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Family paradigmatic preferences and childrearing practices of mothers differing by race and educational level

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Family paradigmatic preferences and childrearing practices of mothers differing by race and educational level
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Rulien, Theresa Thweatt
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English
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xi, 167 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.

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Subjects / Keywords:
Child development ( jstor )
Child psychology ( jstor )
Educational levels ( jstor )
Family relations ( jstor )
Mothers ( jstor )
Paradigms ( jstor )
Parent education ( jstor )
Parenting ( jstor )
Parents ( jstor )
Social classes ( jstor )
Counselor Education thesis, Ph. D ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Counselor Education -- UF ( lcsh )
Duval County ( local )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1997.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 145-166).
Additional Physical Form:
Also available online.
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Theresa Thweatt Rulien.

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FAMILY PARADIGMATIC PREFERENCES AND CHILDREARING PRACTICES OF
MOTHERS DIFFERING BY RACE AND EDUCATIONAL LEVEL

















By

THERESA THWEATT RULIEN











A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

1997





























Copyright 1997

by

Theresa Thweatt Rulien
















to my mother and father

This is as much yours as it is mine.

and

to my daughter, Caitlin

You did a lot of this with me and yes, we're

Phinally Done!















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Unfortunately it is impossible to acknowledge every person who has contributed in some way to the completion of this dissertation, but I sincerely appreciate the countless acts of kindness, support, and empathy that allowed me to continue with this phase of my life. Specifically I want to thank Greg Dionne and Jeanne von Genk for their courage and willingness to tutor me through the basics of computer literacy. Without their patience I would have continued handwriting this study. I also want to graciously extend my appreciation and admiration to Mchael Lanier and Dr. Thom Borowy for their expert advice as well as their ongoing support and empathic understanding when I was sure I would never make it. The supportive guidance of my doctoral committee, Dr. Larry Loesch, Dr. Joe Wittmer, and Dr. David Mller, is gratefully acknowledged, and especially that of my chairperson, Dr. Ellen Amatea, who pleaded, pushed and never let me feel defeated.

Without family this would have been an impossible task. I thank my aunt, Mary Evelyn Albertson, for the use of her printer when I had none, and to my great aunt, Elizabeth "Jodie" Allen, for the neverending words and Bible verses of support and encouragement, and her "magical" way of knowing when I needed to receive a letter or phone call. And to Mr. McIver Brooks, who isn't really family, but should be, for never iv











hesitating to lovingly remind me to get to work. I thank my in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Rulien (Maureen), for babysitting and for understanding when I couldn't make it to a family function.

I especially wish to acknowledge my husband, Joey, and our three children, Caitlin, Dustin, and Dillin, for their patience at having me in school the entire time any of the four have known me. Their belief in me kept this a worthwhile goal. And to my parents, Dr. and Mrs. Robert Thweatt (Doris), I can not even begin to express my gratitude for their love, support, and faith in me. Without their parenting, urging, empathy, editing, advice, wisdom, and constant willingness to keep my children "just a few more hours" I would not have even come close to achieving this goal.



























v















TABLE OF CONTENTS

pne
ACKNOVrLEDGM ENTS ........................................................................................... -Av

LIST OF TABLES ........................................................................................................ viii

A B S T R A C T ................................................................................................................... ix

CHAPTERS

I INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................... I

Scope of the Problem ................................................................. ............................. .... 4
Theoretical Framework ........... ............................................................................... 9
Need for the Study ...................................................................................................... 15
Purpose of the Study ................................................................................................... 16
Research Questions .................................................. ................................................. 17
Definition of Terms ..................................................................................................... 18
Organization of the Study ............................................................................................ 22

2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ........................... ................................................. 23

Theories of Parenting and Parenting Education Programs ............................................ 23
Overview of Parenting Assessment Instrument Development ....................................... 28
Relating Parenting to Family Background Characteristics ............................................ 31
Relating Parenting to Parental Cognitive Level ............................................................ 40
Relating Parenting to the Nature of the Family Context ............................................... 46
C o n clu sio n ....................................................... .................................................... 7 5

3 METHODOLOGY ...................... .............................................................................. 78

Statement of the Purpose .............................. ............................................................. 78
H y p o th e se s .......................... ............................. ...................................................... 7 8
Design of the Study ...................................... ............................................................. 80

vi









Description of the Population ...................................................................................... 82
Sampling Procedures... ........ .................................................................................... -83
S u bje c ts ................................ ..................................................................................... 8 4
Data Collection ........................................................................................................... 85
Instrumentation ........................................................................................................... 86
Data Analysis ............................................................................................................ 100

4 RESULTS ............................................................... ................................................ 102

Research Hypotheses.... .......................................................................................... 104
S u m m ary .................................................................................................... ............. 12 1

5 DISCUSSION .......................................................................................................... 122

Discussion of the Results .......................................................... ............................... 122
Limitations of the Study ................................................. ......................................... 132
Suggestions for Future Research .............................................................................. 133
Implications of the Study ................................................................. ........................ 134
Summary and Conclusions ........ ............................................................................... 135

APPENDICES

A DEM OGRAPHIC INTERVIEW SCHEDULE ....................................................... 136

B PARENTING PREFERENCES INVENTORY ...................................................... 138

C L E T T E R ....................... ........................................................................................ 14 1

D TELEPHONE CONTACT .................................................................................... 142

E INFORM ED CON SENT .......... .................................. ......................................... 144

REFERENCES ............................................................................... .......... ............. 145

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .................................... ................................................. 167







vii















LIST OF TABLES



Table pAge
I Defining features, strengths, and limitations of family paradigms ................................ 12

2 P arenting instrum ents ......................................... ................................................ 32

3. Sample means and standard deviations of dependent variables by race and
edu catio nal level ...................................................................................................... 103

4. Analysis of variance to assess differences in family paradigmatic preference
due to m other's educational level .............................................................................. 105

5. Analysis of variance to assess differences in family paradigmatic preference
due to m other's race ....................... .................... ............................................ ..... 107

6. Regression analysis to assess the difference in level of verbal interaction
due to fam ily paradigm atic preference ...................................................................... 109

7. Regression analysis to assess the difference in level of behavioral interaction
due to fam ily paradigm atic preference .................................... ................................. In

8. Regression analysis to assess the frequency of democratic family-management
style due to family paradigmatic preference .............................................................. 113

9. Regression analysis to assess the frequency of laissez-faire family-management
style due to family paradigmatic preference .............................................................. 115

10. Regression analysis to assess the frequency of authoritarian fan-fily-management
style due to family paradigmatic preference ....... .......................................... .......... 117

11. Regression analysis to assess the frequency with which mothers use
person-centered communication due to family paradigmatic preference ................ 119



viii















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

FAMILY PARADIGMATIC PREFERENCES AND CHILDREARING PRACTICES OF
MOTHERS DIFFERING BY RACE AND EDUCATIONAL LEVEL By

Theresa Thweatt Rulien

May, 1997

Chairperson: Dr. Ellen Amatea Major Department: Counselor Education

Family paradigmatic theory was utilized, in this study, as a framework for exploring and attempting to understand the differences in childrearing attitudes and practices of mothers differing in race and educational level. First, the author proposed to examine empirically the family paradigmatic preferences of women who were mothers of at least one elementary school aged child. Second, the author compared the childrearing practices and style of parent-child communication of mothers differing in family paradigmatic preference. Third, the author investigated the frequency with which mothers differing in educational level and race were characterized by differing family paradigmatic preferences.



ix









The purpose of this descriptive comparative study was to determine whether women differing in terms of their family paradigmatic preference would differ in their parenting practices and parent-child communication. The sample consisted of 57 mothers representing four separate groups divided by educational level and race. Interviews were conducted with each of the mothers and consisted of the collection of demographic information as well as administration of four different instruments assessing (a) parent-child communication; (b) family-management style; (c) family paradigmatic preference; and (d) child-management values.

A series of chi-square analyses and a series of two-way analyses of variance were conducted to determine the frequency with which mothers differing by educational level and race chose each of the four family paradigms. A series of regression analyses were conducted to determine the effect of family paradigmatic preference on child-management values, family-management style, and child-centered communication.

No significant differences in family paradigmatic preference based on mothers' race or educational level were found. No significant differences were found in child-management values nor for levels of child-centered communication for mothers differing in family paradigmatic preference. A significant difference was found for mothers describing an open family paradigm and reporting a preference for a democratic






x









family-management style, however, no significant differences were found for the other family paradigms or family-management styles.

Implications and suggestions for future research were discussed in concluding this study.









































xi














CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION

Assisting parents in learning how to parent their children more effectively has been proposed as a viable solution to many of the social problems facing contemporary America (Alexander, Barton, Schiavo, & Parsons, 1976. Gordon & Davidson, 1981 Graziano, 1986; Klein, Alexander, & Parsons, 1977; Levant, 1983a; Levant, 1983b; Robin, Kent, OLeary, Foster, & Prinz, 1977). Whether it be in response to the problem of child neglect or abuse, to the rising tide of violence in schools, to the increase in juvenile crime and homicide, or to relatively normal "rebellion," improving parents' abilities to effectively rear their children has been viewed as an important step toward preventing social problems. But what style of childbearing and image of family life should be promoted in these parenting interventions?

Despite attempts to rethink "the family" as a social form and to dispel the myths and monolithic view of contemporary family life, relatively little research exists that focuses on the complexity and diversity of parenting beliefs and experiences or the pervasive impact of culture or class in shaping these beliefs. Instead most social scientists who have conceptualized and assessed childrearing/parenting practices and values have often conceptualized a continuum of "good" to"bad" (or functional to dysfunctional)






2




childrearing practices and values and have built assessment instruments that describe and evaluate parental behavior in terms of these types of continnua. Implicit in these researchers' (Dinkmeyer & McKay, 1976; Dreikurs & Soltz, 1964; Gordon, 1970, 1976; Graziano, 1983; Levant, 1983a; Levant, 1983b.- Moreland, Schwebel, Beck, & Wells, 1982; Popkin, 1983;- and Robin, 198 1) conceptualizations of parenting is the assumption that there is one optimal way to parent children and that deviations from this favored style represent less than adequate parenting. But could there be more than one way to effectively rear children? How might the nuances of culture, ethnicity, or class impact parents' beliefs about how families should be organized and childrearing practiced? Might there be different images or paradigms of family life preferred by parents of varying racial or educational backgrounds? Could there be a relationship between the ways parents report preferring to rear their children and their ideas about how their family life should be structured?

Although the impact of differing cultural, ethnic, and educational influences on the lives of families is beginning to be acknowledged, most researchers examining childrearing practices of parents differing by race and educational level have viewed any deviations from a proposed norm as a sign of deficit rather than as evidence of legitimately different styles of parenting shaped by different sociocultural traditions and contexts (Constantine, 1986, 1993; Fantini & Cardenas, 1980; Fine & Henry, 1989; Minuchin, 1974). Thus much






3




is known about how members of various sociocultural groups differ from the white, middle class standard of childrearing explicated in current childrearing theories, but relatively little is known about how these individuals effectively rear their children to be contributing members of society (Belsky, 1984; Bronfenbrenner, 1977; Goodnow, 1985; Nwachuku & Ivey, 1991).

How can the childrearing practices and values of parents living in distinctively different sociocultural contexts be explored? Might there be different images or paradigms of family life preferred by parents of varying racial or educational backgrounds? If it can be assumed that each sociocultural group offers to its members a sense of identity, direction, and explanation for the world around them and that such explanations may lead to the development of different processes for creating meaning in life, it may be found that members of different sociocultural groups hold different images or paradigms of family life. Could there be a relationship between the way parents report preferring to rear their children and their ideas about how their family life should be structured? In this study these questions were addressed by examining whether mothers' general beliefs about how families should be organized were associated with certain childrearing practices and interactional competencies, and determining whether such beliefs about family life occurred more frequently within mothers of certain racial or educational backgrounds. While it is certainly important to understand the preferences of all family members, the





4



author focused exclusively on the paradigmatic preferences of mothers as an initial step in studying the relationship between childrearing practices and family image.

Scope of the Problem

Childrearing practices have been questioned, debated, and obsessed upon by social scientists, educators and community leaders for over half a century (Carlson, 1985). As social institutions in the United States (e.g., day care and the schools) assume greater responsibility for childrearing, increasing attention is being paid to determining what might be the best way to rear children to be successful in society. Hand-in-hand with the increase in institutional involvement in childrearing has come the recognition that there are conflicting points of view as to how best to rear a child (Carlson, 1985; Dembo, Sweitzer, & Lauritizen, 1985; Gfellner, 1990). It is becoming increasingly evident that different subgroups of society, each operating with their own set of values, rules and expectations, may each have their own ideas about the "correct way" to rear a child (Ivey, 1988; Strom, Griswold, & Slaughter, 1981).

Is there only one correct method? This question has been raised only recently in

designing research and interventions on childrearing. Embracing the perspective that there was a single correct way to rear a child, researchers in the 1960s and 1970s often conceptualized parenting styles in terms of unidimensional constructs: love versus hostility or autonomy versus control (Baumrind, 1967, 1971, 1972; Becker, 1964; Kegan





5



& Moss, 1962; Maccoby & Martin, 1983; Schaefer, 1961; Sears, Maccoby & Levin, 1957). Baumrind (1967, 1971, 1972), for example, identified three basic styles of childrearing: authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative. According to Baumrind, authoritative parents produce competent, well-adjusted children with high self-esteem through clear, open communication. They also encourage independence while setting age-appropriate limits. The authoritarian style, based on dominating control, was found to be associated with poor social development and adjustment in children and adolescents (Lau, Cheung, Cheung, Lew, & Berndt, 1990). In this study, children perceived an increase in parental warmth and family harmony with a decrease in dominating control.

In the 1980s and 1990s with the growth of the family therapy movement, efforts

shifted to identifying how families function in rearing children. Attention has broadened to examine how a family, not just a parent, might structure themselves to conduct childrearing functions. Thus, the need for family communication, clarity of generational boundaries, and unity in parental decisionmaking was emphasized (Minuchin, 1974; Minuchin & Fishman, 1981; Satir, 1972). In addition, different models of healthy family functioning were proposed by family systems theorists (Beavers & Hampson, 1990; Olson, Portner & Bell, 1982; Stinnert & DeFrain, 1989). However, inherent in many of these family models was a continuum from healthy to pathological; there were right versus wrong ways of organizing as a family and rearing children.






6




In recent years, a second perspective for conceptualizing childrearing practices has emerged which focuses on parents' cognitive processes. Intrigued by questions such as "How do parents decide how they will rear their children?" and "What factors shape their personal 'theory of childrearing'?", researchers operating from this newer perspective seek to determine whether the very nature of adult cognitions shapes the ways parents respond to their children and the task of parenting. A key assumption underlying this research is that parents do not merely react to a particular child's actions in a situation, but that numerous previous interactions and knowledge about the child are cognitively structured and thus influence the manner in which the parent interprets and reacts to the situation (Dekovic & Gerris, 1992). Parents organize their actions depending on the goals they hope to achieve, supporting the idea that parental behavior is not merely reactive (Dix & Grusec, 1985; Goodnow, 1985; Miller, 1988; Sigel, 1985). For example, Dekovic and Gerris (1992) found, in their study of parental reasoning and childrearing behaviors, that parental reasoning complexity made an independent contribution to parental behavior beyond the contribution of social class or educational level.

This increased interest in studying childrearing from a cognitive perspective has resulted in the development of a variety of different cognitive theories which explain the cognitive development of adults (Ivey, 1991; Kohlberg, 1969; Loevinger, 1980). Cognitive developmental hierarchies have been constructed on the basis of both the






7



content and the structure of thinking regarding childrearing tasks. The associations among the structure of parental beliefs and parental communication characteristics (Applegate, Burleson, Burke, Delia & Kline, 1985), parental concepts of child development (Sameroff & Feil, 1985), parent-child relationships (Newberger, 1980), and parental behaviors (Dekovic & Gerris, 1992) have been examined. However, these models of parental reasoning complexity, with their emphases on developmental hierarchies and low to high levels of cognitive complexity, still have an inherent "right versus wrong" quality to their descriptions of parental thinking.

Recently, the need for understanding and appreciating the diversity in childrearing practices of individuals has resulted in a third approach to exploring parents' ideas about childrearing. This perspective focuses on understanding the world view of the parent. It underscores the normalcy of differing modes of childrearing which evolve as a result of a parent's social context, family organization, and cultural heritage. Based on the premise that there is more than one way to effectively rear children, this approach seeks to determine whether different childrearing practices are associated with particular normative assumptions, world views and frames of reference. This conceptual approach is illustrated by the thinking of Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger and Tarule (1986):
Our basic assumptions about the nature of truth and reality and the origins of knowledge shape the way we see the world and ourselves as participants in it.
They affect our definitions of ourselves, the way we interact with others, our
public and private personae, our sense of control over life events, our views of
teaching and learning, and our conceptions of morality, (pg. 3).






8




Childrearing is, in itself, a cultural activity. Cultural and economic factors are at work in a child's life from the act of conception to the pregnancy and its associated customs to the birth ritual. How might the impact on parents' thinking of the cultural perspective be examined? Such a conceptualization of parenting would require that researchers go beyond examining mother-chid interaction and consider wider familial and cultural variables (Belsky, 1980; Hinde, 1979; LeVine, 1980; Patterson, 1982). Cultures and communities deliver many messages about parenting. Bronfenbrenner (1977) pointed out the importance of the broader community or macrosystem in setting the normative cultural standards about childrearing through advice from relatives and experts or through role modeling and witnessing interactions of other families. Goodnow (1985) suggested that culture is the primary source of information about the facts of childrearing including what children are like at different ages, what parenting techniques work, and what goals parents should value. Some researchers have extended this investigation to say that what parents think is important, guides or influences choices. Therefore, to define an effective parent requires some notion of the goals of parenting promoted in a specific cultural context (Gordon, 1980). Whether it be due to environmental risks or occupational and societal roles it has become increasingly evident that differing cultural perspectives have implications in the childrearing practices of parents.





9



Mother's race and educational level were selected as the independent variables for this study based on this review of the literature. A preliminary survey was conducted using social class as one of the independent variables, but it was determined that level of education provided a clearer picture of the mother's status level. Using Hollingshead's Four Factor Index of Social Status (1975) social class showed evidence of inconsistent categorizations due to the occupational level not necessarily correlating with the level of education.

Although this third perspective holds much promise for identifying the diverse ways in which parents might effectively rear their young, there has been only limited research exploring how a parent's view of family life is influenced by their cultural (i.e., racial) and educational status, and how this view of family life affects their childbearing practice.

Theoretical Framework

A number of different typologies of family life have been proposed by family theorists to describe the diverse ways in which families organize themselves, structure their interactions, and give meaning to their fives together (Beavers, 1981; Olson, Sprinkle, & Russell, 1979). These typologies have been used to classify families in terms of a wide variety of characteristics (e.g., structural patterns, degrees of functionality or dysfunction, or patterns of communication). Constantine's (1986) theory of family





10



paradigms was chosen for this study because it is more inclusive than many existing family typologies, it includes all internal aspects of family life, including structural, psychological and philosophical contexts, and it provides an integrative framework for understanding the diverse ways in which families might organize themselves and function successfully.

Basing his paradigmatic model on Reiss' (198 1) notion of the family paradigm, Constantine (1993) described family paradigms as stable, implicit, overarching guides to family life which consist of the family's repertoire of understandings, shared assumptions, and traditions. He stated:
The paradigmatic framework encompasses three central ideas: (a) there is more than one way that families can organize themselves and function effectively; (b) families can be understood at more than one level of analysis; and (c) there are
relationships between how families construct their realities and how they function
and are organized (pg. 46).

