354-1, October, 1949*
13 variables of parental attitudes are known and clearly defined. What is more, they further imply that specific personality characteristics which result from exposure to these attitudes can be predicted. A whole body of psychological literature has grovm out of serious attempts to determine just what these pertinent variables may be, how they may be measured, and what resultant child behavior or personality characteristics might be pre dicted from them. These investigations have attempted resolution of the problem through various approaches.
Some have started by
selecting characteristics in children and gone from these to a consideration of their parents*.attitudes and behavior, seeking to find regularities which may be held accountable for the occurrence of these particular traits.
Some have started
with a selection of parental behavior and attitudes and then have sought to find similarities in traits among their child ren.
Others have begun with selected characteristics in both
parents and children and have attempted to measure their correlation. Along with these several approaches, there have also been differences in the methodologies employed. has been learned from clinical studies.
A great deal ,
gists have taken with them into the field many of the clinical
14 findings to use as starting points for their own method of cross-cultural comparisons.
There have been a few studies
that might be labelled experimental, in that they attempt a control of variables in a more rigidly defined, laboratory like set-up.
And there are many studies that could be
termed essentially statistical, in that they attempt to arrive at their conclusions in regard to the relationships that exist between parental attitudes and child behavior by means of statistical procedures. A comprehensive review of all the pertinent litera ture on parent-child relationships is beyond the scope of the present study.
Perhaps it would be sufficient to review
some of the studies which illustrate the methodologies and approaches to the problem outlined above. Clinical studies.
A clinical study which takes as
its starting point the selection of characteristics in children and goes from these to a consideration of their parents* attitudes is illustrated in the study by
M a c D o n a l d . 18
She had occasion to work therapeutically with boys who had committed criminal acts.
Of these there were nine which she
18 M. W. MacDonald, “Criminally Aggressive Behavior in Passive Effeminate Boys." American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 8 70 8 1938 ------------------------------ ----------
singled out as having very similar constellations of traits* They were all guilty of extremely aggressive acts and yet appeared as passive, effeminate boys.
In the course of her
contact with these boys she noted that all of them had cer tain similarities in their backgrounds.
None of the boys
had ever had an early satisfactory relationship with a father or a father substitute. complete charge of women.
They had all been in the
Further, and what is most rele
vant here, the mothers and grandmothers who had reared them were all considered by MacDonald to be aggressive, dominant, rejecting, punitive women, a characterization arrived at as a result of several interviews with them. This study is by no means unique.
Most of the case
study material falls in this category of investigational procedure.
Many of them do not attempt even as objective an
evluation of the parental attitudes as this, but from the therapeutic interviews reconstruct a picture of the parent, at least as it appeared to the child.
The possibility of
distortion is fully recognized but is discounted as being unimportant.
Although from the point of view of therapy
such distortion may be unimportant, since it is with the patient*s subjective interpretation of parental attitudes and his reactions to them that the therapist deals, and it is a moot point whether knowing and dispensing the “facts”
16 about these attitudes would have any therapeutic value; still for any study which attempts to relate child behavior to parental attitudes some objective measure of these atti
93 the P-A-S, and the scores obtained by the children for the three possible directions of aggression measured by the P-F. None of the correlation coefficients obtained were statistically significant at the *01 level of confidence. Several correlation coefficients were obtained, how ever, which show significance between the five per cent and one per cent levels of confidence. If recognition is given to the inextricable inter play of variables involved in the development of a phenome non as complex as the response an individual will make to a frustrating situation and, further, it is recognized that maternal attitudes comprise only a portion of this complex totality, it is possible to regard these correlations, small as they are, as indicating tendencies for certain maternal attitudes to be associated with particular expressions of aggression in children. Significant positive correlations occur between children1s E responses on the P-F and their mother*s scores on the Dominant and Unclassified sub-scales of the P-A-S. Interpretation of any correlation with the Unclassified scale of the P-A-S is difficult, since its meaning is not clear, but the correlation between the E score on the P-F and the Dominant scale on the P-A-S indicates that the greater the tendency on the part of the mother to be dominant, i.e., to put the child into a subordinate role, to take him
94 into account quite fully but always as one who should con form completely to parental wishes under penalty of severe punishment, the greater the tendency for the child to react to frustration by directing his aggression outwardly on to the environment, i.e., extrapunitively. Although no significant correlations exist between the children’s I scores on the P-F and their mother’s scores on any of the P-A-S scales, when the E and I scores are com bined, small but significant positive correlations are obtained between this combined score and maternal scores on the Total, Dominant, Ignoring and Unclassified scales of the P-A-S.