Although the typology is conceptual, it is grounded in research and agrees with other empirically based models (Constantine, 1980, 1983). Its practical value also has been demonstrated in marriage and family therapy (Budd, 1990; Burr, Day & Bahr, 1989; Constantine, 1986, 1987; Constantine & Israel, 1985; Nugent & Constantine, 1988). The family paradigm framework distinguishes three levels of analysis by which families can be characterized: (a) paradigm (world view, model); (b) regime (organization, structure); and (c) process (behavior, interaction). Paradigms are reflected in process through regimes, the regulatory mechanisms that generate patterned collective behavior. The paradigm is the most abstract level and most difficult to assess; process is the most










concrete and most easily accessed. The regime is the means by which the paradigm, unobservable in itself, can be translated into observable behavior (Constantine, 1986).

According to Constantine, a paradigm is both a model and a world view, not only representing a family's values and ideals, but a construed reality of family and social relationships (Reiss, 1981). Thus, each family paradigm includes distinct approaches to the resolution of fundamental issues of family life such as the relative value given to stability versus change or the relative priority given individual versus the collective needs of family members. These variations in family values and family structure not only influence the relative value placed on childbearing in a family but also shape the distinctive ways in which chfldrearing is conducted by different family members. Different paradigms produce different perceptions and practices about childbearing.

Constantine (1986) described four distinctively different family paradigms: the closed, the random, the open, and the synchronous. The defining features of each paradigm are depicted in Table 1. The closed paradigm personifies the stable, secure family which relies on traditional authority and conformity to its norms to assure continuation of established family patterns. The closed family has a fixed, authoritarian, and hierarchical structure. Familial boundaries are closed and controlled, and roles are assigned and strongly emphasized. Truth is perceived as being absolute and permanent.







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The closed family is, in essence, the traditional American family. Family and family identity are primary with individual needs met through loyalty and service to the family.

The random paradigm is the antithesis of the closed. In this family paradigm the structure is changing and egalitarian. Roles are unassigned and undifferentiated; boundaries are open, uncontrolled and erratic. For the random family, change, freedom and individuality are of utmost importance. Truth is considered to be relative, transient, and personal. Members of such families favor change, novelty, and originality over stability and tradition. The individual is primary with the structure stressing creative individuality and egalitarian autonomy. The collective family needs are met through cooperative individual initiative and inventiveness.

The open paradigm presents a modem, communication-oriented, democratic family. Structure in this family is adaptive and heterarchical; roles are alternated and shared. Boundaries are defined, yet permeable and flexible. There is a balance between stability and change and between individuality and group needs. Process is valued most highly by this family. Truth is pragmatic; while some truths are absolute, many are relative. It attempts to achieve flexibility that integrates change with stability, and to incorporate the needs and interests of the individuals with those of the family as a unit. This attempt to synthesize the opposing values and approaches of the closed and random paradigms is achieved through a collaborative process of consensual negotiation, elevating





14



communication to a high art. Both stability and change are valued insofar as they enhance the family's ability to solve problems and adapt to challenges (Constantine, 1988).

The synchronous paradigm, the antithesis of the open paradigm, blueprints a quiet, harmonious family relying on tacit understanding and unstated rules rather than utilizing communication and negotiation. Roles are static and implicitly understood rather than assigned. Boundaries are rigidly defined, but not actively controlled. The synchronous family emphasizes neither change nor stability. Group concerns transcend individual needs. Truth is viewed as enduring and eternal. These families seek a perfection in which no one needs to be told what to do. Fairly uncommon in the United States (Budd, 1990, Constantine & Israel, 1985), the synchronous paradigm appears more frequently in Japan and other Asian countries and is a recognized form of organization manifest in Japanese management style (Constantine, 199 1; Oichi, 198 1).

Constantine's paradigms are based on family strengths and he, like Olson and his colleagues (1983), has made the assumption that any family paradigm is workable if affirmed and desired by family members. Constantine (1986, 1993) also has acknowledged that relatively few families are paradigmatically pure, that is, totally closed, completely random, absolutely open, or completely synchronous. However, families can be characterized as being more closely related to one paradigm than the other three, for example, more synchronous than open, random, or closed. Consequently, it was assumed






15



in this study that (a) the family's paradigm would influence the style of childrearing implemented; (b) there would be a variety of different acceptable patterns of childrearing demonstrated just as there are a variety of different acceptable family paradigms available; and (c) the types of interactional skills developed by parents would be related to the type of family paradigm valued.

Need for the Study

Because most research on childrearing practices and attitudes among individuals of varying ethnic and economic groups has focused on examining differences from one valued standard of childrearing practice, very little is known as to whether there are predictable differences among parents in different sociocultural contexts concerning how they think family life should be structured. Even less is known as to whether these differing paradigms of family life are related to specific childrearing practices and competencies.

Family paradigmatic theory posits that how one thinks is considered to be critical in the development of specific types of parent-child interaction. Thus, gaining an understanding of a parent's family paradigmatic preference seems extremely relevant to understanding parents' ideas about and practices of childrearing. Further exploration of parental differences in family paradigmatic preference is needed to increase understanding of the wide variety of responses parents have to the task of rearing children. Not only





16



would information regarding family life and childbearing preferences be useful in understanding why parents function the way they do, it would also be quite useful in designing more attractive and effective interventions for them.

Purpose of the Stu

In this study, family paradigmatic theory was utilized as a framework for exploring and attempting to understand the differences in childrearing attitudes and practices of mothers differing in race and educational level. According to family paradigmatic theory, a parent's beliefs and behaviors are shaped by a larger set of unifying beliefs about family life that guide action in implementing specific family roles and tasks. As a result, how parents think the family should operate will influence how they expect their child should function, how they think they should interact with their child, and what specific parent-child interactional competencies they develop.

Given the relative lack of knowledge about whether a distinctive sociocultural context may result in a particular family paradigm preference that may, in turn, result in the valuing of particular child behaviors and parenting attitudes and practices, and the potential of the family paradigmatic theory to identify a variety of different equally viable childbearing philosophies, the purpose of this study was three fold. First, the author proposed to examine empirically the family paradigmatic preferences of women who were mothers of at least one elementary school aged child. While paradigmatic choice is a






17



function of a mother's parenting experience, so that having more than one child could presumably affect her preference, this author focused on the effects of educational level and race as an initial step. Second, the author compared the childbearing practices and style of parent-child communication of mothers differing in family paradigmatic preference. Third, the author investigated the frequency with which mothers differing in educational level and race were characterized by differing family paradigmatic preferences.

Research Question

The following research questions were posed in this study:

1. What are the differences in family paradigm preferences of mothers belonging to lower and higher educational levels?

2. What are the differences in family paradigm preferences of mothers belonging to Black Aftican American and White Anglo American racial groups?

3. After adjusting for educational level and race, what are the differences in child-management values demonstrated by mothers differing in family paradigm preferences?

4. After adjusting for educational level and race, what are the differences in family management styles demonstrated by mothers differing in family paradigm preferences?





18



5. After adjusting for educational level and race, what are the differences in levels of child-centered communication demonstrated by mothers differing in family paradigm preferences?

Definition of Terms

For the purpose of this study, key constructs and terms were defined as follows: Child-management value is defined as the sense of importance attributed by the mother to the two variables: level of behavioral interaction and involvement, and level of parent verbal interaction and encouragement of expressiveness. It was measured by the Parenting Preferences Inventory.

Level of parent behavioral interaction and involvement is defined as the degree of parental "hands-on" involvement in the day to day decision making and teaching of the child as measured by the Parenting Preferences Inventory.

Level of parent verbal interaction and encouragement of expressiveness is defined as the degree to which the mother encourages verbal interaction between herself and her child to elicit expression of thoughts and feelings as measured by the Parenting Preferences Inventory.

Race reflects self-identification and, following the guidelines of the U.S. Census Bureau, "does not denote any clear-cut scientific definition of biological stock." The categories of race used for purposes of census include both racial and national origin or






19



sociocultural groups as well as providing standards on ethnicity. For the purposes of the present study, categories were limited to either Black Afican American or White Anglo American.

Black Afican American is defined as a mother of Afican descent and at least a second generation citizen of the United States.

White Ang-lo American is defined as a Caucasian mother and at least a second generation citizen of the United States.

Family paradigm is the stable, implicit, overarching guide to family life that

consists of the family members' repertoire of understandings, shared assumptions, and traditions. It was measured by the Family Regime Assessment Scale (Imig & Phillips, 1992) and resulted in a classification of either closed, random, open, or synchronous family paradigm.

Closed family paradigm personifies the stable, secure family, relying on traditional authority and conformity to its norms to assure continuation of established family patterns. Roles are differentiated and boundaries controlled. It is one of the classifications established by the Family Regime Assessment Scale.

Random family paradigm encourages change, freedom, and individuality with roles unassigned and undifferentiated, and structure changing and egalitarian. It is one of the classificatons established by the Family Regime Assessment Scale.





20



Open family 12aradiam models a modem, communication-oriented, democratic

family with shared roles and defined, yet flexible boundaries. It is one of the classifications established by the Family Regime Assessment Scale.

Synchronous family paradigm blueprints a quiet, harmonious family relying on tacit understanding and unstated rules rather than utilizing communication and negotiation. Roles are static and boundaries rigidly defined, but not actively controlled. It is one of the classifications established by the Family Regime Assessment Scale.

Regim is the organization or structure by which the paradigm can be translated into observable behavior.

Child-centered communication refers to communication and strategies (both

regulative and comforting) used by the parent to give legitimacy to a child's feelings and encourage the child to reflect on and reason through the nature and consequences of his/her behavior. This variable was measured by the Person-Centered Communication Assessment (Applegate, et al, 1985).

Educational level refers to the number of years of formal education a mother has received, according to the categories used by Hollingshead (1975) in his index, and resulted in a classification of lower and higher level education. Lower level consisted of mothers with a high school education or less. 9gher level consisted of mothers having attended at least one year of college.






21




Famil-management style is defined as the specific style a mother employs with regards to orchestrating the day-to-day functioning of her family and will be categorized as democratic, laissez-faire, or authoritarian. It was measured by the democratic, laissez-faire, and authoritarian sub-scales of The Colorado Self-Report of Family Functioning (Bloom, 1985).

Democratic family stle denotes a family-management style encouraging negotiation and communication, and is considered comparable to the open family paradigm according to Constantine (1993). It was measured by the Democratic Family Style sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report of Family Functioning (Bloom, 1985).

Laissez-faire family style denotes a family-management style that is externally focused regarding control and values flexibility, and is considered comparable to the random family paradigm according to Constantine (1993). It was measured by the Laissez-Faire Family Style sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report of Family Functioning (Bloom, 1985).

Authoritarian family style denotes a family-management style that values

organization, rigid boundaries, and clear rules, and is considered comparable to the closed family paradigm according to Constantine (1993). It was measured by the Authoritarian Family Style sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning (Bloom, 1985).






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Organization of the Study

A five chapter model is presented in this research study. In Chapter 2, the author presents a review of the related literature. The methodology of the study is contained in Chapter 3, while a presentation of the results of the statistical analysis of data are included in Chapter 4. A discussion of the results, limitations of the study, and suggestions for future research are included in Chapter 5.















CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

This chapter includes a brief review of the literature on parenting and childrearing with an emphasis on examining how parenting has been conceptualized and measured. Theories of childrearing or parenting are reviewed. Corresponding parent education programs are examined as well as the assessment instruments employed to assess parenting skills. Literature on contextual and racial differences in families and the implications of such differences for childrearing practice are reviewed, as well as research on family orientations.

The research on parenting has consistently depicted a "right versus wrong" mentality of childrearing. This representation is noted in the range of theory development supportive of one optimal and correct way for all parents. Parent education programs support this conceptualization as well. Even related assessment instruments are often designed in an evaluative manner due to the unidimensional conceptualization of parenting described in these theories.

Theories of Parenting and Parenting Education Programs

There are numerous theories of parenting and parent education. They coincide with and paralel the diverse theories of human interaction used in client therapy (Lamb and



23






24



Lamb, 1978). This review focuses on the three major theories used in parent education. It was noted that they support many aspects of the images of family life proposed by Constantine (1977, 1983, 1984a, 1984b, 1986, 1987, 1988). Adlerian

The basic assumption of this model is that people are social beings and want to be socialized. Behavior is seen as purposive and goal seeking. Cooperation, rather than permissiveness, is needed between parents and children, and it is believed that children's behavior is based on expectations. The goal of the Adlerian approach is to help parents understand their children--to know how they think and to comprehend the motives for their actions. The idea is to help parents improve the quality of the help they provide their children and to assist them in relating more effectively to their children. Techniques of parenting involve the use of natural and logical consequences as an alternative to powerful control of the child, a democratic approach to parenting, an emphasis on the goals of children's misbehavior and the use of the family council (Croake, 1983;- Lamb & Lamb, 1978). Adlerian programs include Children the Challenge (Dreikurs & Soltz, 1964); Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) (Dinkmeyer & McKay, 1976) and Active Parenting (Popkin, 1983).

The Adlerian approach, with its emphasis on family democracy and the importance of discussion by way of the family council, models the values of the open family paradigm.





25



Behavioral

The behavioral model is the most predominant model in use in the parent

education field (Lamb, 1986). The basic assumption within this model is that human behavior results from learning, much of which comes from interaction with the environment. Environmental change is therefore important. The goal is the assessment of problem areas with regards to excesses, deficits, and maintenance. This implies social value judgments. Techniques focus on increasing parental skills in influencing, controlling, and directing children's behavior and development. This is done through parents accepting responsibility for change in their children's behavior (Lamb & Lamb, 1978; Graziano, 1983; Levant, 1983a; Levant, 1983b). Instructions and procedures are clearly defined in concrete terms with instructors modeling concepts and parents role-playing. Communication skills are often emphasized in programs for families of adolescents (Moreland, Schwebel, Beck & Wells, 1982; Robin, 198 1).

The behavioral approach to parent education, with its use of techniques for

controlling and directing a child's behavior as well as the acceptance of responsibility by the parents for that behavior, models the closed family paradigm. Client-Centered / Humanistic

This approach, categorized as client-centered by Lamb and Lamb (1978) and humanistic by L'Abate (1981) and Medway (1989), has as its basic assumptions that





26



people are basically good and will do the right thing, needing only support to make their own choices. People are seen as responsible for their own decisions and are seen as capable of changing. The goal of this approach is an increase in the expression of feelings with a need for two-way communication. Few limits are placed on the child, due to the belief that when children are accepted by their parents, their self-esteem/concept and self-confidence will be high and they will be able to solve their own problems or appropriately seek assistance. Techniques focus on the acceptance and reflection of children's and parents' feelings to develop competent and well-adjusted children. The child's behavior is affected through the parent-child interaction (Tavormina, 1980). The Parent Effectiveness Training (PET) program (Gordon, 1970, 1976) is the most widely known of the client-centered approaches and shows support for its use as a preventive intervention (Cedar & Levant, 1990). The client-centered/humanistic approach to parent education, with its focus on the expression of feelings and the importance of communication, defines an open family paradigm.

While the three major theories in use in the parent education field appear to

support only two of the family paradigms proposed by Constantine, it should be noted that the closed and open paradigms are the only images of family life that define themselves by a value system capable of being taught by means of an educational program. Neither the random paradigm, with its values on laissez-faire parenting and anarchic control, nor the






27



synchronous paradigm, with its promotion of implicit and unstated expectations, and indirect and covert control, lend themselves to an educational or teaching model.

With the increasing support and need for the effectiveness of parent education, the consensus is that parent education should now be examined by techniques and their effects (Lambert, Shapiro & Bergin, 1986; Medway, 1989). It has also been suggested that research focus on: the limitations of parenting programs (Graziano, 1983; Lamb, 1986); the interaction of factors such as parent characteristics (Gordon & Davidson, 198 1; Martin, 1980; O'Dell, 1974; Tavormina, 1980); developmental stages (Dembo et al, 1985; Levant, 1983; O'Dell, 1974; Tavormina, 1980); styles of parenting (Fine & Henry, 1989; Harman & Brim, 1980; Medway, 1989); and the impact of parenting programs on family functioning (Gordon & Davidson, 198 1; Fine & Henry, 1989; Moreland, Schwebel, Beck, & Wells, 1982). But again, the attempts to actually organize parenting groups to fit the characteristics and needs of the parents have been limited. And yet, the parent's stage in the family life cycle is known to affect the parent's choice of techniques (Carter & McGoldrick, 1988) and that levels of parental flexibility and tolerance impact the parent's ability to recognize a need for change (Tavormina, 1980).The impact of the program, as well, was found to be dependent on parental beliefs, values, personal experiences and expectations (Dembo et al, 1980). In an attempt to determine the superiority of model type, Dembo, Sweitzer, and Lauritzen (1985) examined five comparison studies, but drew






28



no definite conclusions nor were they able to deter ine which type of program was best suited to a particular type of parent. Matching the type of program with the goals, needs and characteristics of parents might increase program efficiency (Fine & Henry, 1989; Tavormina, 1980). Therefore, a clearer understanding of the manner in which parents' beliefs about family life influence the acquisition of parenting skills would be helpful. An understanding of a parent's beliefs regarding family power, authority, roles, communication, and views on stability and adaptability might increase the positive outcome of parent education programs, by matching parents to groups that would fit their beliefs and images of family life.

Overview of Parenting Assessment Instrument Development

Most parenting assessment instruments have been developed to assess the type of knowledge or attitudes emphasized within a specific theoretical orientation. The optimal method of parenting is usually inferred.

The first parenthood instrument was developed in 1899 by Charles Sears. This was a survey to assess adult's attitudes toward punishment. Although a few instruments were developed in the intervening years, it was not until the 1930s that a wide array of instruments began to appear, designed to assess a wide range of constructs and variables related to parenthood. Sigmund Freud's theory of psychosexual stage development provided a major stimulus for understanding the role of parents in the development of






29



children's personalities. His ideas regarding these stages and the potential for fixations encouraged exploration in research into the role parents play in their children's development. His contributions did not actually spell out the impact of parents, but consisted in outlining some of the human dynamics which operate. Individuals such as Ernst Jones and Karen Homey began filling in Freud's outline (Holden, 1990).

Freud's work was influential in prompting physicians to become more attentive to parents and their childbearing practices. The impact of the family environment became an area of interest for study. This translated into research, by Allport, in efforts to study the construct of attitudes (Holden, 1990). This was the origin of the parental childbearing attitude questionnaires, as it was believed that the family atmosphere to which the child was exposed could be assessed by the parental attitudes. This model of parent-cMd interaction was simple, but inaccurate. Parental behavior was determined by assessing parental attitudes due to the (misconception) that parental behavior was simply a direct reflection of global attitudes of warmth, control, or punitiveness (Holden, 1990).

Some investigators, such as Koch, did not subscribe to such assumptions and

began recognizing the problems in the accuracy of the assessments (Holden, 1990). Other researchers recognized that children's perceptions were also important. A number of instruments assessing children's perceptions of their parents were available by the end of the 1930s (cited in Holden, 1990).