The combined E and I score was included because
Hosenzweig*1-1^ proposes that these may be the two possible expressions of instinctive aggressive needs, in contrast to impunitiveness which stems, genetically and dynamically, from erotic sources.
From this point of view the combined E and I
score might be considered a measure of hostile aggression. An interpretation of the significant correlations obtained, then would state that the greater the tendency for a mother to be dominant, the greater the tendency for her child to display hostile aggression in response to a frustrating
H. Rosenzweig, The Experimental Measurement of Types of Reaction to Frustration (H. A. Murray , et al, Explorations in Personality. New York: Oxford University Press, p . $86•
Likewise, the greater the tendency on the part of
the mother to be ignoring, i.e., to disregard the child as an individual member of the family, to regard the ,fgoodf1 child as one who demands the least parental time, and to disclaim responsibility for the child*s behavior, the greater tendency will there be for her child to respond to frustration with hostile aggression. It is difficult to interpret the significant correla tions obtained between the E and I score on the P-F and the maternal Total and Unclassified114' scores on the P-A-S because
114 The positive correlation between maternal scores on the Unclassified scale of the P-A-S and the chilren*s E scores on the P-F, and the negative correlation between it and the M scores on the P-F are among the highest correlations obtained in the study. Yet, the Unclassified scale is the shortest scale on the P-A-S, consisting of only ten items. These ten items, however, include statements which relate to such topics as sex, religion, and money. The theoretical significance of such items, particularly within a psychoanalytic frame of reference, is so well known as to need no emphasis. One is led to speculate upon whether an expansion of this scale, designed to ascertain parental attitudes toward these or simi lar areas* would not greatly enhance the value of the test instrument, by increasing its correlation, not only with direc tion of aggression, but with other personality factors and, thereby, provide an increased understanding of their possible dynamic development. Shoben provides no information regarding the intercorre lation of the Unclassified scale, either with the Total or other sub-scales of the P-A-S. Since the correlations obtained between the Unclassified scale and the P-F scores are almost identical to those which were obtained between the P-F scores and the Dominant scale, it arouses speculation as to whether the tendency to be a domineering parent (according to Shoben*s definition) carries with it a tendency to have certain atti tudes toward sex, religion, and money.
the meaning of these latter P-A-S scales is not defined. The other correlation coefficients which are signifi cant at the five per cent level of confidence are those which were obtained between the children*s M scores on the P-F and the mothers* scores on the Total, Dominant and Unclassified scales of the P-A-S.
These correlation coefficients are all
negative and, therefore, indicate a-tendency toward an inverse relationship.
Thus, with an increased tendency toward mater
nal dominance there is a tendency for a decrease in the child*s impunitiveness, i.e., a decrease in his tendency to gloss over the frustration or evade the expression of aggression. It may be recalled that, when the test battery was administered, the children were asked to answer the items on the P-A-S as they believed their mothers would answer them. The rationale for this procedure is amply supported by the clinical literature which contends that it is the child*s interpretation of parental behavior, and the inferences he . draws from these, in regard to his parents* attitudes, which are more influential in channeling his behavior, than are the “actual” parental attitudes.
Even greater support would pro
bably be given to the contention that the child*s interpreta tion of parental attitudes is a greater determinant of his behavior than the parents' conscious evaluation of their own attitudes.
Therefore, if his mother's attitudes are at all
related to a child's responses to frustrating situations, on
97 the basis of this assumption, it would be predicted that a greater correlation would exist between a child*s estimate of his mother*s attitude and his own direction of aggression than would exist between the latter and the mother’s stated attitudes. The next procedure which was carried out, therefore, was to calculate the Pearson correlation coefficients between the children*s estimates of maternal attitude and their own P-F scores.
The results obtained may be found in
Table XIV. TABLE XIV CORRELATIONS BETWEEN CHILDREN’S ESTIMATE OF MATERNAL ATTITUDES ON THE P-A-S AND CHILDREN*S P-F SCORES (N»56)
* O i
Comparison of the above Table with Table XIII reveals that, contrary to prediction, the obtained correlations, in all instances but two (which are statistically insignificant) are lower.
No significant correlations between a child’s
98 estimate of maternal attitudes and his scores on the P-P were obtained. A further suggestion for analysis of the data also comes from the clinical literature, which not only points out the importance of a child*s interpretation of his par ents* attitudes as a determinant of his behavior, but also emphasizes the importance of the fact that such interpreta tions are frequently distortions.
% e possibility of this
distortion is obscured when the ranges, means, and standard deviations are calculated for the two groups as such.
such distortion does occur, however, becomes evident when the differences between the children*s estimate and the actual maternal scores are noted. These differences are calculated, taking the maternal, scores as a base for comparison and noting the extent to which a child overestimates or underestimates his mother*s scores.
Overestimation is expressed by a "plus” score and
underestimation by a ,fminusn score.
The ranges, means and
standard deviations for the difference scores” thus obtained are given in Table XV. These ,fdifference” scores, then, taken as an indica tion of the child’s distortion of his mother’s attitudes, were next correlated with the child’s scores on the P-P. The results are shown in Table XVI.
TABLE XV DIFFERENCE SCORES OBTAINED FROM COMPARISON OF CHILDREN’S ESTIMATES AND ACTUAL MATERNAL SCORES ON P-A-S (N ■ # )
-12 to *fiO
100 TABLE XVI CORRELATIONS OF CHILDREN1S P-F SCORES AND THE DIFFERENCE-SCORES BETWEEN MATERNAL SCORES AND CHILDREN *S ESTIMATES OF MATERNAL SCORES ON THE P-A-S
-.0 0 2
- .0 0 6
-.0 0 2
-.0 1 ?
-.0 6 6
.0 0 3
.0 1 0
Unclass• -.0 3 1
.0009 .0 1 ?
All of the correlations obtained are so close to being zero that it could be stated with equanimity that no relationship exists between these "difference-scores" and the children1s scores on the P-F* The conclusions which may be drawn from these find ings are elaborated in the following Chapter.
CHAPTER VI SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Summary of the Study* The study was an attempt to verify the hypothesis that maternal attitudes are signifi cantly related to the direction of aggression elicited in children by frustrating situation.
The effort was to
express in quantitative terms the qualitative cues derived from clinical observation and experience.
utilized to verify this hypothesis involved the selection of two test instruments:
the P-A-S and the P-F*
that the former provided a valid measure of its defined attitudinal variables.
Validity was also assumed for the
P-F which is a limited projective device designed to dis close patterns of response to mildly frustrating situations resembling those of everyday stress, and which permits classification of these responses into the three categories called directions of aggression. The test battery was administered to a total of 152 college students.and their parents but, due to various fac tors, only fifty-six sets of tests were retained in the study.