30




The bidirectionality and interplay of parent-child relations is now well

acknowledged (Bell & Harper, 1977 cited in Holden, 1990) as well as more complex conceptualizations including transactional and systems theories. Belsky (1984) has proposed that rather than viewing parenting as being guided by only one variable, the influence may be due to a complex interplay among the individual's developmental history, marital relations, work status, social network, and child characteristics in addition to the parent's attitudes and personality. Although these variables have been shown to impact a parent's childrearing ability as well as techniques (Dekovic & Gemrs, 1992; Dix, 1991; Simons, Whitbeck, Conger, & Chyi-In, 1991; Trickett, Aber, Carlson, & Cicchetti, 1991) it seems imperative to consider the overall interaction of these and other variables that define a family's image of themselves. According to Constantine (1986), a family's definition of themselves not only involves their demographic description, but also the value they place on the importance of member interaction, stability, autonomy, and control. If a family's self-perception or paradigm defines their sense of self then a portion of that image would include childrearing values. However, of the literature reviewed, there was no indication of parenting being studied from a family image perspective nor were any instruments located which assessed family paradigm in relation to parenting preferences.






31




Table 2 depicts the seven categories of parenting instruments used as the basis for reviewing the evolution of the conceptualization of parenting and its assessment by the Handbook of Family Measurement Techniques (Touliatos, Perlmutter & Strauss, 1990). A total of 204 parenthood instruments, developed from 1936 through 1974, were abstracted in Straus (1969) and in Straus and Brown (1978) as referenced in Touliatos and associates (1990).

Relating, Parenting to Family Background Characteristics

When examining a family and determining their organization, it appears helpful to examine family background characteristics (i.e. social status, parent educational level, marital status, and gender). This is the first perspective taken in studying parenting style. Based on family demographics it conceptualizes a "right vs. wrong" ideal of parenting. Social Class

Social class has been a popular means of studying differences in parenting styles. Prior to the I 980s, most efforts to explain why parents rear their children as they do focused on social class (Belsky, 1990). Researchers report that parents of differing social status demonstrate different value systems, levels of interaction, and childrearing techniques (Heffer & Kelley, 1987; Hess & Shipman, 1972; Schaefer & Edgerton, 1985; Segal in Sigel, 1985; Simons, Whitbeck, Conger, & Chyi-In, 1991; Strom, Griswold & Slaughter, 198 1; Trickett, Aber, Carlson, & Cicchetti, 199 1; Zegiob & Forehand, 1978).








32





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Many research findings indicated that parents from a lower socioeconomic class tend to have poorer parenting skills and higher drop out rates and outcome levels related to parent education programs than middle class parents (Clark & Baker, 1982; Dumas & Wahier, 1983; Furey & Basili, 1988; Johnson & Breckenridge, 1982; Trickett, et al, 1991; Wahler, 1980; Webster- Stratton, 1985). Due to this evidence, the appropriateness of existing parent education programs for lower social class parents based on white middle-class values has been questioned (Fine & Henry, 1989; Strom et al 1981).

Differences in parenting styles by social class noted in the literature depict

middle-class mothers as possessing an increased ability to positively communicate with their children as compared to lower social status mothers (Strom et al, 198 1), being more tolerant (Maccoby & Gibbs, 1964), less controlling and more permissive, (Maccoby & Gibbs, 1964; Strom et al, 1981), less directive (Sigel, 1982; Zegiob & Forehand, 1978) and less severe in punishment (Heifer & Kelley, 1987; Maccoby & Gibbs, 1964; Strom et al, 198 1). Middle-class mothers seem more likely to use reasoning, psychological methods of discipline, allow their children more freedom of choice and self-direction, show egalitarian parenting styles, express positive affect toward their children, and verbalize and support cognitive and academic growth (Gecas, 1979; Hess, 1970 both cited in Patterson, DeBaryshe & Ramsey, 1989). Lower-class parents are more likely to use physical discipline, be controlling of their child's behavior, exhibit authoritarian parenting






34




styles, and engage in less frequent verbal and cognitive stimulation. Further comparison regarding social status and child abuse was found in the literature. Simons, Whitbeck, Conger, and Chyi-In (1991) cited several studies including Bronfrenbrenner, (1977); Garbarino, (1976); Gil, (1970); Strauss and associates, (1980) which demonstrated a significant association between low social status and maltreatment. They suggested two means by which social class influences might correlate with parenting practices across generations: (a) replication of low social class and accompanying stressors and life-style (Burgess & Youngblade, 1988 referenced in Simons et al 1991) and (b) growing up in a lower social class family may influence a parent's childrearing approach and accompanying values regardless of the social status they achieved. Trickett, Aber, Carlson, and Cicchetti (1991) also found similar results reporting that the higher the socioeconomic status the lower the belief in authoritarian control techniques. They also reported that as stresses associated with poverty decrease, the expressed enjoyment of parenting increases. However, the expected relationship for each was not found for the abuse group studied. They also reported social class as a significant predictor of cognitive maturity. For example, middle-class parents are more concerned with motives and intentions of their children's acts whereas working class parents are more concerned with the overt consequences (Rubin, 1976).






35




Suggestions regarding working with low social class parents focus on

understanding concepts, verbal learning difficulties, training tactics, and participation, (Fine and Henry 1989; O'Dell 1974; and Wyckoff 1980. Matarazzo and Patterson (1986) found in their review of the literature that training effects were less well maintained in low social status groups. It was found that parents of lower social class and with lower education levels do better in parent education programs which minimized verbal learning and which emphasized direct training techiiques (Salzinger, Feldman & Portnoy, 1970 as cited in Matarazzo, & Patterson, 1986; O'Dell, 1974). Many researchers indicated that these same parents of low social class and educational levels are less likely to benefit from parent education programs than parents of middle and upper social class and education levels (Clark & Baker, 1982; Dumas & Wahler, 1983; O'Dell, O'Quin, Alford, O'Briant, Bradlyn & Giefenhain, 1982; Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1990;, Furey & Basili, 1988) although there is some evidence to the contrary (Mira, 1970; Rogers, Forehand, Griest, Wells & McMahon, 198 1; Rose, 1974) Again, however, the emphasis is on the level of parenting skills development with an implicit judgment that these differences (ie. lower verbal skills, need for concrete directives and role modeling) are deficits and need to somehow be corrected. The nature of the family's organization is not taken into account (Constantine, 1986, 1993; Minuchin, 1974).






36



Educational Level

Research also focuses on the relationship between educational level and parenting style preferences. Again, a level of judgment is involved. Childrearing values, goals and behaviors are reported to be associated with parental educational level (Dekovic & Gemrs, 1992; Schaefer & Edgerton, 1985; Segal, 1985). Poorer child management skills (Patterson, Cobb & Ray, 1972) were determined to be related to lower levels of education as was the quality of the home environment (Marjoribanks, 1991).

Simons, Whitbeck, Conger, and Chyi-Ln (199 1) found that for both mothers and fathers the level of education was negatively related to the harsh parenting of adolescent males. Apparently parents of lower educational levels tend to utilize harsh discipline in raising boys. The relationship was not found to hold true for girls, with physical punishment apparently perceived as unnecessary or undesirable for parenting girls.

A positive correlation between parental reasoning complexity and educational level was reported by Dekovic and Gemrs (1992) which lends support to the findings of O'Dell and associates ( 1982) that less educated parents have poorer outcomes in parent education programs. As with socioeconomic level, it was determined that lower levels of education related to decreased understanding of complex concepts, poor attendance and decreased participation (Wyckoff, 1980; Mattarazzo & Patterson, 1986) as well as






37



difficulty with verbal learning expectations rather than direct training methods (Fine & Henry, 1989; O'Dell, 1974).

Gender of Parents

Research studies support the idea that parenting beliefs, values, and style differ depending on the gender of the parent (Cohen, Dibble & Grawe, 1977a, 1977b; Gilligan, 1982, Simons, Whitbeck, Conger & Melby, 1990; Simons, Whitbeck, Conger & Chyi-In, 1991; Goetting 1986 cited in Pittman, Wright & Lloyd, 1989). Mothers tend to be more child oriented than fathers. According to Chodorow (as cited in Gilligan 1982) girls experience themselves as like their mothers, thus fusing the experience of attachment with the process of identity formation. They, therefore, emerge from this period with a basis for empathy built into their primary definition of self, and with a stronger basis for experiencing another's needs or feelings as one's own. Because they are parented by a person of the same gender, girls come to experience themselves as less differentiated and more continuous with and related to the external world. Mothers demonstrate a love arising neither from separation nor from a feeling of being at one with the external world, but rather from a feeling of connection; a primary bond between other and self (Freud, 1930 cited in Gilligan, 1982).

Conversely, boys define themselves by separating their mothers from themselves, thus curtailing their primary love and empathic tie. They emerge more differentiated





38



(Chodorow, 1974 cited in Gilligan, 1982). Contrasting views were reported by Eisenberg and Lennon (1983), Kohlberg (1984) and Walker ( 1984) found in research edited by Gilligan, Ward and Taylor with Bardige (1988) in which they reported finding no evidence of sex differences in empathy or moral reasoning, but perhaps in moral behavior.

Reisinger (1982) found that fathers tend to be more consistent in their child

management style than mothers. Likewise, the major determinant of child behavior in mothers trying to gain situational compliance, is matemal strategy (Lytton, 1980; Maccoby & Martin, 1983; both cited in Dowdney & Pickles, 1991). Negative and inconsistent mothers are likely to engender negativity in their children.

"As long as the biological function of becoming a mother was thought to endow a woman with the requisite knowledge and ability, no professional training was considered necessary for her new responsibilities..." (Fitz-Simons, 1935). Positive characteristics of the mothers were consistently related to higher quality home environment (Luster & Dubow, 1990). With regards to parent education programs, highly educated women were more likely than women with little education to prepare for parenthood with books and courses (Simons, Whitbeck, Conger & Melby, 1990). Education level had no effect on the parenting styles of fathers, who were no more likely to acquire information on proper parenting if highly educated than if not. In the same study it was also determined that individualistic value commitments were associated with a woman's use of destructive





39



parenting practices, (coercion and hostility), while a man committed to such a value orientation could simply disengage from the parenting process. Compared to mothers, fathers have a great deal of cultural license regarding the manner in which they play the parenting role and so are more likely to engage in nurturing activities when they believe that such behaviors will make an important difference in the life of the child (Simons et al 1990). McBride (1990) determined in his review of the literature, that the degree of paternal involvement is related to the father's perceived sense of competence rather than his level of skill and knowledge. There was also some indication that patterns of fathering were more systematically related to patterns of marital interaction and satisfaction than was mothering (Belsky, Gilstrap & Rovine, 1984; Goldberg & Easterbrooks, 1984 both cited in Belsky 1990).

Marital Status

Research supports that marital relations influence the quality of parenting (Belsky, 1981, 1990; Dix, 1991). Segal (1985) found that obedience and sibling competition tended to occur more frequently in single-parent families. Members of these families also tended to suffer from social isolation, social status disadvantage and high levels of negative stress (Blechman, 1982).

Parents attempting to raise their children with little to no support from a partner, whether separated or together, reported having more difficulty than parents who were





40



supportive of each other (Belsky, 1981; 1990; Gordon & Davidson, 198 1; Marr & Kennedy, 1980; Simons et al, 1990). Leifer and Smith (1990) indicated that mothers who were able to break the abusive cycle were more likely to have established emotionally supportive relationships during childhood and/or with a current mate or to have participated in therapy.

With regards to parent education, Webster-Stratton (1985) reported evidence of lower success rates for single-parent families. Horton (cited in Coplin & Houts 1991) stated that if parents do not attend together, the non-attending parent will adopt the new strategies if the initial strategies are similar. However, if one parent opposes the change, new skills can be undermined (Forehand & McMahon, 1981).

The sample in the present study is grouped by race and educational level.

Although the literature noted a difference in middle-class parenting techniques and values, (Heffer & Kelley, 1987; Maccoby & Gibbs, 1964; Sigel, 1982; Strom et al, 1981) this investigator proposed that it is the family's image and definition of itself, encompassing race and educational level, but also involving issues of control, stability, interaction, and autonomy that actually influences the parenting preferences.

Relating Parenting to Parental Cognitive Level
The exclusive interest among developmental psychologists in the influence of overt
parenting practices and behaviors on child development has given way, in recent
years, to a broader interest in the experience of parenting. After nearly a half
century of research, developmental psychologists have discovered that parents,






41


like their developing offspring, are cognizing individuals with goals, plans,
motivations, intentions, and interests, (editor's notes, Smetana, 1994).

This is the second perspective, as defined in this paper, used as a means for studying childrearing.

Developmental Stages

Piaget's (1963) concept of the development of thought in children (originally

published in 1926) is the foundation of much of the research in developmental theory. His theory suggests that the thought processes of children move through distinct hierarchical stages of development. As thought progresses through the sensorimotor, pre-operational concrete operations, formal operations, and post-formal operations, it becomes increasingly complex, integrated, and differentiated. Each stage is necessary and can not be skipped because it builds on and incorporates the previous stage and readies the child for the next stage. Each stage is seen to be stable and predictable, and consistent across different contexts.

Areas of adult development, partly influenced by Piaget's work have followed. These include moral reasoning (Kohlber, 1969), ego development (Loevinger, 1980), educational development (Hunt, 1970), ethical/intellectual development (Perry, 1970), parental reasoning complexity (Newberger, 1980), cognitive complexity (Ivey, 1991), parental communication (Applegate et al, 1985) and parental conceptualization of development (Sameroff & Feil, 1985).






42




Consistent with Piaget's concepts, these developmental stages are arranged in

hierarchical order. Development in each stage is demonstrated by a gradual increase in the complexity of information processing and an increase in accessing capacity (Rozin, 1976 cited in Gelman, 1985).

Parenting Cognitions
Knowing the parents' level of reasoning might not enable us to predict a single
action of a parent, which is inherently difficult to predict without taking into
account the context in which the act takes place. But it might help account for the
variation in more global categories of parental behavior ( i.e. the parents' childrearing style), better than some specific parental beliefs (Sigel 1986).
Studying the parental reasoning complexity may be worthwhile for expanding our
knowledge about parental functioning, and in addition it can also enrich our
clinical understanding and serve as a basis for educational (preventive) or clinical
intervention for parents. In planning and evaluating efforts to improve pure
parenting skills or disturbed parent-child relationships, level of reasoning might be a useful criterion for observing whether or not a change took place in the parents'
deeper understanding of the parent-child relationship, (Selman, 1976 cited in Dekovic & Gemrs 1992, pg. 684).

Studies of parenting cognitions have been diverse. A summary by Goodnow and Collins ( 1990) listed a number of domains of parenting beliefs they characterized as dealing with directions of and conditions of development. Directions included parents' goals, starting points (expectations), and beliefs about child development. Conditions included ideas regarding the effects of internal and external events, the influence and responsibility of parents, and methods parents use to achieve goals. Researchers have primarily focused on the effects of these cognitions on parenting behavior and child outcomes (Sigel, McGillicuddy-DeLisi & Goodnow, 1992). Dekovic and Gemrs (1992)





43



pointed out the importance of studying the cognitive aspects of parental functioning as a critical step in understanding parental behavior, and Newberger (1980) suggested that understanding a parent's level of reasoning provides an idea of how the parent perceives the parent-child relationship and tells us which cognitive resources a parent has and utilizes to interpret and resolve their task as parents. The assumption is that parents do not merely react to the child's actions in the immediate situation, but that numerous previous interactions and knowledge about the child is cognitively structured and then influences the manner in which the parent interprets and handles the situation (Dekovic & Gerris, 1992). Parents organize their actions depending on the goals they hope to achieve, supporting the idea that parental behavior is intentional, not merely reactive. Dekovic and Gerris (1992) found, in their study of parental reasoning and childbearing behaviors, that parental reasoning complexity made an independent contribution to parental behavior. Conceptions about children, parenthood, and the parent-child relationship represent factors internal to the parent. Bandura (1977) reported that parents who do not believe they have the ability to parent successfully do not put their knowledge of parenting into action, become preoccupied with themselves, are emotionally aroused, and do not persist at the task of parenting. Belsky (1990) cited Cox, Owen, Lewis and Henderson (1989) who stated that parents who scored high on measures of ego development and ego strength behaved sensitively and responsively toward their infants. She also cited Frank,






44



Jacobson, Hole, Justkowski and Huyck (1986) who stated those parents developed feelings of confidence and control in their role as parents. Bugental (Bugental & Shennum, 1984; Bugental, 1991) focused on the amount of power parents believed they had in conflict situations with their children relative to the power they attributed to their children. Mothers low in perceived power experience negative affect, had problem-focused thoughts, and engaged in power-assertive or punitive childrearing. The attributions refer to the degree to which the parents believed the child's behavior was intentional and foreseen, as well as free from external control. Parents were assumed to assign blame and responsibility to their children in the case of misdeeds and to attribute behavior to dispositional characteristics rather than external situational constraints and forces. Dix and Grusec (1985) and Dix, Ruble and Zambarano (1989) demonstrated that these thoughts or attributions are associated with parental anger and punitive reactions in support of the idea that cognition is an important determinant of a large percentage of human emotions (Dix 1991).

Current research and theory conceptualizes emotions, cognitions, and behaviors as complimentary and interrelated, each altering and informing the other (Kiser, Piercy & Lipchik, 1993). Meichenbaumn ( 198 5) cited Piaget, "We must agree that at no level, at no stage, even in the adult, can we find a behavior or state which is purely cognitive without affect nor a purely affective state without a cognitive element involved. There is no such





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thing as a purely cognitive state." The interplay of emotions and cognition gives rise to models of attachment hypothesizing that cognitive affective constructs are incorporated into the personality structure of the individual and are relatively stable overtime (Crowell & Feldman, 1991).

Parenting Style as Affected by Cootion

In studying preferences of disciplinary methods it was determined that the

significance of the goal is important. Are the parents' goals compliance or encouragement of a particular style of negotiating? The nature of the goal influences the extent to which parents prefer rationales over power assertion methods. An increased emphasis on conformity increased reports of using power assertion rather than reasoning (NEller, 1988). A sign of cognitive development is seen as the degree of differentiation or the extent to which people see differences among children rather than seeing them as all alike as well as the ability to see themselves and parenting as having shades of gray. Cooke (1991) offered further support in her study of the thinking that underlies parenting. She reported that parenting expertise in problem-solving situations with infants includes, (a) attention focus on cues relevant to the child's goals and needs in the problem-solving situation, (b) extensive specific knowledge of the child's behavioral characteristics and a strong foundation of domain knowledge related to child development and childbearing which is integrated into the specific knowledge of the child, (c) consciously considered






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child-focused goals and subgoals, and plans for action which reflect thought about parental roles appropriate for the situational and response to cues from the child, and (d) action which provides opportunities for the child to be self-directive in the situation," (pg. 11). Main and Goldwyn, 1984 cited in Crowell and Feldman (1991) stated that a mother's attachment level is believed to be associated with her ability to read, understand, and respond to her child's behavior and needs. Sumlin (1979) as cited in Leggett (1982), however, reached the conclusion that attitudinal changes regarding parenting may not be equated with cognitive changes.

A number of studies confirmed the usefulness of coordinating learner

characteristics with educational approaches (Solomon, 1980 cited in Leggett 1982). Hunt (1970) cited matching by Internal Control (Rotter, 1966), Ego Development Scale (Loevinger, 1966) and Model Maturity Scale (Kohlberg, 1964). "If you wish to help students to learn you must know something about the underlying cognitive processes, and you also need to have some psychological insight into the individuals you want to help," (Howe, 1987, p. 145).