These form the basis for its final tabulations,
statistics and conclusions. The test battery, which included the adult forms of the P-F, the P-A-S and a personal data sheet, was
102 administered to the students during a regular classroom period of one hour*
Directions given with the P-A-S
requested that the students answer them as they believed their mothers would. A second copy of the P-A-S was given to the students with a request that they have their mothers complete it and return it to the examiner via the mails in the stamped, addressed envelope provided for this purpose* Complete anonymity was assured, both to the students and their parents, by a numbering system which still per mitted the pairing of mothers and children for statistical handling of the data. All the tests for which complete sets were obtained were then scored, the P-A-S according to the weighted scores assigned by Shoben, and the P-F according to a new method devised for purposes of the study. Aside from the data gleaned from the personal data sheet, the tests yielded four sets of scores; (1) the actual maternal scores on the P-A-S; (2) the children*s estimate of maternal scores on the P-A-S; (3) the difference scores between the actual maternal P-A-S scores and the children*s estimates of them (which were taken as a measure of the child*s
perceptual distortion of maternal attitudes); (4) the children’s scores on the P-F. By virtue of the nature of the instrument, each of the sets of scores on the P-A-S is divided into scores on the total scale and the sub-scales5
(1) dominance, (2) posses
siveness, (3) ignoring, and (4) an unclassified scale. The P-F provides three scores for each individual for the three possible directions of aggression:
punitive (E), (2) intropunitive (I), and (3) impunitive (M)• To determine the extent of the relationship between these sets of scores, the following Pearson correlation coefficients were computed: (1) actual maternal scores on the total and sub-scales of the P-A-S with the children’s E, I, and M scores on the P-F; (2) the children’s estimate of the maternal total and sub-scale P-A-S scores and their own P-F scores. (3) the difference scores between the actual maternal P-A-S scores and the.children*s estimates of them with the children’s P-F scores. Summary of the findings# The findings of the study may be summarized as follows:
Of the fifty correlation
coefficients which were computed, nine were found to be significant at levels greater than the five per cent but less
104 than the one per cent level of confidence.
All of these
occurred between the children1s P-F scores and the actual maternal scores on the P-A-S.
(1) a positive correlation between the child*s extrapunitiveness and the mother*s Dominance and Unclassified scales scores; (2) a negative correlation between the child*s impunitiveness and the mother’s Total, Dominance, and Unclassified scores* (3) a positive correlation between the child*s hostile aggression (E plus I scores) and the mother’s Total, ^Dominance, Ignoring and Unclassified scores. Contrary to prediction, no significant correlations were obtained between the child*s estimate of maternal scores and their own P-F scores, nor were any significant correlations obtained between the ’’difference scores” and the children’s P-F scores. Conclusions. Within the frame of reference of the present study, i.e., accepting its basic assumptions, one may conclude that it yields some support to the hypothesis that there is a statistically significant though low, rela tionship between measures of maternal attitude and measures of the direction of aggression elicited in children as a response to frustrating situations resembling those of everyday stress.
105 Specific conclusions which may he drawn from the findings of the study in regard to the nature of the rela tionship found to exist between these measures may be stated as follows: (1 ) from the correlation obtained between the child ren’s E scores on the P-F and the mothers* Domi nance score on the P-A-S, it may be concluded that the greater the tendency on the part of the mother to be dominant, i.e., to put the child into a subordinate role, to take him into account quite fully but always as one who should conform com pletely to parental wishes under penalty of severe punishment, the greater the tendency for the child to react to frustration by directing his aggres sion outwardly on to the environment, i.e., extrapunitively; (2 ) from the negative correlation obtained between the children’s M scores on the P-F and the mothers’ scores on the Dominant scale of the P-A-S, it may be concluded that the greater the tendency for mothers to be domineering the less of a tendency there is for children to gloss over frustration or evade the expression of aggression; (3 ) from the positive correlation obtained between the children’s E plus I scores on the P-F and the
mothers1 scores on the Dominance scale of the P-A-S, it may be concluded that the greater the tendency for mothers to be dominant, the greater the tendency for children to display hostile aggression directed either outwardly on to the environment or inwardly toward the self; (4) from the positive correlations obtained between the children1s E plus I scores on the P-F and the mothers* scores on the Ignoring scale of the P-A-S, it may be concluded that the greater the tendency for the mothers to be ignoring the greater the ten dency for the children to respond with hostile aggression to frustration, i.e., the greater the mother*s tendency to disregard the child as an individual member of the family, to regard the f,goodtl child as one who demands the least parental time, and to disclaim responsibility for the child’s behavior, the greater the tendency will be for her child to react to frustration with hostile aggression directed either outwardly on to the environment or inwardly towards the self. (5 ) the conclusion which may be drawn in regard to the correlation obtained between the maternal Total score on the P-A-S and the child’s M score on the P-F is that there is a tendency for an inverse
relationship to exist between the two of them, i.e., the greater the maternal Total P-A-S score, the smaller the child*s M score on the P-F.
difficult, however, to draw broader inferences from this relationship because the meaning of the Total score on the P-A-S is not defined.
actually a simple sum of the four scores on the sub-scales and, therefore, represents a complexity which does not readily lend itself to definition. The significant correlation obtained is probably accounted for by the fact that a correlation of almost the same magnitude and in the same direc tion obtains between the children*s M score on the P-F and the maternal Dominance score on the P-A-S. The intercorrelation between the Dominance and the Total scores on the P-A-S is stated by Shoben to be
0 .8 6 .
(6 ) the positive correlation 'between the maternal Total scores and the children’s E plus I scores indicates that the greater the maternal Total P-A-S score the greater the children’s scores on the E plus I (hostile aggression) category of the P-F will be.
Here again, the extent of the corre
lation is almost identical to the relationship found to exist between the maternal Dominance
scores on the P-A-S and the children*s E plus I scores on the P-F so that the high intercorrela tion between the Dominance and Total scales on the P-A-S probably accounts for the finding. (7 ) the conclusions which may be drawn in regard to the meaning of the correlations obtained between the maternal Unclassified score and the children*s res ponses on the P-F are, again, obscure.
It may be
stated that the higher the maternal score on this scale the greater the tendency for the children to score high on the E and E plus I categories of the P-F and to score low on the M category.
lations follow the same pattern as those obtained between these latter variables and the maternal Dominance scores on the P-A-S.
They are even
slightly greater in magnitude, although not signi ficantly so.
Unfortunately, Shoben provides no
data on the intercorrelation of this scale with the Total or other sub-scales of the P-A-S, nor does he define this scale except to say that it includes items which defied classification into the other three scales of the instrument. From the fact
that no significant correlations were
obtained between the child*s estimate of, or the extent of
109 their distortion of, maternal attitudes as measured by the P-A-S and their scores on the P-F, it may be concluded that: (1 ) no significant relationship exists between a child1s interpretation of his mother’s attitudes and the direction of his aggressive responses to frustrating situations; (2 ) the extent to which a child distorts (or mis interprets) his mother’s attitudes has no signi ficant relationship to the direction of his agressive responses to frustrating situations; and (3 ) a mother’s own estimate of her attitudes provides a better predictive index for her child’s aggres sive reactions to frustration than does the child’s interpretation of these attitudes. Interpretation of the conclusions and indications for further research. All of the conclusions derived from the findings of the study are made within its own frame of refer ence and rest on the assumptions which underlie its proce dures.
These assumptions, however, are themselves open to
question and would provide hypotheses for further research. The first of these assumptions is that there is an essential continuity in parental attitudes and that, conse quently, the assessment of a parent’s attitudes at any given point in time will be an adequate measure of that parent’s
attitudes over an extended period of time.
Such an assump
tion is necessary to justify the use of college-age ren” and their parents as the study*s population.
assumption is one that is often made in theories of perso nality which postulate a dynamic interrelationship between parental attitudes and child behavior, and it has consider able clinical and observational justification. validation, however, is lacking.
Even were it fully borne
out, there still remains the question of whether the P-A-S is a test instrument which consistently measures such atti tudes.
The lack of test-retest reliability of the P-A-S
makes its use as an indicator of such attitudes seriously open to question. The study assumes consistency, also, in another area of behavior.
This is the assumption that individuals are
consistent in the direction of their aggressive responses to specific frustrating situations.