Relatina Parenting to the Nature of the Family Context

The third perspective for studying parenting, as defined for the purpose of this

paper, is a focus on the nature of the family. This includes the effects of race, contextual differences, and the orientation/organization of the family.






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Race

The decision to name this variable "race" has involved careful deliberation. The research contains an overlapping use of terms (i.e., culture, race, ethnicity, sociocultural) referring to the same categories. The U.S. Census Bureau uses the label "race", but acknowledges that this includes both racial and national origin or sociocultural groups. In an attempt to include all pertinent information, research involving any of the aforementioned terms was reviewed for relevancy.

The understanding of parenting requires that we go beyond mother-child

interaction and consider wider familial and cultural variables (Belsky, 1980 as cited in Dowdney & Pickles, 199 1). Cultures and communities deliver many messages about parenting. Bronfenbrenner (1977) pointed out the importance of the broader community or macrosystemn in the setting of the normative cultural standards about childrearing through advice from relatives and experts or through role modeling and witnessing interactions of other families. Goodnow (1985) suggested that one's culture is the primary source of information about the facts of childrearing including what children are like at different ages, what parenting techniques work, and what goals parents should value. Some researchers have extended this investigation as far as to say that what parents think, guides or influences those changes (Keller, Miranda and Gauda, 1984; Sameroff & Feil, 1985).





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In Hoffman's (1986) study of cross-cultural differences in childbearing he cited numerous authors' differing answers to the variations. LeVine's 1974 research reported that the differences in childbearing patterns evolved in response to environmental risks threatening the child's survival and self-maintenance. Kohn (1969) stated that occupational roles affect an adult's attitudes and values and thus influence his/her role as a parent. Hoffman cited Barry, Bacon and Child (1967), Barry, Child and Bacon (1959), and Hoffman (1974, 1984, 1986) in reporting that parents rear their children so as to encourage the development of those qualities and attitudes needed for their expected roles, which differ from society to society. Therefore, to define an effective parent requires some notion of the goals of parenting (Gordon, 1980). LeVine stated that obedience is a necessary trait for surviving economically as an adult in a rural society, and Kohn reported that professional and managerial parents see initiative and independence as paying off, while blue-collar parents see obedience and sticking to the rules as most important. Their positions are supported by the Cross-National Value of Children study of 1973 involving eight countries. As well as the study by Harkness and Super (1992) supporting cross-cultural differences resulting from the fact that adult beliefs about the nature of children or about the world in general differ from group to group, and these beliefs affect parenting behavior. Gfellner (1990) also cited a 1986 Super and Harkness article stating that the psychology of caregivers refers to parents' beliefs and values or





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ethnotheories that are regulated by the culture and which in turn regulate child development. Fine and Henry (1989) suggested that to be insensitive to the cultural implications which dictate the perceived need of the parents is possibly unethical.

The manner in which cultural groups approach communication, autonomy,

discipline, competition, and control influences parenting styles (Fantini & Cardenas, 1980. Ivey, 1986; McGoldrick, 1989; Sue, 198 1), as well as what new information they are both willing to and able to absorb. LeVine (1982) pointed out that the recognition that empathic listening in another culture is impossible without knowledge of the culture and the specific meanings and contexts through which feelings are expressed. Nwachuku and Ivey (1991) suggested the need for culture-specific training for counselors, and cited Minor's (1983) claim that counseling theory would be enriched if theorizing began from the point of view of the host culture. The client's behavior is looked at from the orientation of the insider, specifically persons from the client's culture. Nwachuku and Ivey (199 1) questioned the issue of "helper hierarchy" and suggested that our own counseling and psychotherapy theory is so culturally encapsulated that we have placed our ideas of helping on the client rather than consulting with the client to help him or her find his or her own culturally and individually appropriate solution.

The importance of being sensitive to the culturally different perspectives when attempting to assist parents is evidenced by returning to the previous mentioned






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Cross-National Value of Children study. The needs children meet for parents vary. In the primarily rural countries studied, children were an economic utility. In the U. S. they were found to meet parental needs of primary ties and affection, wheras in the Asian culture they provide fun and stimulation. Super and Harkness (1981) stressed the importance of the "goodness of fit"; that the parents' and children's needs coincide. LeVine (1988) further denoted this view giving examples of parental strategies such as in an agrarian culture where "quantity" of children is important for the survival of the family. High fertility and the importance of infant care and nurturance for a child at risk are stressed with decreased attention paid to a child as it gets older. He contrasted this to an urban industrial society where "quality" of childrearing is the focus. Goals concern the child's acquisition of skills and the mental and social stimulation for a child with a future. Therefore, there is increased attention as a child grows older.

LeVine (1988) studied the effects of parental goals on parental behavior by stating several perspectives of the development of parental behavior. The phylogenetic perspective assumed innate sensitivity to infant signals for nurturance, but did not specify the variety of forms of infant care through which this sensitivity was implemented. The cultural perspective assumed parents were guided by culture-specific models of interpersonal relations, but did not indicate how these distant goals were integrated with the other aims of parents in a particular culture and with their perceptions of their child's





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adaptive problems in the early years of life. He maintained that parental activity, while constrained by the human genome and directed by cultural values, must also be seen as adjusted, consciously and unconsciously, to those aspects of the environment that threaten or facilitate the attainment of parental goals. He concluded, by citing LeVine and White ( 198 7), and their view that each culture, drawing on its own symbolic traditions, supplies models for parental behavior that when implemented under local conditions become culture-specific styles of parental commitment.

Strom, Griswold and Slaughter (198 1) emphasized the importance of recognizing individual differences when choosing appropriate programs for parents. According to Gfellner's (1990) review of the literature, there are no clear norms of parenting behavior and this may contribute to the stress felt by parents in their parenting roles. A major challenge is the absence of reliable advice and valid modelling that can be implemented easily. Without a normative method of childbearing it is left to each parent to develop a parenting theory.

The American culture offers numerous scripts to women who become mothers. These offer opportunities for personal development. but also pose dilemmas or crises, when scripts are in conflict with one another or if there are no supportive social structures in the women's lives (Gilligan, Ward, & Taylor, 1988). Nucci and Weber (in press) cited by Nucci (1994) provided evidence that middle-class mothers act in ways indicative of a






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conceptual differentiation between children's areas of personal choice and matters of moral and social regulation and prudence. Prudential issues (Nucci 1994) refer to children's actions that result in, or have the potential to result in, harm to the children. Children play an active role in the feedback through requests and resistance (Radke-Yarrow & Girnius Brown, 1981 cited in Nucci 1994). Depending on the cultural view of such resistance a child may or may not be seen as a problem. Super and Harkness (cited in Richman, Miller and Solomon, 1988) suggested that the notion of "difficult" temperament represents an interaction between certain characteristics of the infant and characteristics of the cultural context.

Nwachuku and Ivey (199 1) pointed to examples from previous microskill

multicultural studies by Ivey (1988) which consistently support cultural differences. For example, with an African American or Lebanese client, it may be more helpful to focus on relationships or on the family rather than use the typical person-centered approach through "I" statements. This realization would be imperative in designing a parenting program, for this clientele, to which they would be receptive.

Another example of the importance of fitting the program's style and information to the cultural priorities of the parents/families was found in a study on Mexican and Mexican American parents (Powell, Zambrana, & Silva-Palacios, 1990). It was found that these mothers prefer group and home visiting formats, that they need experienced role





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models rather than educational reading material, they want participation by extended family members, rapport with staff members is extremely important, program content should emphasize the child and his/her future, and that all of these were more imperative when working with the Mexican immigrants than when serving the Mexican Americans.

A study of parent child development centers, conducted by Andrews, Blumenthal, Johnson, Kahn, Ferguson, Lasater, Malone and Wallace (1982) also recognized the role of culture in the evolution of parenting practices and emphasized letting parents make informed choices regarding children. Importantly, and in support of this paper's focus, was the perspective of these authors to avoid holding a single standard of parenting as absolute and correct.

This review of the literature found countless research articles which included even more numerous citations in support of a need to consider cultural orientation when studying parenting beliefs as well as techniques. Ethnicity is an important mediator of culture and a long neglected variable in family therapy (McGoldrick, Pearce, & Giordano, 1983). It contributes both paradigmatic preferences and nuances. Nucci's (1994) study on U.S. white middle-class mothers showed that research on parental authority has historically tended to frame the issue as a question of degree along a single dimension such as Baumrind's (197 1) division of parenting types into the categories permissive, authoritative, and authoritarian. Application of this typology to members of social class






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and cultural groups that differ from the U.S. white middle-class have proven to be riddled with bias and misunderstanding. The cultural significance of parental behaviors labeled by the typology as authoritarian is not captured within the global, unidimensional framework of the typology. Baumnrind (1972) discovered that parental actions that fit within the authoritarian pattern within white families did not result in an authoritarian "syndrome" among Afican-American girls. Instead it fostered toughness and self-sufficiency and was perceived as "nurturant care-taking." Chao (1993) argued that depictions of parental behaviors as authoritarian, controlling, and restrictive are typically ethnocentric and misleading. Asian families have been found to obtain among the highest scores of unquestioning obedience to parents on the Baumrind measure. According to Chao, parental concern and love are equated in Asian cultures with firm control and governance. To label such tendencies as authoritarian is to misread behaviors that are based on Confucian conceptions of respect for elders. Likewise, Korean children's perceptions of parental warmth tend to increase as overall parental control increases (Rohner & Pettengill, 1985). This reflects a general cultural view of the individual as a fractional part of the family. Kim (1987) however felt that there is a gap between Korean parents' beliefs and their actual parenting, stating their ideology is democratic wheras in actuality it is authoritarian. He believes there are no clear rules, guidelines or expectations due to conflicting values concerning traditional versus modern parenting practices. In a six






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country comparative study (Korean Gallup Research Center 1983 cited in Kim 1987) Korean children believed their parents to be too strict, and Korean teens reported the least family life satisfaction among adolescents of I11 countries. Kim described the Korean family by Minuchin's definition of enmeshed, most obvious in the parents' overinvolvement in their children's education, career, and marriages. Stating they have a greater degree of mutual care than of communication he believes there is potential for better relationships among family members with education in communication skills.

In their interactional assessment of white, black, and Mexican American families, Hampson, Beavers, and Hulgus (1990) also indicated the need to not pathologize differing family styles. They reported that their findings are consistent with and supportive of the hypothesis that any differences found between ethnicities are likely to be differences in style of structure or interaction rather than differences in competence or health. They cited Henggeler and Tavormina (1980) as depicting an alternative for interpreting ethnic family differences as not deficits or methodological shortcomings, but "socio-cultural differences in behavior, without any necessary implications of psychopathology."

Comparisons reported by Hampson and associates (1990) focused on cultural differences. Black families were noted as having consistent themes of strong kinship bonds and extended family ties (Hnes & Boyd-Franklin, 1982). Relatives expect and accept reliance on one another, so that various people interchange roles, jobs, and family





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functions. There is a high degree of role flexibility and adaptability. This boundary flexibility may look more like chaos to the outside observer accustomed to more predictable patterns of a nuclear household. The church is a major source of socialization and prestige, hence, ministers are more often sought in times of need than are mental health professionals (9nes & Boyd-Franklin, 1982). An egalitarian power structure has evolved earlier than in many Anglo families and there is also a higher rate of "father-absent" homes. Members tend to internalize feelings (Pinderhughes, 1982) and their research supported that Black families were rated as significantly less able to express or state feelings and thoughts directly and clearly, less apt to respond openly and receptively to efforts of family members to interrupt or make personal statements (permeability), and to show a more consistent, less varied range of feelings in their various interactional exchanges. Black families were also less encouraging of dependency needs in their children. The Mexican American family's kinship network was described as extremely important with affiliation and cooperation stressed, while overt confrontation and competition discouraged. The focus on relationships is viewed as more important than task or role performance (Eshleman, 1985 cited in Hampson et al 1990). A high degree of cohesion and hierarchical organization is normal. Interaction is characterized by generational interdependence and involvement, and internal control (Falicov 1982). Respect is significant and autonomy is less important than dignity. The Mexican American





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families were rated as showing more dominant power exchanges and were rated as congruent with their family concept by an outside rater. They showed a greater range of overtly expressed feelings and a more congruent sense of family concept than White or Black families, as well as more attuned to and encouraging of dependency needs in their children and more likely to describe themselves as close-knit and discouraging of aggressive, defiant, or disruptive behavior.

Nucci (1994) reported, in looking at Brazilian mothers, that across social classes and geographical regions, these mothers expressed beliefs that children require areas of choice for personal growth. The manner in which these beliefs were expressed varied as a function of the mother's underlying assumptions about the nature of their children's needs and capacities. Middle-class mothers (modem Southern region) held views essentially like those of mothers of U.S. middle-class; that children are to be treated as individuals from infancy and given opportunities to exercise choices to enhance their individual talents and personalities. Their reasons were aimed at supporting their children's emerging autonomy, agency, and personal competence. The more traditional lower-class mothers viewed the limited cognitive capacity of infants and young children as an indication that they were not yet to be considered individuals with a choice or opinions of their own. They gave prudential (risks to the child) and pragmatic reasons for their responses.






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There is evidence that ethnicity and social status are two separate variables (Laosa, 1981) although it is often difficult to distinguish to which a specific difference is due (Strom et a] 1981). Sameroff and Feil (1985) determined that parental reasoning complexity was generally lower in lower social status groups in all cultures, however, cultural beliefs in traditional, categorical concepts can prevent or eliminate the need for more complex thought.

Contextual Differences

The failure of Moss and Jones (1977) as cited in Grusec, Hastings, and

Mammone (1994) to find differences between middle-class and lower-class mothers in their childrearing attributions suggests that these particular cognitions might be tied to something other than messages from cultural and socioeconomic groups. General belief systems having to do with developmental timetables, methods of change, and values may be affected by culture, but there is also a great deal of individual variation within groups for these systems. Goodnow (1985) argued that parents are not passive recipients of their culture's messages, but filter them. Parents seek out each other to discuss childrearing values, and the networks they form build their belief system and reinforce those that fit their community's expectations. If there are certain cultural values, individuals may selectively attend to the messages matching their own beliefs or may choose to decrease contact with contradictory opinions, rather than conform to those opinions.





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The Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition (1982, in press) as cited in Simmons (1994) defines context as interactions between individuals, and between individuals and objects, that are delimited by a unique arrangement of goals, behaviors, expectations, demands, and rules constructed by the participants. Culture influences the presence and arrangements of context. Childhood, therefore, is not a given and consistent phenomena, but exists in an historical and societal context, one that is in great part defined by the needs of adults enmeshed in the conflict (Aptekar, 1990). Behaviors giving rise to judgments of intelligence, behaviors that have traditionally been treated as general mental abilities are, instead, best thought of as performances specific to particular contexts. Unlike a general ability framework, the cultural practice approach (Simmons, 1994) points to evidence that culture-specific knowledge and activities constitute contexts that organize the development and deployment of a repertoire of task-specific cognitive skills. The generality of the skills depends on the extent to which the contexts have common features. Instead of emphasizing the representation of situations internally, Simmon's cultural practice perspective maintains that schemes for guiding behavior do not exist solely in the individual, but are constructed in the interaction between individuals or between the individual and the task in a particular context. These schemata are construed as internal representations of situations and knowledge sets. Processing is difficult if the schemata is inappropriately matched with the input. The importance of matching a family's contextual





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representation with the type of education offered is obvious; so they can learn (accretion), revise (tune), and replace (restructure). These functions are seen as an ongoing part of social interactions that are an important source of feedback related to monitoring, checking and evaluation. Grusec, Hastings and Mammone (1994) also supported that parenting beliefs are affected by the particular context in which parents find themselves as well as the specific experiences they have had with their own children, and Rigazio-DiGilio (1993) stated that according to Developmental Counseling and Therapy (DCT) and Systemic Cognitive Developmental Therapy (SCDT), individual development and family development occur within a social and cultural environment. DCT and SCDT practitioners underscore the importance of helping clients expand their understandings and behavior at their current orientation. The emphasis is first to build a strong foundation before moving on. After that they suggested that assisting clients to access other orientations offers opportunities for them to co-construct a broader range of perspectives and behaviors and to develop a more flexible approach to the world.

Belsky (1984) mused that it is of interest to learn that while great effort has been expended studying the characteristics and consequences of parenting, much less attention has been devoted to studying why parents parent the way they do and investigating the effect of the child on parenting behavior. He continues with a report on the available research, concluding that influence on parental functioning is based on three general






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sources: (a) the parents' ontogenic origins and personal psychological resources, (b) the child's characteristics of individuality, and (c) contextual sources of stress and support.

Stressors impinging on the family such as unemployment, family violence, marital discord, and divorce are associated with both delinquency and child adjustment problems in general, according to research cited by Patterson, DeBaryshe, and Ramsey ( 1989). Although stressors may have direct and independent effects on child behavior, we assume that the major impact of stress on child adjustment is mediated by family management practices. If the stressors disrupt parenting practices, then the child is placed at risk for adjustment problems (Patterson et al, 1989). For example, financial strain, while demonstrating no direct influence upon parenting, did show an indirect effect upon the parenting practices of mothers, suggesting that financial strain leads to marital problems and that marital difficulties reduce the amount of warmth and nurturance the mother shows. The strain increases the probability that a child will be perceived as difficult, thus increasing the probability of parental rejection and hostility. Rosenblum and Paully (1984) agreed that mother-infant interaction under conditions of economic insecurity, maternal employment, and environmental instability may elicit conflicts between parental and infant needs. They cited several authors who reported that such conflicting demands on a mother, which strain her coping capacity, also undermine her ability to mediate her infant's successful interaction with its surroundings, in turn decreasing the infant's own emerging






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sense of competence and mastery and may increase its vulnerability. For both mother and infant, one key factor influencing coping capacity and the sense of self-efficacy is the predictability of events and the relationship of their own actions to outcomes. A setting that does not permit anticipation and strategic response to environmental events may result in negative consequences, with evidence that chaotic, unstable environments alter mother-infant dyadic interaction and can be the source of developmental pathology (Pavenstadt 1965; Turnbull, 1973 cited in Rosenblum & Paully 1984). The most critical predictors of the home environment are the matemal characteristics; age, education, ethnicity, and initial self-esteem and locus of control (Menaghan & Parcel, 1991).

Support is also seen as relevant in predicting parenting difficulty. Mothers with fewer social supports and more family stressors expressed less nurturant and more restrictive attitudes regarding their children, therefore behaving in more hostile and restrictive ways with them, while social support from both relatives and friends, particularly when children are young, has been found to be important to parental satisfaction, parental confidence, and positive parenting behavior (Pittman, Wright & Lloyd 1989; Belsky, 1984). Social support functions in three general ways by providing

(a) emotional support, (b) instrumental assistance, and (c) social expectations (Belsky 1984),





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Belsky (1984) noted that the work on child abuse highlights three distinct sources of stress and support: (a) the marital relationship, (b) social networks and (c) employment, which can either promote or undermine parental competence. According to research reviewed by Belsky (1984), marital relations do not influence parenting directly, but impact it indirectly by affecting the general psychological well-being of parents and therefore the skills they exercise in the parenting role. In the same manner he reported that the benefit accrued from social networking is the enhancement of the parent's emotional support. Belsky stresses the importance between matching the support desired and the support received. He cited references to unemployment and an increase in child maltreatment, but beyond those stated the majority of work is on maternal employment, suggesting that the mother's employment status influences the quality and quantity of her and her spouse's parenting behavior. Kohn's (1963) work demonstrated that working class men whose jobs required compliance to authority tended to stress obedience and conformity in their children and favor physical punishment whereas middle-class fathers whose jobs required self-direction and independence tended to value the same in their children. Marjoribanks (1991) determined that family context defined by parent's aspirations for their children is a moderate to strong predictor of young adult's social-status attainment. The implication of this observation is that families that more intensively constrain may have particular difficulty permitting change, such as new






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interactions (Hauser, Powers, Noam, Jacobson, Weiss & Follansbee, 1984). Pittman, Wright and Lloyd (1989) in their review of the literature, however, determined that the research findings about the effects of background characteristics such as income, employment and number of children on parental attitudes were inconsistent. Baumrind (1993) also found this, but questioned the reliability of the childbearing assessments.