Here again, there is some
evidence to suggest that individuals may have characteristic modes of reaction to frustration, but lack of test-retest reliability of the P-F makes questionable an interpretation of an individual*s scores even in terms of consistently displayed modes of reactions to the test items themselves. Lacking data anent this type of reliability it is possible to interpret P-F scores as indicating only transitory moods, more highly influenced by the events immediately preceding
test administration than by the relatively diffuse background created by an individuals parents* attitudes. The crucial assumption of the study, however, lies in the assumed validity of its measuring instruments.
pretation of the data is of doubtful value because of the lack of validity data for either the P-A-S or the P-F.
the case of the P-A-S, there has been no validation of its sub-scales so that it cannot be stated with certainty that the parent who obtains a high score on the Dominance scale, for instance, actually displays more dominant behavior toward his child (in terms of Shoben*s definition) than one who obtains a low score on this scale. In the case of the P-F, there is no validity data which establishes whether an individual who responds in a given direction to a P-F item would react in the same fashion in an actual social situation such as it depicts.
questionable any conclusions based on the P-F scores which interprets them as indicative of an individual’s actual beha vior even in similar real-life situations. The primary indication for further research, which stems from the present study, therefore, is the validation of the two test instruments it uses, and the demonstartion that they measure consistently displayed modes of behavior.
this is done, it is felt that any conclusions based on their use is open to question.
As they now stand, it is felt that
they are of doubtful value as research tools or as bases for meaningful clinical application* Making explicit the weakness of these test instruments as psychological measuring devices, although only incidental to the present study, may well be its major contribution, for, if validity and reliability should be established for them, both the P-A-S and the P-F could be used as adjuncts for research that would shed light on important psychological problems* No exhaustive enumeration of all of these problems is possible, but a few of them immediately present themselves. A few of the questions that might be answered by a valid and reliable measure of parental attitudes are: (1) Do the attitudes of mother*s and father*s differ markedly, and how do their differences affect child behavior? (2 ) Yfhat are the normative parental attitudes for any given group? (3) What are the significant differences in the norma tive parental attitudes of different sub-cultural groups? (4) What is the relationship between an individual*s childhood experiences and his attitudes when he becomes a parent,
(5) How are parental attitudes related to various aspects of child behavior? (6 ) Are there significant differences in the atti tudes of the parents of psychotic and “normal11 individuals? Some of the questions that might be answered by a valid and reliable measure of an individual’s aggressive responses to frustration are: (1) How is the expression of aggression related to other criteria of social adjustment and maladjust ment? (2) What are the cultural and sub-cultural norms for the expression of aggression in a given situation? (3) Is an individual’s expression of aggression signi ficantly related to specific aspects of his child hood experience such as toilet training? (4) What is the relationship between an individual’s expression of aggression and his position on a “masculinity-femininity” continuum? These are a few of the many possibilities for the research utilization of the P-A-S and P-F once validity and reliability is established for the instruments with their present orientation.
It is possible, however, that a shift
in the orientation of the tests would be even more profitable. Suggestions for one such reorientation for each of the tests
are embodied in the text of the study but might bear reitera tion at this point. It is suggested that a shift of the emphasis of the P-A-S to include more items of the sort found in the Unclas sified sub-scale might increase its usefulness.
sified sub-scale is composed of only ten items, but the correlation of parents’ scores on it with children’s E, M, and E plus I scores on the P-F are among the highest obtained in the study.
This may indicate that a test composed of
items that deal with questions of sex, religion, money, etc., would be more significantly correlated with child behavior than is the test as it now stands. Also, since the significance of the situations depic ted in the P-F items is not clear, it would still be diffi cult to interpret its meaningfulness even if validity and reliability were established for its present form. Suggestions from the literature indicate that P-F scores might be more meaningful if the items were structured around such sub-variables as frustration induced by "autho rity figures,” "social inferiors," and "peers."
suggested that with this type of reorientation of the P-F the direction of aggression scores derived from it could be more significantly interpreted and provide cues which, when related to the individual’s experience, would provide greater
insight into the dynamics of personality development and the nature of the socialization process*
B I B L I O G R A P H Y
Allport, G. W., Personality; A Psychological Interpreta tion* New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1937* Burgess, E. W., and H. J. Locke, The Family: From Institu tion to Companionship* New York; American Book Company, 1945* Cameron, Norman, The Psychology of the Behavior Disorders: A Biosocial Interpretation* New York; Houghton Mifflin Company, 1947* Dollard, J., L* W* Boob, N* E. Miller, 0. H* Mowrer, R* R. Sears, C. S. Ford, C. I. Ho viand, and R* T. Sollenberger, Frustration and Aggression* New Haven: The Institute of Human Relations, Yale University Press, 1939* English, 0. S*, and G* H* J. Pearson, Common Neuroses of Children and Adults* New York: W* W* Norton Company, 1937* Fenichel, Otto, The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis* New York: W* W* Norton Company, 1945• Freud, Sigmund, Beyond the Pleasure Principle* London: International Psychoanalytic Press, 1922. ______ , Mourning and Melancholia (1917) in Collected Papers, Vol* IV. London: Hogarth Press, 1934* Gesell, A., and F. L. Ilg, Infant and Child in the Culture of Today: The Guidance of Development in Home and Nursery School* New York: Harper and Brothers, 1943* Guilford, J. P., Fundamental Statistics in Psychology and Education* New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1942. Jones, H* E., Development in Adolescence* New York: Appleton-Century Company, 1943• Levy, David M., Maternal Overprotection * New York: University Press,* 1943* At
Mead, Margaret, Male and Female* New York: and Company, 194-9•
Menninger, Karl, Man Against Himself* New York: Brace and Company, 1938.
Murphy,, G*, Personality: A Biosocial Approach to Origins and . Structure* New York: Harper and Brothers, 1947* ______ , L. B* Murphy, and T. M. Newcomb, Experimental Social Psychology: An Interpretation of Research upon the Socialization of the Individual* New York: Harper and Brothers, revised edition, 1937* Rosenzweig, S. H*, The Experimental Measurement of Types of Reaction to Frustration* H. A. Murray, et al, Explora tions in Personality* New York: Oxford University Press, 193^ pp. 5«5-99. Ruch, Floyd L., Psychology and Life* Chicago: man and Company, 3rd edition, 1948.
Shaffer, L. F., Psychology of Adjustment* Boston: Mifflin Company, 193°•
Symonds, Percival M., The Psychology of Parent-Child Relation ships* New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, 1939* ______ , The Dynamics of Human Adjustment. New York: Appleton-Century Company, 1946• B.
Baldwin, A. L., J. Kalhorn, and F. H. Breese, "Patterns of Parent Behavior, 11 Psychological MonographsT 58:1-75, 1945* Burgum, Mildred, "Constructive Values Associated with Rejec tion, 11 American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 10:312-26. 1940. Clarke, H. J., Saul Rosenzweig, and E. E. Fleming, "The Relia bility of the Scoring of the Rosenzweig Picture-Frustration Study," Journal of Clinical Psychology. 3*364-70, October, 1§47*
119 Hattwick, B. W., “Interrelations Between the Preschool Child*s Behavior and Certain Factors in the Home,” Child DevelopmentT 7*200-6, 1936. _____ and M. Stowell, “The Relation of Parental QverAttentiveness to Children*s Work Habits and Social Adjustments in Kindergarten and the First Six Grades of School* 11 Journal of Educational Research* 30:169-76. 1936. Lewin, K*, R. Lippitt, and R. K. White, “Patterns of Aggres sive Behavior in Experimentally Created *Social Climates*“ Journal of Social Psychology. 10:271-99, 1939* MacDonald, M. W., “Criminally Aggressive Behavior in Passive Effeminate Boys.“ American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 8s70-8, 1938. ----Maslow, A. H., “Deprivation, Threat and Frustration,“ logical Review. 4 8 :3 6 4 -0 6 , 1941.
Merrill, B., “A Measurement of Mother-Child Interaction,“ Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 41:37-49, 1946. Mowrer, 0. H.? “Authoritarianism versus Self-Government in the Management of Children*s Aggressive Reactions as Prepara tion for Citizenship in Democracy,” Journal of Social Psychology. 10:121-26, 1939. Newell, H. W., “A Further Study of Maternal Rejection,” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 6:576-607, 1936. Patri, Angelo, “The Voice of Affection,” Redbook, 93*41, October, 1949* Richards, T. W., and M. P. Simons, “The Fels Child Behavior Scales,” Genetic Psychology Monographs. 24:259-309, 1941. Rosenzweig, Saul, “Type of Reaction to Frustration: An Heu ristic Classification,” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 29*298-300, 1934* ______ , “Need-Persistive and Ego-Defensive Reactions to Frus tration as Demonstrated by an Experiment on Repression,” Psychological Review, 48:347-49, 1941.