Radke (1969) reported a need for the education of parents in the

authority-discipline area of home relations. Parents still failed to recognize that children were entitled to respectful treatment as demonstrated in children's descriptions of punishments, in the substantial proportion of parents described as showing anger in discipline, and in the overwhelming proportion of discipline procedures depending on sheer power of the adult or undermining the child's power. There was no stimulation for growth of self-dependence in the child. Because they fail to recognize that the child also strives for power, these techniques frustrate and the probable outcome is aggression and further attempts to gain power (Radke 1969; Strom, Barros & Strom, 1990).

A child's behavior standards correspond closely to the standards required by the parents, and a child emulates by his own behavior with other children the behavior of the parent. Radke (1969) gives the following example. If there is an autocratic, restrictive and severe disciplinary atmosphere at home then the child is viewed as more unpopular with other children. They are seen as inconsiderate, emotionally unstable, frequently





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fighting and quarreling, uninhibited and daring, less rivalrous, and more insensitive to criticism and blame. Simons, Whitbeck, Conger and Chyi-In (1991) offered that rural families may engage in more physical discipline than do urban families, but the impact of aggressive parenting on a child's beliefs and personality development are likely to be the same regardless of setting. The picture that is beginning to emerge is that the meaning of deprivation is a deprivation of meaning; a cognitive environment in which behavior is controlled by status rules rather than by attention to the individual characteristics of a specific situation and one in which behavior is not mediated by verbal cues or by teaching that relates events to one another and the present to the future. This environment produces a child who relates to authority rather than to rationale, who although often compliant, is not reflective in his behavior, and for whom the consequences of an act are largely considered in terms of immediate punishment or reward rather than future effects and long-range goals (Hess & Shipman, 1965). Ofientation/Orizanization of the Fgmfly

Family images/constructs do not exist apart from the individuals, neither do they consist merely of the sum of the individual images. The family's distinct image of itself emerges from the interaction of its members' individual images of reality and their behavior. This is formed over time with crucial features often linked to certain critical events in the family history (Constantine, 1986).





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Constantine (1986) suggested that families have distinct, stable styles of

functioning based on fundamentally different paradigms. He defined paradigm as a model of both the actual and the ideal; a way of seeing and knowing; a world view. In this way, a family's paradigm is their organization. It is an image and a point of reference for checking the family's realization of its own concept of itself Furthermore, it puts boundaries around a family's understanding, shaping what they can see and do and the manner in which they view their environment. For this reason, it seemed imperative that attitude assessment of target populations be a necessary first step in the design and implementation of an intervention program (Meichenbaum, 1985; Strom, Barros & Strom, 1990). Although the use of specific techniques of discipline may vary, a study by Roberts, Block and Block (1984) indicated that parents have fundamental, pervasive, and enduring childbearing orientations that color their use of specific discipline techniques. These authors also cited other researchers for further support of the viewpoint that parents have coherent and long-lasting underlying childbearing philosophies. The overall picture that emerges from the data is one of considerable continuity in the general attitudes, values and goals of the parents. Likewise the family paradigm appears to be a central and stable feature of a family, Family paradigms therefore seems a very natural way to study parenting beliefs and styles.






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Paradigms are distinguished on the basis of their goal-directed behavior differing in how they are oriented to the duality of continuity and change. The viability of all living systems is determined by the interplay of stability and adaptability. Taxonomy is the art and science of classification, with a taxon simply being one of the units of classification, not something real or objectively true about the things being classified. Thus, the abstract ideal of any particular family paradigm can be represented by a point where the dimensions correspond to various properties by which the paradigms can be distinguished. The coordinates of the different taxons correspond to how much of each property is present in a given paradigm. Because the taxons are dialectically interrelated and maximally distinct, there is some characteristic property for each family paradigm that will be maximally present in a pure or ideal example of the type and absent in the pure or ideal forms of the other types. Each taxon then can be characterized by a unique measure which corresponds mathematically to a vector, an arrow pointing in the directions of paradigmatic purity. This vector not only defines, but distinguishes it from alternative types and therefore incorporates and models interrelationships among types (Constantine, 1993). Each family paradigm can therefore be identified by a representative vector representing a similarity to the type with some degree of departure from the others. The four taxonomic vectors, in their pure form, can be identified as hierarchy: corresponding to the closed paradigm, with a degree of reliance on a hierarchy of authority to regulate





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process and determine solutions; divergence: corresponding to the random paradigm, with a degree of reliance on completely different and independent action by individuals as acceptable forms of group solution and activity; reflexivity: corresponding to the open paradigm, with a degree of reliance on exploration and examination of family's own structure and process for developing solutions and making decisions; and alignment: corresponding to the synchronous family, with a degree of reliance on preexisting, tacit agreement with a shared set of values, goals, and ideas to regulate process and define solutions (Constantine, 1993).

An example of theory that is primarily dimensional while also including typological features is the Olson Circumplex Model (Olson, Russel & Sprenkle, 1983; Olson, Sprinkle & Russell, 1979). Dimensions are components argued to be basic aspects of the variation in families and their process. The paradigmatic framework provides conceptual connections between the dimensions in Olson's model, that of cohesion and adaptability, and the family types representative of the family paradigms. For example, the closed family paradigm corresponds with a low level of adaptability and a high level of cohesion creating structural connectedness, which may become rigid enmeshment during times of stress.

In comparison, the absence of dimensional features has been noted as a limitation of the paradigmatic framework (Broderick, 1986). With the addition of a fourth family






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paradigm, the framework was transformed into the conventional two-by-two arrangement. The basic dimensions in which family paradigms differ can now be determined. One of the aspects of tetrahedral geometry is that the degrees of hierarchy, divergence, reflexivity, and alignment for any family add up to a fixed value. The total can be distributed in any way among the vectors, but the scores add up to the same total. This property supports the assumptions, held about family paradigms, that family style results from tradeoffs among competing typal goals (Kantor & Lehr, 1975). Family paradigms represent the ways in which families assign priorities among competing values and objectives (Kantor & Lehr, 1975; Kluckhohn, 1958). To determine the basic dimensions in which family paradigms differ it is possible to construct a set of dimensions that is directly related to the underlying taxonomy of paradigms. The midpoint of each edge is joined with the midpoint of the opposite edge creating three orthogonal axes which differentiate one pair of paradigms from an opposite pair. The three axes created represent: "engagement," varying from totally enmeshed to completely disengaged; "variability," with extremes from chaos to rigidity; and "convergence," from dichotomized/highly skewed to highly integrated synergy.

The paradigm is the template for the patterns we see (Constantine, 1986).

Paradigms (models, images, worldviews, references, standards) are related in process (behavior, interaction) through regimes (organization, structures, regulating mechanisms).





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If the family's regime is successful in translating its paradigm into process the family succeeds at being itself However, not all regimes are compatible with all paradigms. It is possible for a family to be guided by one concept of family, yet be unable to put this into practice either because its organization as a family is incompatible with its paradigm or because its organization is ineffective at generating the desired behavior. A family's greatest strength is also its greatest flaw when the family remains true to its paradigm. A mismatch between paradigm and regime creates stress. Different members may hold competing paradigms and subsystems may operate under different rules. For example, family images are often shaped more by some members' personal images than by others. These are the "architects" of the family system. Because collective family images emerge in an historical process, the parents are most likely to be the architects (Satir, 1972), however, this may not always be the case. In a study reviewed by Tolan, Cromwell, and Brasswell (1986), it was found that in families of delinquents, the delinquent child was often more influential than one or both parents on the tenor and direction of family interactions. No matter what the family's paradigm, delinquency is a sign of family stress. Johnson (cited in Tolan et al 1986) also explained that delinquency serves as a family homeostatic device that signals a failing family system.

Family paradigms are distinguished by finer gradations and variations and

combinations. Because of the fundamental distinctions the paradigm establishes the range





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of themes upon which variations can be built. Kantor and Lehr (1975) identified three conceptually distinct paradigms through participant-observation research, with the premise that there is no right answer or single best formula for family living. Families guided by different paradigms will use different approaches to problem solving and be especially good at different things as well as be prone to different kinds of difficulties. The closed paradigm encourages stability, security, and belonging. These families are "continuity-oriented" and homeostatic, operating so as to correct deviations from established patterns. Continuity and uniformity are the priority so the family as a group is seen as more important than the individual. Their motto: "stability through tradition and loyalty." The random paradigm promotes novelty, creativity, and individuality. These families are "discontinuity-oriented." There is not an absence of pattern, but it is a pattern of continual change. The individual is paramount and the source of the family's variety. Their motto: "variety through innovations and individuality." The open paradigm supports adaptability, efficacy, and participation. These families are "consequence-oriented" with resolution through negotiation and collaboration. This paradigm stresses adaptiveness to the needs of both the individual and the system, flexibility and balance. There is an adaptive mix of continuity and discontinuity. They are dedicated to communication. Their motto: "adaptability through negotiation and collaboration." The original, research-based model was extended, based on formal,





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systems theoretical arguments regarding the relationship of individual to collective action and its regulation in systems, in a series of papers by Constantine ( 1977, 1983, 1984a). The fourth paradigm, the synchronous paradigm, encourages harmony, tranquility, and mutual identification. These families are "coincidence-oriented" meaning they simply expect there to be a consensus of goals and world views among members. There is no conflict between the individual and the group as neither comes first. There is a non-intellectual sense of unity and harmonious agreement. Their motto: "harmony through perfection and identification."

Including the synchronous paradigm with Kantor and Lehr's types accounts for all four extremes identified in the Olson Circumplex Model and results in a reasonable correspondence (Constantine, 1986) with the four family paradigms derived by Reiss (1971, 1981).

Families differ in the setting of priorities and deciding between competing goals. Their paradigm offers them the guidelines on which to build and by which they view the world. A family operating within a closed paradigm sees the random and open families as chaotic, and views the synchronous as utopian. A random family sees the closed and open as authoritarian. An open family sees the closed and random as alternatives to be used or mixed as needed (Constantine, 1986). Therefore, therapy (or parent training) that





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recognizes only a single ideal for family living may try to push families into becoming what they are not, rather than becoming better at what they are.

All paradigms are considered equal in their capacity to serve as effective models for successful family functioning. Each vector represents purity rather than extremeness so that all points within the tetrahedron represent workable family configurations. Most other models define a single ideal of family life (Beavers, 198 1; Olson et al, 1983). The extremes on the dimensions of cohesion and adaptability in the Olson Circumplex Model can be shown to describe extreme patterns associated with each of the four paradigms. These extremes would correspond to the most probable direction of faure for a family and is referred to as an "error of substantiation," a family becoming an exaggerated version of its own paradigm (Kantor & Lehr, 1975). The degree of a family's enablement was observed to not be dependent on a family's style (Kantor & Lehr, 1975). They argued that it must be assessed independently based on the family's ability to function as a system. Any form of family can therefore succeed and any can fail. However, what is functional for one family may not be for another. The paradigmatic framework distinguishes a family's organization or regime from its behavior or process. In the most straightforward situation, a family's regime is successful in translating its paradigm into process-, the family succeeds at being itself Not all regimes, however, are compatible with all paradigms and it is possible for a family to be guided by one concept of family, yet be unable to put it into





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practice, either because its organization is incompatible with its paradigm or because its organization is ineffective at generating the desired behavior. The greater the disparity between a family's actual process/behavior and the ideal balance for its specific paradigm, the more dysfunctional that family is likely to be. Each variation of family style has its own vulnerabilities and strengths, however the more the variation from its particular mean, the less likely the family will remain functional. The probability of dysfunction is higher when there is greater disparity between paradigm and process. Families have a probable direction of failure when trying to resolve problems because they are most likely to draw on the methods and resources of their own paradigm. By doing this they intensify their paradigmatic commitment so that, for example, a closed system would move toward even greater rigidity and enmeshment, while an open paradigm would become chaotic through their increased enmeshment. A synchronous system would move toward greater rigidity, but with increased disengagement, while a random paradigm would become increasingly chaotic and disengaged (Constantine, 1983). Problems may also occur if a family gives up on its commitment or is unable to establish an effective organization to its style and slips in the opposite direction. Again, in a closed paradigm an ineffective authority structure might result in a decline into greater chaos or disengagement. Either extreme represents movement along the taxonomic vector away from the dominant paradigm. This perspective can help the clinician (or parent educator) fully respect the family in its chosen





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style of organization and operation. The key to identifying a family's dysfunctional excesses or inadequacies is understanding what is congruent with that family's unique mix of paradigms. It is not the amount of disorder, differentiation, closeness, that is functional or dysfunctional except as it exceeds a family's own tolerance and capacities. The direction of incongruence may also suggest whether the family is caught in a spiral of exaggeration or inadequacies. This also helps us to understand what happens when external factors introduce a certain level of imbalance into a family. Again, the issue is not how extreme the factor is, but how extreme relative to each family's preferred and actual organization. Any degree of cohesion or adaptability can be functional if validated by the family (Olson et al, 1983).

Conclusion

It seemed evident by reviewing this body of knowledge, that it is imperative to

research how differing family paradigms relate to a family's parenting beliefs and practices. This line of thought supports the idea of no "one right way" of parenting, yet also acknowledges that problems can ariseAithin any family type. Simons, Whitbeck, Conger and Melby (1990) distinguished between "constructive" and "destructive" parenting practices. Constructive parenting practices offer a style characterized by warmth, inductive reasoning, clear communication, and appropriate monitoring and tend to promote a child's cognitive functioning, social skills, moral development, and





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psychological adjustment. Destructive practices involve hostility, rejection, and coercion and are associated with delinquency, psychopathology, academic failure, and substance abuse. The use of these two terms in the description of parenting styles would appear to blend well with the family paradigmatic view by not incorporating a single right definition of parenting, but still acknowledging some fairly agreed upon desired outcomes for our children. The constructive parenting characteristics are in support of Garbarino, Sebes and Schellenbach (1984) low-risk families characterized by a flexibly connected family system, a disavowal of coercion, and a more supportive, less punishing style of parenting. The destructive parenting practices support their definition of high-risk families characterized by chronic internalized developmental problems, positive values and attitudes concerning coercion, and a chaotically enmeshed interpersonal system.

It is of specific interest to this researcher to acknowledge the limitations cited in the literature as to the lack of attention given to the specific and unique characteristics of parents as learners. In a review of the parenting literature conducted by Lamb (1986), not a single article focused on the need to match parental characteristics to the parent education model utilized. Rather, it was found that parenting programs are often organized based on the characteristics of the children of involved parents: by developmental stages (Croake, 1983; Forehand & Long, 1988; Tavormina, 1980); types of problems (Gordon & Davidson, 198 1 Levant, 1983 Robin et al, 1977); or severity of





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problems (Alexander et al, 1976; Gordon & Davidson, 198 1; Graziano, 1986; Klein et al, 1977). Numerous other researchers have cited the need for a thorough examination of the interaction between the characteristics of the parent and the parent education experience (Fine & Henry, 1989; Gordon & Davidson, 198 1; Graziano, 1983; Lamb, 1986; Levant, 1986a; Levant 1986b; Medway, 1989; Moreland et a], 1982; Tavormina, 1980).















CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

Statement of the Purpose

The purpose of this study was to determine whether women differing in terms of their family paradigmatic preference would differ in their parenting practices and parent-child communication. Women's family paradigm preferences were classified into one of Constantine's family paradigms. Differences among the paradigm groups were then examined in terms of (a) parental discipline practices; and (b) style of parent-child communication. In addition, differences in race and educational level among participants in different paradigms were explored.

In this chapter, the research hypotheses, design of the study, population, sampling procedures, subjects, and data collection are described. The instrumentation, data analysis, and methodological limitations are also discussed.

Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were examined in this study:

Hypothesis One- Mothers differing in educational level demonstrate no differences in family paradigmatic preferences as measured by The Family Regime Assessment Scale.





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Hypothesis Two: Mothers differing in race demonstrate no differences in family paradigmatic preferences as measured by The Family Regime Assessment Scale.

Hypothesis Three: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in child-management values for level of verbal interaction and expressiveness as measured by the Parenting Preferences Inventory.

Hypothesis Four: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in child-management values for level of behavioral interaction and involvement as measured by the Parenting Preferences Inventory.

Hypothesis Five: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in family-management style as measured by the Democratic sub-scale of the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning.

Hypothesis Six: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in family-management style as measured by the Laissez-Faire sub-scale of the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning.





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Hypothesis Seven: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in family-management style as measured by the Authoritarian sub-scale of the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning.

Hypothesis Eight: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in levels of child-centered communication as measured by the Person-Centered Communication Assessment.

Design of the Study

This investigation was a descriptive comparative study in which the relationship between a parent's family paradigm (or world view) and their parenting was examined. The independent variables included the following parental characteristics- educational level, race, and family paradigm preference. The dependent variables included: parenting style and child-centered parent-child communication. Each of these variables is described below:

Independent Variables

Educational level. For the purposes of this study, educational level was divided into two levels: lower and higher. The educational level of each mother was based on





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information gathered in the demographic interview schedule and then determined according to years of formal education.

Race. The race of the mothers participating in this study were defined by their

self-identification. This study focused on two groups: black Affican American, at least a second generation in the United States and white Anglo American, at least a second generation in the United States. The Census Bureau reports race as self-identified and denoting no clear-cut scientific definition of "biological stock." Due to this manner of determining racial categories, White, for example, is noted to include other entries such as Canadian, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, and Polish. For this reason the limitation of "at least second generation in the United States" was placed on the sample to attempt to control for other cultural background influences.

Family paradigm preference. The family paradigm preference of the mothers

involved in this study was categorized into one of Constantine's (1986) four paradigms: closed, random, open, or synchronous. This represents their image or view of the way in which they feel their families should operate. Dependent Variables

Parenting Mle. The parenting style is those means of discipline, including behavior management and verbal negotiation, employed by the mothers participating in this study.





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Child-centered parent-child communication. This type of communication

represents a belief on the part of the mother that the expression of feelings and thoughts by both her and her child is an important aspect of the parent-child relationship.

Description of the Population

The population consisted of mothers of elementary school children, ages five years to eight years, who attend public school in Duval County. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census (1990) the total population of Duval County was 672,971. TheStateof Florida (1994) projected a 1995 population for Duval County of between 698,300 and 741,500. Of the total 1990 population, 163,902 were reported to be black citizens and 489,604 were reported to be white citizens. This is approximately 24% black and 76% white.

According to the annual "20th Day Count" of the Duval County Public School System, there are approximately 123,470 students enrolled in grades pre-kindergarten through l2th grade, attending 153 schools. There are 102 elementary schools (pre-k through 5th grade) serving 65,409 students, 31,956 of which are in the target population of kindergarten, first, and second grade. The overall racial mix of the school system is 40% black and 60% white, although individual schools vary from I% black and 99% white to 99% black and 1% white. The three schools chosen for this study approximate the racial mix of the county of 24% black and 76% white.