______ , E. E. Fleming, and H. J. Clarke, "Revised Scoring Manual for the Rosenzweig Picture-Frustration Study," Journal of Psychology, 24:165-208, 1947* -
E. E. Fleming, and L. Rosenzweig, "The Children*s Form of the Rosenzweig Picture-Frustration Study," Jour nal of Psychology« 26:141-91, 1948*
Sears, R. R., "Non-aggressive Reactions to Frustration," Psychological Review, 4 8 :3 4 3 -4 6 , 1941. Shoben, Edward Joseph, Jr., "The Assessment of Parental Atti tudes in Relation to Child Adjustment," Genetic Psychology Monographs. 39*101-48, 1949* Stogdill, E., "Attitudes of Parents, Students and Mental Hygienists Toward Children*s Behavior," Journal of Social Psychology, 4:486-89, 1933• Stott, L., "Some Family Life Patterns and Their Relation to Personality Development in Children," Journal of Experi mental Education, 8:148-60, 1939* Watson, Goodwin, "A Comparison of the Effects of Lax vs. Strict Home Training*" Journal of Social Psychology* 5: 102-5, 1934* Witmer, H. L., "Parental Behavior as an Index to the Probable Outcome of Treatment in a Child Guidance Clinic," Ameri can Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 3*431-44, 1933* C.
PARTS OF SERIES
Anderson, John P., The Relationship Between Certain Aspects of Parental Behavior and Attitudes and the Behavior of Junior High School Pupils. Teachers* College Contribu tions to Education, No. S09« New york: Columbia Uni versity Press. Gottenmoller, R., The Influence of Certain Aspects of the Home Environment to the Adjustment of Children to Kinder garten. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 9*303-59, 1939.
Knight, E . M *, A Descriptive Comparison of Markedly Aggres sive and Submissive Children* Smith College Studies in Social Work, 4:168, 1933 (Abstract) Laws, Gertrude, Parent-Child Relationships: A Study of the Attitudes and Practices Concerning Social Adjustment of Children* Contributions to Education, No.2§3* New York: Teachers* College, Columbia University Press, 1927• Meyers, C., The Effect of Conflicting Authority on the Child* in Studies in Topological and Vector Psychology III, University of Iowa Studies in Child Welfare, 20, 1940. Radke, M. J., The Relation of Parental Authority to Children*s Behavior and Attitudes* University of Minnesota, The Institute of Child Y/elfare Monograph Series, No. 22, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1946. Sewell, M., Some Causes of Jealousy in Young Children* Smith College Studies in Social ?/ork, 1:6-22, 1930. Zimmerman, A., Parental Adjustment and Attitudes in Relation to the Problems of Five and Six-Year-Old Children* Smith College Studies in Social Work, 1:406-7, 1931 (Abstract) D.
Grant, ___, (Quoted by Radke from an unpublished Master*s thesis, No university cited). E.
Eldred, M. M., tfYour Baby and Mine,11 Los Angeles Daily News, November 7, 1949• P* 21.
Present D a t e _____________ , ___
ROSENZWEIG P-F STUDY (Revised Form for Adults)
Instructions Each of the following pictures contains two or more people. One person is always shown talking to another. You are asked to write in the empty space the very first reply that comes into your mind. Avoid being humurous. Work as fast as you can.
Copyright, 1948, by Saul Rosenzweig
This is the third time I've had to bring back this brand new watch which I bought only a week ago— it always stops as soon as I get home
The library rules permit you to take only two books at a time.
prwrnrr i i M j p/THhiT
Your girl friend invited me to the dance tonight— she said you weren't going.
Aren't you being a little too fussy?
She should have been here 10 minutes ago.
I can’t see you this morning even though we made tne arrangement yesterday.
\ Too bad, partner. We’d have won after your swell playing if I hadn’t made that stupid mistake.
You had no right to try and pass me.
^ 7fl* X ^ ct
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