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Sampling Procedures

The administrators of three different public elementary schools in Duval County were contacted and asked to (a) provide a classroom roll, including parents'names and telephone numbers for the kindergarten, first, and second grade classes to the researcher; or (b) send a letter to parents written by the investigator which briefly explained the purpose of the study and requested parents to call if willing to participate (Appendix Q. All parents responding from the groups receiving one of the letters were contacted to participate in the study. Of the parent names provided through classroom fists, attempts were made to equally fill each of the four groups by locating areas of residence through matching names with the telephone book. Mothers were interviewed until the minimum criteria of 12 subjects per group was achieved. The researcher contacted mothers by phone and explained the purpose of the study, the procedure, and the time commitment (Appendix D). Upon determining that the mother met criteria for participation in the study she was invited to participate. Criteria included (a) having at least one child between the ages of five years and eight years, living in the home, who was the mother's natural (biological) child; (b) be either white Anglo American of at least a second generation or black Affican American of at least a second generation; and (c) having two adults, acting as parental figures, living in the home together for at least three years.






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Subjects

The sample consisted of 57 mothers representing four different groups: (a) lower educational level (high school graduate or less) white Anglo American, second generation;,

(b) higher educational level (at least one year of college) white Anglo American, second generation; (c) lower educational level (high school graduate or less) black Afican American, second generation;, and (d) higher educational level (at least one year of college) black Afican American, second generation.

Demographic information regarding the mother's race, marital status, educational level, and occupation along with source of additional income and that person's educational level and occupation was gathered. Twenty-seven Afican-American mothers were interviewed of which 15 were higher educational level and 12 were lower educational level. Thirty caucasian mothers were interviewed of which 15 were higher educational level and 15 were lower educational level. All mothers were involved in significant relationships, but classified themselves differently. Of the African-American mothers 20 were married, 3 were single, 3 were separated, and I was divorced. Of the caucasian mothers 28 were married, 1 was single, and I was divorced. Occupational levels were determined according to criteria of the Four Factor Index of Social Status by Hollingshead (1975). In the Afican-American sample I mother was not employed, I was employed at a menial service or unskilled worker level, 12 were employed at a semiskilled, skilled or





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clerical level, 10 were employed at a semiprofessional or minor professional level, and 2 were employed at a lesser or major professional level. In the caucasian sample 5 mothers were not employed, 3 were employed at a menial service or unskilled worker level, 14 were employed at a semiskilled, skilled or clerical level, and 8 were employed at a semiprofessional or minor professional level.

Data Collection

Upon giving her agreement to participate, an appointment was made with each mother to meet with the researcher at a mutually agreeable site for an interview, lasting approximately one hour. The researcher again explained the purpose of the study and addressed any questions the mother may have had at that time. The informed consent was signed and she was provided with a copy (Appendix E).

The interview began with the collection of demographic information, (Appendix A). Following this, the Person Centered Communication Assessment was administered with responses audio-taped. Three sub-scales of the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning followed along with the Family Regime Assessment Scale. Finally, the Parenting Preferences Inventory (Appendix B) was administered. The assessment process took approximately one hour and was conducted with the interviewer present to answer any questions which may have arisen.





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Instrumentation

Demographic information was collected verbally and included mother's race, marital status, educational level, occupation, number and ages of children living in the household, as well as marital status, educational level, and occupation of the other parental figure in the home. Four assessment tools were used in this study: (a) the Person-Centered Communication Assessment; (b) the Democratic, Laissez-Faire, and Authoritarian sub-scales of the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning; (c) the Family Regime Assessment Scale; and (d) the Parenting Preferences Inventory. The Person-Centered Communication Assessment

Measurement of the participants' styles of parent-child communication was accomplished through the use of the Person-Centered Communication Assessment developed by Applegate, Burke, Burleson, Delia, and Kline (1985). This instrument is based on a constructivist's approach to communication, which emphasizes the interrelations among stable individual differences in social-cognitive and verbal strategies. The development of communicative abilities is seen as grounded in the development of a system of social cognitive schemes, the most basic of which are interpersonal constructs. These constructs are defined as bipolar cognitive structures developed and used to interpret, anticipate, and evaluate the thoughts and behaviors of others.





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Subjects are asked to respond to seven hypothetical situations which describe typical parent-child communication exchanges. Five of the situations describe circumstances requiring the mother to regulate or discipline her child's behavior. Two of the situations present circumstances requiring the mother to provide comfort or emotional support to her child. Mothers are asked to state explicitly what they would say in each situation. Probe questions or role-playing (with the interviewer playing the role of the child) are used as needed to encourage mothers to respond fully and to provide actual messages rather than abstract discussion.

Individual differences in the person-centered quality of the mother's

communication is assessed by the use of two parallel six-level hierarchical coding systems. The specific aspect of person-centered communication focused on is the extent to which mother's regulative and comforting strategies encourage the child to reflect upon and reason through relevant behaviors, feelings, and circumstances. Regulative strategies are scored by the degree to which the mother encourages the child to modify his/her behavior as a function of reflecting on and reasoning through the nature and consequences of his/her inappropriate behavior. Comforting strategies are scored by the degree to which the mother's response grants legitimacy to the child's feelings and encourages him/her to reflect upon and seek an understanding of his/her feelings as related to the circumstances. The seven individual situation scores are scored within the appropriate hierarchical coding






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system, and are summed across regulative and comforting strategy to form a single index of person-centered parental communication.

Interrater reliability coefficients (by intraclass correlation) were .85 for regulative strategies and .90 for comforting strategies. Cross-situational consistency for the seven situations, as assessed by Cronbach's coefficient alpha was .90 for the five regulative situations and .80 for the two comforting situations. Construct validity was determined by a comparison of three indices of interpersonal construct system development and the assessments of person-centered parental communication.

The indices of construct differentiation and construct system integration were assessed using a modified form of Crockett's (1965) Role Category Questionnaire. The third index, construct system structure, was assessed using a modified form of Kelly's (1955) Role Construct Repertory Test and coded for level of construct abstractness. In general, the indices of interpersonal construct system development were moderately associated with the assessments of person-centered parental communication. All three of the construct system indices were significantly and positively associated with the degree of person-centeredness exhibited in regulative strategies with construct abstractness being the strongest predictor (r =.49). Abstractness was the only significant construct system predictor for the degree of person-centeredness exhibited in comforting strategies (r =.59). Results from the multiple regression analysis were consistent with previous findings





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indicating that construct abstractness is the most important aspect of construct system development contributing to person-centered communication. The three indices of person-centered parental communication were positively intercorrelated at highly significant levels for both regulative and comforting strategies, indicating that a considerable degree of coherence exists in the quality of communicative strategies used across communicative functions, and justifying summing across them to form a single index of person-centered parental communication. There were also significant associations between the two indices of socioeconomic status and both the construct system and communicative behavior indices. Even when the influence of socioeconomic status was partialed out, the construct system indices generally remained significant predictors of person-centered communication. Finally, the results of the path analysis, for assessment of the extent to which the impact of social class on person-centered communication is mediated by the interpersonal construct system, support the notions that

(a) the level of construct system development is a direct determinant of person-centeredness in parental communication patterns, and (b) the effect of social-class on parental communication patterns is mediated through the interpersonal construct system.




Full Text
86
Instrumentation
Demographic information was collected verbally and included mother's race,
marital status, educational level, occupation, number and ages of children living in the
household, as well as marital status, educational level, and occupation of the other
parental figure in the home. Four assessment tools were used in this study: (a) the
Person-Centered Communication Assessment; (b) the Democratic, Laissez-Faire, and
Authoritarian sub-scales of the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning; (c)
the Family Regime Assessment Scale; and (d) the Parenting Preferences Inventory.
The Person-Centered Communication Assessment
Measurement of the participants' styles of parent-child communication was
accomplished through the use of the Person-Centered Communication Assessment
developed by Applegate, Burke, Burleson, Delia, and Kline (1985). This instrument is
based on a constructivist's approach to communication, which emphasizes the
interrelations among stable individual differences in social-cognitive and verbal strategies.
The development of communicative abilities is seen as grounded in the development of a
system of social cognitive schemas, the most basic of which are interpersonal constructs.
These constructs are defined as bipolar cognitive structures developed and used to
interpret, anticipate, and evaluate the thoughts and behaviors of others.


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laissez-faire style approached significance as being negatively correlated with a value for
verbal interaction and that Caucasian, lower-educated mothers tended towards a more
laissez-faire style of family-management. It was also determined that African-American
mothers were more behaviorally involved as were lower educated mothers.
Focusing on person-centered communication, it was found to approach
significance that mothers practicing an authoritarian family-management style were less
likely to practice child-centered communication. Within the person-centered assessment,
it was found to be significant that higher educated mothers were more likely to practice
comforting levels of communication with their children. No significant correlations were
found between the assessment of person-centered communication and the level of verbal
and behavioral interaction. It was assumed that there would be a positive relationship,
especially between verbal expressiveness and person-centered communication. This lack
of correlation (r=. 199, p= 1373) suggests that perhaps these two assessment scales are not
measuring the same variable.
Save for the positive correlation between lower educated mothers and behavioral
interaction and involvement, these relationships are supported by the literature as
discussed under the eight hypotheses posed. It is possible that since the Colorado
Self-Report measures more concretely the rules and practices of the family than the Family
Regime Assessment Scale (which tends to focus more on organization and structure), the


Table 1
Defining Features. Strengths, and Limitations of Family Paradigms
CLOSED/
TRADITIONAL
RANDOM/
INDIVIDUALISTIC
OPEN/
COLLABORATIVE
SYNCHRONOUS/
SERENE
INDIVIDUAL
AND FAMILY
Promotes dependence;
loyalty,subordination to
group
Promotes counter-dependence;
independence from group
Promotes flexible
interdependence; admixture of
dependent, independent
Promotes "non-dependence;"
parallel independent
functioning
AUTONOMOUS
ACTION
Relatively low, limited
support except when
regulated by rules
Relatively high, actively
promotes "separate solutions"
Relatively high with dependency
allowed, favors collaborative
action
Relatively high, favors compatible
independent action
PARENTING
Authoritarian, restrictive
explicit expectations of
obedience and conformity,
encourage dependence
Laissez-faire, permissive, free
individual expression, discourage
dependence
Democratic, children as respected
partners, promotes cooperation
and responsibility through open
communication
Perfectionistic, high but implicit
expectations, indirect control,
promotes identification
STABILITY
AND CHANGE
Builds stability
Creates change
Generates flexibility; combines
stability and change
Timelessness
DECISION
MAKING
Based in authority, tradition;
commands, directions passed
Based in originality; spontaneity;
autonomous actions
Based in consensus; open
communication; negotiation
Based in tacit agreement, mutual
identification; automatic
POWER
AND CONTROL
Hierarchy, fixed roles
Anarchic, egalitarian,
independent solutions
Mutual collaboration, joint
solutions
Indirect or covert, implied
understandings
PROVIDES
Security, belonging
Freedom, variety
Emotional support, adaptiveness
Tranquility
PROMOTES
Conformity, loyalty
Individuality, independence
Mutuality, cooperation
Harmonious identification
MAY SACRIFICE
Individuality, variety
Security, stability
Tranquility
Emotional support, involvement
PROBABLE
Rigidity, over-involvement
Chaos, under-involvement
Chaos, over-involvement
Rigidity, under-involvement
DIRECTION OF
FAILURE
(Adapted from Constantine 1986, 1988; Amatea, Brown, & Cluxton, 1992)


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clerical level, 10 were employed at a semiprofessional or minor professional level, and 2
were employed at a lesser or major professional level. In the Caucasian sample 5 mothers
were not employed, 3 were employed at a menial service or unskilled worker level, 14
were employed at a semiskilled, skilled or clerical level, and 8 were employed at a
semiprofessional or minor professional level.
Data Collection
Upon giving her agreement to participate, an appointment was made with each
mother to meet with the researcher at a mutually agreeable site for an interview, lasting
approximately one hour. The researcher again explained the purpose of the study and
addressed any questions the mother may have had at that time. The informed consent was
signed and she was provided with a copy (Appendix E).
The interview began with the collection of demographic information, (Appendix
A). Following this, the Person Centered Communication Assessment was administered
with responses audio-taped. Three sub-scales of the Colorado Self-Report Measure of
Family Functioning followed along with the Family Regime Assessment Scale. Finally, the
Parenting Preferences Inventory (Appendix B) was administered. The assessment process
took approximately one hour and was conducted with the interviewer present to answer
any questions which may have arisen.


24
Lamb, 1978). This review focuses on the three major theories used in parent education.
It was noted that they support many aspects of the images of family life proposed by
Constantine (1977, 1983, 1984a, 1984b, 1986, 1987, 1988).
Adlerian
The basic assumption of this model is that people are social beings and want to be
socialized. Behavior is seen as purposive and goal seeking. Cooperation, rather than
permissiveness, is needed between parents and children, and it is believed that children's
behavior is based on expectations. The goal of the Adlerian approach is to help parents
understand their childrento know how they think and to comprehend the motives for
their actions. The idea is to help parents improve the quality of the help they provide their
children and to assist them in relating more effectively to their children. Techniques of
parenting involve the use of natural and logical consequences as an alternative to powerful
control of the child, a democratic approach to parenting, an emphasis on the goals of
children's misbehavior and the use of the family council (Croake, 1983; Lamb & Lamb,
1978). Adlerian programs include Children the Challenge (Dreikurs & Soltz, 1964);
Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) (Dinkmeyer & McKay, 1976) and
Active Parenting (Popkin, 1983).
The Adlerian approach, with its emphasis on family democracy and the importance
of discussion by way of the family council, models the values of the open family paradigm.


124
themselves. Without the ability to respond in both ways, participants may have been more
prone to respond in an idealistic manner.
Another possible reason for the lack of significant difference may also be explained
in reference to the range of the mothers' educational level. The possible categories ranged
from 1 to 7. Mothers were only represented in levels 2 to 7, however, and 83% of the
sample fell in levels 4, 5, and 6 (high school graduation to standard colige graduation) so
that perhaps there was not enough of a marked difference between educational levels.
Another reason for a lack of significant difference suggested by David Imig, the
developer of the Family Regime Assessment Scale (personal contact, February 10, 1997),
but beyond the scope of this paper, may be due to response variability to the different
system dimensions (content, affect, meaning, control, time, energy, space, and material)
assessed by the Family Regime Assessment Scale. Dr. Imig suggested that even when two
mothers appear to have the same paradigmatic preference, they may very well differ along
the dimensions within the chosen paradigm. For example, within the random paradigm,
one mother may allow freedom in relation to control, while another may feel a need for
less rigidity with regards to time, and yet both would appear to have the same general
preference for a random family paradigm. Thus the intergroup variability in parenting
practices of persons reporting the same paradigm preferences may lead to significant
group difference.


159
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43
pointed out the importance of studying the cognitive aspects of parental functioning as a
critical step in understanding parental behavior, and Newberger (1980) suggested that
understanding a parent's level of reasoning provides an idea of how the parent perceives
the parent-child relationship and tells us which cognitive resources a parent has and
utilizes to interpret and resolve their task as parents. The assumption is that parents do
not merely react to the child's actions in the immediate situation, but that numerous
previous interactions and knowledge about the child is cognitively structured and then
influences the manner in which the parent interprets and handles the situation (Dekovic &
Gerris, 1992). Parents organize their actions depending on the goals they hope to achieve,
supporting the idea that parental behavior is intentional, not merely reactive. Dekovic and
Gerris (1992) found, in their study of parental reasoning and childrearing behaviors, that
parental reasoning complexity made an independent contribution to parental behavior.
Conceptions about children, parenthood, and the parent-child relationship represent
factors internal to the parent. Bandura (1977) reported that parents who do not believe
they have the ability to parent successfully do not put their knowledge of parenting into
action, become preoccupied with themselves, are emotionally aroused, and do not persist
at the task of parenting. Belsky (1990) cited Cox, Owen, Lewis and Henderson (1989)
who stated that parents who scored high on measures of ego development and ego
strength behaved sensitively and responsively toward their infants. She also cited Frank,


61
sources: (a) the parents' ontogenic origins and personal psychological resources, (b) the
child's characteristics of individuality, and (c) contextual sources of stress and support.
Stressors impinging on the family such as unemployment, family violence, marital
discord, and divorce are associated with both delinquency and child adjustment problems
in general, according to research cited by Patterson, DeBaryshe, and Ramsey (1989).
Although stressors may have direct and independent effects on child behavior, we assume
that the major impact of stress on child adjustment is mediated by family management
practices. If the stressors disrupt parenting practices, then the child is placed at risk for
adjustment problems (Patterson et al, 1989). For example, financial strain, while
demonstrating no direct influence upon parenting, did show an indirect effect upon the
parenting practices of mothers, suggesting that financial strain leads to marital problems
and that marital difficulties reduce the amount of warmth and nurturance the mother
shows. The strain increases the probability that a child will be perceived as difficult, thus
increasing the probability of parental rejection and hostility. Rosenblum and Paully (1984)
agreed that mother-infant interaction under conditions of economic insecurity, maternal
employment, and environmental instability may elicit conflicts between parental and infant
needs. They cited several authors who reported that such conflicting demands on a
mother, which strain her coping capacity, also undermine her ability to mediate her infant's
successful interaction with its surroundings, in turn decreasing the infant's own emerging


54
and cultural groups that differ from the U S. white middle-class have proven to be riddled
with bias and misunderstanding. The cultural significance of parental behaviors labeled by
the typology as authoritarian is not captured within the global, unidimensional framework
of the typology. Baumrind (1972) discovered that parental actions that fit within the
authoritarian pattern within white families did not result in an authoritarian "syndrome"
among African-American girls. Instead it fostered toughness and self-sufficiency and was
perceived as "nurturant care-taking." Chao (1993) argued that depictions of parental
behaviors as authoritarian, controlling, and restrictive are typically ethnocentric and
misleading. Asian families have been found to obtain among the highest scores of
unquestioning obedience to parents on the Baumrind measure. According to Chao,
parental concern and love are equated in Asian cultures with firm control and governance.
To label such tendencies as authoritarian is to misread behaviors that are based on
Confucian conceptions of respect for elders. Likewise, Korean children's perceptions of
parental warmth tend to increase as overall parental control increases (Rohner &
Pettengill, 1985). This reflects a general cultural view of the individual as a fractional
part of the family. Kim (1987) however felt that there is a gap between Korean parents'
beliefs and their actual parenting, stating their ideology is democratic wheras in actuality it
is authoritarian. He believes there are no clear rules, guidelines or expectations due to
conflicting values concerning traditional versus modem parenting practices. In a six


63
Belsky (1984) noted that the work on child abuse highlights three distinct sources
of stress and support: (a) the marital relationship, (b) social networks and (c)
employment, which can either promote or undermine parental competence. According to
research reviewed by Belsky (1984), marital relations do not influence parenting directly,
but impact it indirectly by affecting the general psychological well-being of parents and
therefore the skills they exercise in the parenting role. In the same manner he reported
that the benefit accrued from social networking is the enhancement of the parent's
emotional support. Belsky stresses the importance between matching the support desired
and the support received. He cited references to unemployment and an increase in child
maltreatment, but beyond those stated the majority of work is on maternal employment,
suggesting that the mother's employment status influences the quality and quantity of her
and her spouse's parenting behavior. Kohn's (1963) work demonstrated that working
class men whose jobs required compliance to authority tended to stress obedience and
conformity in their children and favor physical punishment whereas middle-class fathers
whose jobs required self-direction and independence tended to value the same in their
children. Maijoribanks (1991) determined that family context defined by parent's
aspirations for their children is a moderate to strong predictor of young adult's
social-status attainment. The implication of this observation is that families that more
intensively constrain may have particular difficulty permitting change, such as new


28
no definite conclusions nor were they able to determine which type of program was best
suited to a particular type of parent. Matching the type of program with the goals, needs
and characteristics of parents might increase program efficiency (Fine & Henry, 1989;
Tavormina, 1980). Therefore, a clearer understanding of the manner in which parents'
beliefs about family life influence the acquisition of parenting skills would be helpful. An
understanding of a parent's beliefs regarding family power, authority, roles,
communication, and views on stability and adaptability might increase the positive
outcome of parent education programs, by matching parents to groups that would fit their
beliefs and images of family life.
Overview of Parenting Assessment Instrument Development
Most parenting assessment instruments have been developed to assess the type of
knowledge or attitudes emphasized within a specific theoretical orientation. The optimal
method of parenting is usually inferred.
The first parenthood instrument was developed in 1899 by Charles Sears. This
was a survey to assess adult's attitudes toward punishment. Although a few instruments
were developed in the intervening years, it was not until the 1930s that a wide array of
instruments began to appear, designed to assess a wide range of constructs and variables
related to parenthood Sigmund Freud's theory of psychosexual stage development
provided a major stimulus for understanding the role of parents in the development of


APPENDIX A
DEMOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW SCHEDULE
1. Code Number
2. Mother's Name
Telephone number
Address
3. Mother's race
4. United States Native
Yes
No
5. Mother's Marital Status:
single married separated divorced other _
6. Mother's Educational Level:
less than seventh grade
junior high school (9th grade)
partial high school (10th or 11th grade)
high school graduate (whether private, parochial, trade, or public)
136


146
Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool
behavior. Genetic Psychology Monograph. 75. 43-88.
Baumrind, D. (1971). Current patterns of parental authority. Developmental
Psychology Monographs. 4(1, pt 2).
Baumrind, D. (1972). Socialization and instrumental competence in young
children. In W.W.Hartup (Ed.), The young child: Reviews of research (Vol. 2).
Washington, D C. National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Baumrind, D. (1993). The average expectable environment is not good enough:
A responsive to Scarr. Child Development. 64,(4), 1293-1317.
Beavers, W.R. (1981). A systems model of family for family therapists. Journal
of Marital and Family Therapy, 7, 299-307.
Beavers, W.R & Hampson, R.B. (1990). Successful families. New York: W.W.
Norton & Co.
Becker, W.C. (1964). Consequences of different kinds of parental discipline. In
M L. Hoffman & L.W. Hoffman (Eds ), Review of child development research.
New York: Russell Sage.
Belenky, M.F., Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule. (1986). Women's wavs of
knowing: The development of self, voice and mind. New York: Basic Books.
Bell, R.Q. & Harper, L. (1977). Child effects on adults. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Belsky, J. (1980). Child maltreatment: An ecological integration. American
Psychologist. 35. 220-225.
Belsky, J. (1981). Early human experience: A family perspective.
Developmental Psychology. 17, 3-23.
Belsky, J. (1984). The determinants of parenting: A process model. Child
Development. 55. 83-96.


93
decision to employ a 4-choice format for questions was made on the ground that a
two-choice, (true-false), format was not suitable for factor analytic studies that depended
on stable zero-order correlation coefficients, and that a 9-choice format demanded a
greater level of discrimination than could be effectively used by someone completing a
paper and pencil questionnaire.
In order to provide an assessment of the validity of the self-report measure of
family functioning, scores obtained on each of the scales were contrasted, as a function of
age of respondent and marital status of parents, by means of a two-way analysis of
variance. Significant differences in scale scores as a function of parental marital status
were found in 12 of the 15 scales. Relative to disrupted families, intact families were
described as significantly more cohesive and expressive; less conflicted; higher in
intellectual-cultural, active-recreational, and religious orientation; more sociable; less
external in their locus of control, more idealized; less disengaged; higher in democratic
family style; and lower in laissez-faire family style. As a function of age of the subject,
differences reflect growing disengagement of family members, growing laissez-faire family
style, and decreasing expressiveness with increasing age. Cronbach alphas ranged
between .49 and .85 with a mean of .71; average inter-item correlations ranged from .13
to .53 with a mean of .36; and scale intercorrelations ranged from .03 to.73 with a mean
of .28. Specifically, for the three sub-scales to be used in this study, Democratic Family


APPENDIX C
LETTER
Dear Parents,
I am the mother of a San Jose Elementary first grader and two younger children. I
am also a doctoral student at the University of Florida currently working on my
dissertation. My area of interest is parenting and my study focuses on the different ideas
about parenting and family life that people hold.
I would like the opportunity to speak with mothers about their ideas on parenting
and what works in their families. If you would be willing to speak with me regarding your
ideas on childrearing, please contact me at 731-4070. Your participation would be strictly
voluntary, confidential, and at your convenience, as well as greatly appreciated.
Sincerely,
Theresa Thweatt Rulien
731-4070
141


22
Organization of the Study
A five chapter model is presented in this research study. In Chapter 2, the author
presents a review of the related literature. The methodology of the study is contained in
Chapter 3, while a presentation of the results of the statistical analysis of data are included
in Chapter 4. A discussion of the results, limitations of the study, and suggestions for
future research are included in Chapter 5.


130
manner in which a mother exerts control including type and extent of communication with
her child. It would have also been expected, based on the research mentioned previously,
to have found differences in relation to race and educational level. Applegate and his
associates (1985) found that high levels of self-enhancing parent-child communication
were positively related to high levels of parent education. Dekovic and Gerris (1992)
reported a positive correlation between parental reasoning complexity and educational
level. This relationship was between parent educational level and the manner in which
parents reason and communicate with their children.
Reasons for the lack of differences found may be as a result of the attempt by
mothers to "fake good." Questions are asked orally, and it was noted during the
interviews that many mothers would apologize for their responses, questioned whether
others felt the same way, or joked by saying they would answer honestly once the tape
recorder was off.
Post-Hoc Analyses
The majority of significant findings reported in this study resulted from conducting
post-hoc analyses on the family-management style data. In these analyses it was found
that the democratic style was positively correlated with encouragement of verbal
interaction and expressiveness while a negative correlation between the democratic style
and behavioral interaction warrants further study. It was also determined that the


Description of the Population 82
Sampling Procedures 83
Subjects 84
Data Collection 85
Instrumentation 86
Data Analysis 100
4 RESULTS 102
Research Hypotheses 104
Summary 121
5 DISCUSSION 122
Discussion of the Results 122
Limitations of the Study 132
Suggestions for Future Research 133
Implications of the Study 134
Summary and Conclusions 135
APPENDICES
A DEMOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW SCHEDULE 136
B PARENTING PREFERENCES INVENTORY 138
C LETTER 141
D TELEPHONE CONTACT 142
E INFORMED CONSENT 144
REFERENCES 145
vii
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
167


88
system, and are summed across regulative and comforting strategy to form a single index
of person-centered parental communication.
Interrater reliability coefficients (by intraclass correlation) were .85 for regulative
strategies and .90 for comforting strategies. Cross-situational consistency for the seven
situations, as assessed by Cronbach's coefficient alpha was .90 for the five regulative
situations and .80 for the two comforting situations. Construct validity was determined by
a comparison of three indices of interpersonal construct system development and the
assessments of person-centered parental communication.
The indices of construct differentiation and construct system integration were
assessed using a modified form of Crockett's (1965) Role Category Questionnaire. The
third index, construct system structure, was assessed using a modified form of Kelly's
(1955) Role Construct Repertory Test and coded for level of construct abstractness. In
general, the indices of interpersonal construct system development were moderately
associated with the assessments of person-centered parental communication. All three of
the construct system indices were significantly and positively associated with the degree of
person-centeredness exhibited in regulative strategies with construct abstractness being
the strongest predictor (r = 49). Abstractness was the only significant construct system
predictor for the degree of person-centeredness exhibited in comforting strategies (r =59).
Results from the multiple regression analysis were consistent with previous findings


37
difficulty with verbal learning expectations rather than direct training methods (Fine &
Henry, 1989; O'Dell, 1974).
Gender of Parents
Research studies support the idea that parenting beliefs, values, and style differ
depending on the gender of the parent (Cohen, Dibble & Grawe, 1977a, 1977b; Gilligan,
1982; Simons, Whitbeck, Conger & Melby, 1990; Simons, Whitbeck, Conger & Chyi-In,
1991; Goetting 1986 cited in Pittman, Wright & Lloyd, 1989). Mothers tend to be more
child oriented than fathers. According to Chodorow (as cited in Gilligan 1982) girls
experience themselves as like their mothers, thus fusing the experience of attachment with
the process of identity formation. They, therefore, emerge from this period with a basis
for empathy built into their primary definition of self, and with a stronger basis for
experiencing another's needs or feelings as one's own. Because they are parented by a
person of the same gender, girls come to experience themselves as less differentiated and
more continuous with and related to the external world. Mothers demonstrate a love
arising neither from separation nor from a feeling of being at one with the external world,
but rather from a feeling of connection; a primary bond between other and self (Freud,
1930 cited in Gilligan, 1982).
Conversely, boys define themselves by separating their mothers from themselves,
thus curtailing their primary love and empathic tie. They emerge more differentiated


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Assisting parents in learning how to parent their children more effectively has been
proposed as a viable solution to many of the social problems facing contemporary
America (Alexander, Barton, Schiavo, & Parsons, 1976; Gordon & Davidson, 1981;
Graziano, 1986; Klein, Alexander, & Parsons, 1977; Levant, 1983a; Levant, 1983b;
Robin, Kent, O'Leary, Foster, & Prinz, 1977). Whether it be in response to the problem
of child neglect or abuse, to the rising tide of violence in schools, to the increase in
juvenile crime and homicide, or to relatively normal "rebellion," improving parents'
abilities to effectively rear their children has been viewed as an important step toward
preventing social problems. But what style of childrearing and image of family life should
be promoted in these parenting interventions?
Despite attempts to rethink "the family" as a social form and to dispel the myths
and monolithic view of contemporary family life, relatively little research exists that
focuses on the complexity and diversity of parenting beliefs and experiences or the
pervasive impact of culture or class in shaping these beliefs. Instead most social scientists
who have conceptualized and assessed childrearing/parenting practices and values have
often conceptualized a continuum of "good" to"bad" (or functional to dysfunctional)
1


25
Behavioral
The behavioral model is the most predominant model in use in the parent
education field (Lamb, 1986). The basic assumption within this model is that human
behavior results from learning, much of which comes from interaction with the
environment. Environmental change is therefore important. The goal is the assessment of
problem areas with regards to excesses, deficits, and maintenance. This implies social
value judgments. Techniques focus on increasing parental skills in influencing,
controlling, and directing children's behavior and development. This is done through
parents accepting responsibility for change in their children's behavior (Lamb & Lamb,
1978; Graziano, 1983; Levant, 1983a; Levant, 1983b). Instructions and procedures are
clearly defined in concrete terms with instructors modeling concepts and parents
role-playing. Communication skills are often emphasized in programs for families of
adolescents (Moreland, Schwebel, Beck & Wells, 1982; Robin, 1981).
The behavioral approach to parent education, with its use of techniques for
controlling and directing a child's behavior as well as the acceptance of responsibility by
the parents for that behavior, models the closed family paradigm.
Client-Centered / Humanistic
This approach, categorized as client-centered by Lamb and Lamb (1978) and
humanistic by L'Abate (1981) and Medway (1989), has as its basic assumptions that


107
level of verbal interaction and expressiveness as measured by the Parenting Preferences
Inventory.
Table 5
Analysis of Variance to Assess Differences in Family Paradigmatic Preference Due to
Mother's Race
Source
of Variation
df
Type III
Sums of Squares
F
Closed
1,54
1.2665
.89
Random
1,54
.0038
.00
Open
1,54
.0626
.14
Synchronous
1,54
.1868
.17
*p<05
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a regression analysis which assessed the
effects of educational level (level 1, high school diploma or less; level 2, at least one year
of college), race (African-American; Caucasian), and family paradigmatic preference
(closed, random, open, synchronous) on the child-management value for level of verbal
interaction and expressiveness as measured by scores derived from the Parenting
Preferences Inventory. Scores ranged from 0 to 6, with 6 representing a high degree of
agreement with the statement. Half the statements used a score of 6 as representative of


21
Family-management style is defined as the specific style a mother employs with
regards to orchestrating the day-to-day functioning of her family and will be categorized
as democratic, laissez-faire, or authoritarian. It was measured by the democratic,
laissez-faire, and authoritarian sub-scales of The Colorado Self-Report of Family
Functioning (Bloom, 1985).
Democratic family style denotes a family-management style encouraging
negotiation and communication, and is considered comparable to the open family
paradigm according to Constantine (1993). It was measured by the Democratic Family
Style sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report of Family Functioning (Bloom, 1985).
Laissez-faire family style denotes a family-management style that is externally
focused regarding control and values flexibility, and is considered comparable to the
random family paradigm according to Constantine (1993). It was measured by the
Laissez-Faire Family Style sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report of Family Functioning
(Bloom, 1985).
Authoritarian family style denotes a family-management style that values
organization, rigid boundaries, and clear rules, and is considered comparable to the closed
family paradigm according to Constantine (1993). It was measured by the Authoritarian
Family Style sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning
(Bloom, 1985).


71
of themes upon which variations can be built. Kantor and Lehr (1975) identified three
conceptually distinct paradigms through participant-observation research, with the premise
that there is no right answer or single best formula for family living. Families guided by
different paradigms will use different approaches to problem solving and be especially
good at different things as well as be prone to different kinds of difficulties. The closed
paradigm encourages stability, security, and belonging. These families are
"continuity-oriented" and homeostatic, operating so as to correct deviations from
established patterns. Continuity and uniformity are the priority so the family as a group is
seen as more important than the individual. Their motto: "stability through tradition and
loyalty." The random paradigm promotes novelty, creativity, and individuality. These
families are "discontinuity-oriented." There is not an absence of pattern, but it is a pattern
of continual change. The individual is paramount and the source of the family's variety.
Their motto: "variety through innovations and individuality." The open paradigm
supports adaptability, efficacy, and participation. These families are
"consequence-oriented" with resolution through negotiation and collaboration. This
paradigm stresses adaptiveness to the needs of both the individual and the system,
flexibility and balance. There is an adaptive mix of continuity and discontinity. They are
dedicated to communication. Their motto: "adaptability through negotiation and
collaboration." The original, research-based model was extended, based on formal,


The purpose of this descriptive comparative study was to determine whether
women differing in terms of their family paradigmatic preference would differ in their
parenting practices and parent-child communication. The sample consisted of 57 mothers
representing four separate groups divided by educational level and race. Interviews were
conducted with each of the mothers and consisted of the collection of demographic
information as well as administration of four different instruments assessing (a)
parent-child communication; (b) family-management style; (c) family paradigmatic
preference; and (d) child-management values.
A series of chi-square analyses and a series of two-way analyses of variance were
conducted to determine the frequency with which mothers differing by educational level
and race chose each of the four family paradigms. A series of regression analyses were
conducted to determine the effect of family paradigmatic preference on child-management
values, family-management style, and child-centered communication.
No significant differences in family paradigmatic preference based on mothers' race
or educational level were found. No significant differences were found in
child-management values nor for levels of child-centered communication for mothers
differing in family paradigmatic preference. A significant difference was found for
mothers describing an open family paradigm and reporting a preference for a democratic
x


104
Research Hypotheses
Hypothesis One
Mothers differing in educational level will demonstrate no differences in family
paradigmatic preferences as measured by The Family Regime Assessment Scale.
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a series of four different two-way
analyses of variance which assessed the effects of educational level (level 1, high school
diploma or less; level 2, at least one year of college) on the variability of family
paradigmatic preference as measured by scores derived from The Family Regime
Assessment Scale. Scores ranged from 0 to 10, with 10 representing that statement most
accurately describing the participant's family. Analyses were conducted testing interaction
effects between educational level and race.
The results of the four different two-way analyses of variance assessing the effect
of educational level on the mothers' family paradigm preferences are presented in Table 4.
Only main effects are presented as no interaction effects were found. As the data shows,
no significant differences in family paradigm preference, closed (F=.13, df=l,54, p= 7196),
random (F=. 49, df=l,54, p=4864), open (F=3.39, df=l,54, p=0711, warrants further
research), and synchronous (F=.12, df=l,54, p=7299) were reported by women differing
in educational level.


154
Hess, R D (1970). Social class and ethnic influences on socialization. In P.H.
Mussen (Ed ), Charmichael's manual of child psychology. New York: Wiley.
Hess, R.D. & Shipman, V.C. (1965). Early experience and the socialization of
cognitive modes in children. Child Development. 36, 869-886.
Hess, R.D. & Shipman, V.C. (1972). Parents as teachers: How lower class and
middle class mothers teach. In C.S Lavatelli & F. Stendler (Eds), Readings in child
behavior and development New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Hinde, R.A. (1979). Towards understanding relationships. San Diego, CA:
Academic Press.
Hines, P.M. & Boyd-Franklin, N. (1982). Black families. In M. McGoldrick, J.K.
Pearce, & J. Giordano, Ethnicity and family therapy. New York: Guilford.
Hoffman, L.W. (1974). The employment of women, education, and fertility.
Merrill Palmer Quarterly. 20(2), 99-119.
Hoffman, L.W. (1984). Work, family, and the socialization of the child. In R.D.
Parke, (Ed ), The family: Review of child development research. Vol. 7. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Hoffman, L.W. (1986). Work, family, and the child. In M S. Pallak & R O.
Perloff (Eds ), Psychology and work: Productivity, change, and employment.
Washington, D C.: American Psychological Association.
Hoffman, L.W. (1988). Cross-cultural differences in childrearing goals. New
Directions for Child Development. 40, 99-122.
Holden, G. (1990). Parenthood. In J. Touliatos, J. Perlmutter, & M. Straus,
(Ed), The handbook of family measurement techniques. Newbury Park, Calf.: Sage.
Hollingshead, A.B. (1975). Four factor index of social status. Department of
Sociology, Yale University, New Haven, CT.


60
representation with the type of education offered is obvious, so they can learn (accretion),
revise (tune), and replace (restructure). These functions are seen as an ongoing part of
social interactions that are an important source of feedback related to monitoring,
checking and evaluation. Grusec, Hastings and Mammone (1994) also supported that
parenting beliefs are affected by the particular context in which parents find themselves as
well as the specific experiences they have had with their own children, and
Rigazio-DiGilio (1993) stated that according to Developmental Counseling and Therapy
(DCT) and Systemic Cognitive Developmental Therapy (SCDT), individual development
and family development occur within a social and cultural environment. DCT and SCDT
practitioners underscore the importance of helping clients expand their understandings and
behavior at their current orientation The emphasis is first to build a strong foundation
before moving on. After that they suggested that assisting clients to access other
orientations offers opportunities for them to co-construct a broader range of perspectives
and behaviors and to develop a more flexible approach to the world
Belsky (1984) mused that it is of interest to learn that while great effort has been
expended studying the characteristics and consequences of parenting, much less attention
has been devoted to studying why parents parent the way they do and investigating the
effect of the child on parenting behavior. He continues with a report on the available
research, concluding that influence on parental functioning is based on three general


Copyright 1997
by
Theresa Thweatt Rulien


CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
This chapter includes a brief review of the literature on parenting and childrearing
with an emphasis on examining how parenting has been conceptualized and measured.
Theories of childrearing or parenting are reviewed. Corresponding parent education
programs are examined as well as the assessment instruments employed to assess
parenting skills. Literature on contextual and racial differences in families and the
implications of such differences for childrearing practice are reviewed, as well as research
on family orientations.
The research on parenting has consistently depicted a "right versus wrong" mentality
of childrearing. This representation is noted in the range of theory development
supportive of one optimal and correct way for all parents. Parent education programs
support this conceptualization as well. Even related assessment instruments are often
designed in an evaluative manner due to the unidimensional conceptualization of parenting
described in these theories.
Theories of Parenting and Parenting Education Programs
There are numerous theories of parenting and parent education. They coincide with
and parallel the diverse theories of human interaction used in client therapy (Lamb and
23


69
paradigm, the framework was transformed into the conventional two-by-two arrangement.
The basic dimensions in which family paradigms differ can now be determined. One of the
aspects of tetrahedral geometry is that the degrees of hierarchy, divergence, reflexivity,
and alignment for any family add up to a fixed value. The total can be distributed in any
way among the vectors, but the scores add up to the same total. This property supports
the assumptions, held about family paradigms, that family style results from tradeoffs
among competing typal goals (Kantor & Lehr, 1975). Family paradigms represent the
ways in which families assign priorities among competing values and objectives (Kantor &
Lehr, 1975; Kluckhohn, 1958). To determine the basic dimensions in which family
paradigms differ it is possible to construct a set of dimensions that is directly related to the
underlying taxonomy of paradigms. The midpoint of each edge is joined with the
midpoint of the opposite edge creating three orthogonal axes which differentiate one pair
of paradigms from an opposite pair. The three axes created represent: "engagement,"
varying from totally enmeshed to completely disengaged; "variability," with extremes from
chaos to rigidity; and "convergence," from dichotomized/highly skewed to highly
integrated synergy.
The paradigm is the template for the patterns we see (Constantine, 1986).
Paradigms (models, images, worldviews, references, standards) are related in process
(behavior, interaction) through regimes (organization, structures, regulating mechanisms).


44
Jacobson, Hole, Justkowski and Huyck (1986) who stated those parents developed
feelings of confidence and control in their role as parents. Bugental (Bugental &
Shennum, 1984; Bugental, 1991) focused on the amount of power parents believed they
had in conflict situations with their children relative to the power they attributed to their
children. Mothers low in perceived power experience negative affect, had
problem-focused thoughts, and engaged in power-assertive or punitive childrearing. The
attributions refer to the degree to which the parents believed the child's behavior was
intentional and foreseen, as well as free from external control. Parents were assumed to
assign blame and responsibility to their children in the case of misdeeds and to attribute
behavior to dispositional characteristics rather than external situational constraints and
forces. Dix and Grusec (1985) and Dix, Ruble and Zambarano (1989) demonstrated that
these thoughts or attributions are associated with parental anger and punitive reactions in
support of the idea that cognition is an important determinant of a large percentage of
human emotions (Dix 1991).
Current research and theory conceptualizes emotions, cognitions, and behaviors as
complimentary and interrelated, each altering and informing the other (Kiser, Piercy &
Lipchik, 1993). Meichenbaum (1985) cited Piaget, "We must agree that at no level, at no
stage, even in the adult, can we find a behavior or state which is purely cognitive without
affect nor a purely affective state without a cognitive element involved. There is no such


11
concrete and most easily accessed. The regime is the means by which the paradigm,
unobservable in itself, can be translated into observable behavior (Constantine, 1986).
According to Constantine, a paradigm is both a model and a world view, not only
representing a family's values and ideals, but a construed reality of family and social
relationships (Reiss, 1981). Thus, each family paradigm includes distinct approaches to
the resolution of fundamental issues of family life such as the relative value given to
stability versus change or the relative priority given individual versus the collective needs
of family members. These variations in family values and family structure not only
influence the relative value placed on childrearing in a family but also shape the distinctive
ways in which childrearing is conducted by different family members. Different paradigms
produce different perceptions and practices about childrearing.
Constantine (1986) described four distinctively different family paradigms: the
closed, the random, the open, and the synchronous. The defining features of each
paradigm are depicted in Table 1. The closed paradigm personifies the stable, secure
family which relies on traditional authority and conformity to its norms to assure
continuation of established family patterns. The closed family has a fixed, authoritarian,
and hierarchical structure. Familial boundaries are closed and controlled, and roles are
assigned and strongly emphasized. Truth is perceived as being absolute and permanent.


162
Reiss, D (1971). Varieties of consensual experience: I. Relating family
interaction to individual thinking. Family Process. 10. 1-28.
Reiss, D (1981). The family's construction of reality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press.
Richman, A.L., Miller, P.M. & Solomon, M.J. (1988). The socialization of
infants in suburban Boston. In W. Damon, R.A. LeVine, P.M. Miller, & M.M. West
(Eds ), Parental behavior in diverse societies. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Rigazio-DiGilio, S. (1993). A co-constructive-developmental approach to
ecosystemic treatment. Journal of Mental Health Counseling. 15. 43-74.
Roberts, G.C., Block, J.H. & Block, J. (1984). Continuity and change in parents'
child-rearing practices. Child Development. 55. 586-597.
Robin, A.L. (1981). A controlled evaluation of problem-solving communication
training with parent-adolescent conflict. Behavior Therapy, 12. 593-609.
Robin, A.L., Kent, R, O'Leary, D., Foster, S., & Prinz, R. (1977). An approach
to teaching parents and adolescents problem solving communication skills: A preliminary
report. Behavior Therapy. 8. 639-643.
Rogers, T.R., Forehand, R, Greist, D.L., Well. K.C., & McMahon, R J (1981).
Socioeconomic status: Effects on parent and child behaviors and treatment outcome of
parent training. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 10(2). 98-101.
Rohner, R.P. & Pettengill, S.M. (1985). Perceived parental acceptance and
rejection and parental control among Korean adolescents. Child Development. 566(3).
524-528.
Rose, S.D (1974). Training parents in groups as behavior modifiers of their
mentally retarded children. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. 5,
135-140.
Rosenblum, LA. & Paully, G.S. (1984). The effects of varying environmental
demands on maternal and infant behavior. Child Development. 55, 305-314.


120
The results of these analyses revealed that Caucasian lower educated mothers were
more likely to practice a laissez-faire family-management style (F=3.75, df=T,53,
p=.0582). A significant difference was evidenced by mothers ascribing to democratic
family-management style and maintaining a higher value for verbal interaction and
expressiveness (F=8.3, df=l,51, p=.0063). The relationship between a laissez-faire style
and a lack of importance placed on verbal interaction was also found to warrant further
study (F=3.61, df=l,51, p=0632).
Further significance was found in the relationship between African-American
mothers and a child-management value for behavioral interaction and involvement
(F=6.54, df=l,51, p= 0136) when comparing based on preferences of family-management
style. The relationship between lower educated mothers and a value for behavioral
interaction was also found to have significance based on family-management style
(F=4.07, df=l,51, p=.0490). It was also found, post-hoc, that mothers preferring a
democratic family style may not place a strong value on behavioral interaction with their
children (F=3.00, dfi=l,51, p=0896).
By comparing mothers differing in family-management style preference, it was
found that those mothers reporting that they practiced an authoritarian style were not as
likely to value self-enhancing person-centered communication (F= 2.83, df=l,51,
p=0984). Finally, on the portion of the person-centered communication scale focusing on


115
Table 9
Regression Analysis to Assess Frequency of Laissez-Faire Family-Management Style Due
to Family Paradigmatic Preference
Source
of Variation
df
Type III
Sums of Squares
F
Closed
1,49
1.7640
.81
Random
1,49
.0484
.02
Open
1,49
.3225
.15
Synchronous
1,49
3.4924
1.61
Educational level
1,49
2.8933
1.33
Race
1,49
.3956
.18
Educ x Race
1,49
10.2987
4.74 *
*p<05
Because no significant difference in ]
preference for a laissez-faire
family-management style was evidenced among mothers differing in
family paradigmatic
preference, Hypothesis Six failed to be rejected.
Hypothesis Seven
After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference will demonstrate no difference in family-management style as


APPENDIX B
PARENTING PREFERENCES INVENTORY
DIRECTIONS: This is about ways parents and children do things together. Please
respond to each statement in terms of how you think you act toward your child currently.
Next to each question is a scale from 0 to 6 which allows you to show how often you act
with your child in the way described.
0 Never
1 Almost Never
2 Seldom
3 Half the time
4 Frequently
5 Almost Always
6 Always
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 1. I feel it is my responsibility to teach my child how to behave.
0123456 2.1 like my child to do things his/her way without involving me
0123456 3.1 encourage my child to tell me what he/she is thinking and
feeling.
138


140
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 19. When making a decision affecting my child, I tell him/her how I
feel.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 20. My child and I enjoy a good debate.
0123456 21. If my child is grumpy or irritable, I leave him/her alone so he/she
can get over it.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 22. I let my child stay up at night until he/she gets tired.
0123456 23.1 expect to teach my child to do family chores.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 24. I think my child is capable of choosing appropriate meals.
0123456 25.I do not show my child my real feelings when he/she does
something to upset me.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 26. When my child misbehaves I try to reason with him/her about
why he/she should not act that way.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 27.1 avoid expressing a difference of opinion with my child.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 28. I let my child see that I am angry with him/her when he/she
does not do what I expect.
0123456 29.I encourage my child to express his/her opinion even when it
disagrees with mine.
0123456 30. I expect my child to answer me with respect at all times.


75
style of organization and operation. The key to identifying a family's dysfunctional
excesses or inadequacies is understanding what is congruent with that family's unique mix
of paradigms. It is not the amount of disorder, differentiation, closeness, that is functional
or dysfunctional except as it exceeds a family's own tolerance and capacities. The
direction of incongruence may also suggest whether the family is caught in a spiral of
exaggeration or inadequacies. This also helps us to understand what happens when
external factors introduce a certain level of imbalance into a family. Again, the issue is not
how extreme the factor is, but how extreme relative to each family's preferred and actual
organization. Any degree of cohesion or adaptability can be functional if validated by the
family (Olson et al, 1983).
Conclusion
It seemed evident by reviewing this body of knowledge, that it is imperative to
research how differing family paradigms relate to a family's parenting beliefs and practices.
This line of thought supports the idea of no "one right way" of parenting, yet also
acknowledges that problems can arise within any family type. Simons, Whitbeck, Conger
and Melby (1990) distinguished between "constructive" and "destructive" parenting
practices. Constructive parenting practices offer a style characterized by warmth,
inductive reasoning, clear communication, and appropriate monitoring and tend to
promote a child's cognitive functioning, social skills, moral development, and


148
Carlson, A C. (1985). The family in America-1985: A manifesto. Journal of
Family and Culture. 1(1), 16-28.
Carter, B. & McGoldrick, M. (1988). The changing family life cycle: A
framework for family therapy. 2nd ed. New York: Gardner Press.
Cedar, B. & Levant, R.F. (1990). A meta-analysis of the effects of parent
effectiveness training. The American Journal of Family Therapy. 18(4). 373-384.
Chao, R.K. (1993). Clarification of the authoritarian parenting style and parental
control: Cultural concepts of Chinese child rearing. Paper presented at the 60th
centennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, New Orleans.
Chodorow, N. (1974). Family structure and feminine personality. In M.Z.
Rosaldo and L. Lamphere (Eds ), Woman, culture and society. Stanford: Stanford
University Press.
Clark, B.C. & Baker, B.L. (1982). Predicting outcome in parent training. Journal
of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 51. 301-311.
Cohen, D.J., Dibble, E., & Grawe, J.M. (1977a). Parental style. Archives of
General Psychiatry. 34, 445-451.
Cohen, D.J., Dibble, E., & Grawe, J.M. (1977b). Fathers'and mothers'
perceptions of children's personality. Archives of General Psychiatry, 34. 480-487.
Constantine. L.L. (1977). Open family: A lifestyle for kids and other people.
The Family Coordinator. 26, 113-121.
Constantine, L.L. (1980). Interpersonal behaviour in families: Research on the
relationship of two models. Australian Journal of Family Therapy. 2(1), 9-16.
Constantine, L.L. (1983). Dysfunction and failure in open family systems: I.
Application of a unified theory. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 45(4), 725-738.
Constantine, L.L. (1984a). Dysfunction and failure in open family systems: II.
Clinical issues. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 10(1). 1-17.


100
statements describing either high or low parental encouragement of verbal interaction
between parent and child. Responses are based on a Likert-type scale with possible
choices being: 0 Never; 1 Almost Never; 2 Seldom, 3 Half the time; 4 Frequently;
5 Almost always; 6 Always. Items have been coded with regards to high or low
behavioral interaction and involvement by the parent, and high or low verbal interaction
and expressiveness encouraged by the parent so that each of these two dimensions can be
summed and plotted on a two-by-two grid. The two dimensions of parenting preferences
then categorize parents into one of the four corresponding family paradigms.
To establish content validity, this instrument was examined by three experts in the
fields of human development and marriage and family studies. Item total correlation was
computed to determine the internal reliability of this instrument: a Cronbach Alpha of .66
was computed for the behavioral interaction sub-scale and a Cronbach Alpha of .56 was
computed for the verbal interaction sub-scale.
Data Analysis
A series of chi-square analyses and a series of two-way analyses of variance were
conducted to test hypotheses one and two to determine the frequency with which mothers
differing by educational level and race chose each of the four family paradigms.
A series of regression analyses were conducted to test hypotheses three through
eight to determine the effect of family paradigmatic preference on the variables:


FAMILY PARADIGMATIC PREFERENCES AND CHILDREARING PRACTICES
OF
MOTHERS DIFFERING BY RACE AND EDUCATIONAL LEVEL
By
THERESA THWEATT RULIEN
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
1997

Copyright 1997
by
Theresa Thweatt Rulien

to my mother and father
This is as much yours as it is mine,
and
to my daughter, Caitlin
You did a lot of this with me and yes, we'
Phinally Done!

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Unfortunately it is impossible to acknowledge every person who has contributed in
some way to the completion of this dissertation, but I sincerely appreciate the countless
acts of kindness, support, and empathy that allowed me to continue with this phase of my
life. Specifically I want to thank Greg Dionne and Jeanne von Genk for their courage and
willingness to tutor me through the basics of computer literacy. Without their patience I
would have continued handwriting this study. I also want to graciously extend my
appreciation and admiration to Michael Lanier and Dr. Thom Borowy for their expert
advice as well as their ongoing support and empathic understanding when I was sure I
would never make it. The supportive guidance of my doctoral committee, Dr. Larry
Loesch, Dr. Joe Wittmer, and Dr. David Miller, is gratefully acknowledged, and especially
that of my chairperson, Dr. Ellen Amatea, who pleaded, pushed and never let me feel
defeated.
Without family this would have been an impossible task. I thank my aunt, Mary
Evelyn Albertson, for the use of her printer when I had none, and to my great aunt,
Elizabeth "Jodie" Allen, for the neverending words and Bible verses of support and
encouragement, and her "magical" way of knowing when I needed to receive a letter or
phone call. And to Mr. Mclver Brooks, who isn't really family, but should be, for never
IV

hesitating to lovingly remind me to get to work. I thank my in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Jack
Rulien (Maureen), for babysitting and for understanding when I couldn't make it to a
family function.
I especially wish to acknowledge my husband, Joey, and our three children, Caitlin,
Dustin, and Dillin, for their patience at having me in school the entire time any of the four
have known me. Their belief in me kept this a worthwhile goal. And to my parents, Dr.
and Mrs. Robert Thweatt (Doris), I can not even begin to express my gratitude for their
love, support, and faith in me. Without their parenting, urging, empathy, editing, advice,
wisdom, and constant willingness to keep my children "just a few more hours" I would not
have even come close to achieving this goal.
v

TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
LIST OF TABLES viii
ABSTRACT ix
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
Scope of the Problem 4
Theoretical Framework 9
Need for the Study 15
Purpose of the Study 16
Research Questions 17
Definition of Terms 18
Organization of the Study 22
2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 23
Theories of Parenting and Parenting Education Programs 23
Overview of Parenting Assessment Instrument Development 28
Relating Parenting to Family Background Characteristics 31
Relating Parenting to Parental Cognitive Level 40
Relating Parenting to the Nature of the Family Context 46
Conclusion 75
3 METHODOLOGY 78
Statement of the Purpose 78
Hypotheses 78
Design of the Study 80
vi

Description of the Population 82
Sampling Procedures 83
Subjects 84
Data Collection 85
Instrumentation 86
Data Analysis 100
4 RESULTS 102
Research Hypotheses 104
Summary 121
5 DISCUSSION 122
Discussion of the Results 122
Limitations of the Study 132
Suggestions for Future Research 133
Implications of the Study 134
Summary and Conclusions 135
APPENDICES
A DEMOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW SCHEDULE 136
B PARENTING PREFERENCES INVENTORY 138
C LETTER 141
D TELEPHONE CONTACT 142
E INFORMED CONSENT 144
REFERENCES 145
vii
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
167

LIST OF TABLES
Table page
1. Defining features, strengths, and limitations of family paradigms 12
2. Parenting instruments 32
3. Sample means and standard deviations of dependent variables by race and
educational level 103
4. Analysis of variance to assess differences in family paradigmatic preference
due to mother's educational level 105
5. Analysis of variance to assess differences in family paradigmatic preference
due to mother's race 107
6. Regression analysis to assess the difference in level of verbal interaction
due to family paradigmatic preference 109
7. Regression analysis to assess the difference in level of behavioral interaction
due to family paradigmatic preference Ill
8. Regression analysis to assess the frequency of democratic family-management
style due to family paradigmatic preference 113
9. Regression analysis to assess the frequency of laissez-faire family-management
style due to family paradigmatic preference 115
10. Regression analysis to assess the frequency of authoritarian family-management
style due to family paradigmatic preference 117
11 Regression analysis to assess the frequency with which mothers use
person-centered communication due to family paradigmatic preference 119
Vlll

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
FAMILY PARADIGMATIC PREFERENCES AND CHILDREARING PRACTICES
OF
MOTHERS DIFFERING BY RACE AND EDUCATIONAL LEVEL
By
Theresa Thweatt Rulien
May, 1997
Chairperson: Dr. Ellen Amatea
Major Department: Counselor Education
Family paradigmatic theory was utilized, in this study, as a framework for
exploring and attempting to understand the differences in childrearing attitudes and
practices of mothers differing in race and educational level. First, the author proposed to
examine empirically the family paradigmatic preferences of women who were mothers of
at least one elementary school aged child. Second, the author compared the childrearing
practices and style of parent-child communication of mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference. Third, the author investigated the frequency with which mothers
differing in educational level and race were characterized by differing family paradigmatic
preferences.
IX

The purpose of this descriptive comparative study was to determine whether
women differing in terms of their family paradigmatic preference would differ in their
parenting practices and parent-child communication. The sample consisted of 57 mothers
representing four separate groups divided by educational level and race. Interviews were
conducted with each of the mothers and consisted of the collection of demographic
information as well as administration of four different instruments assessing (a)
parent-child communication; (b) family-management style; (c) family paradigmatic
preference; and (d) child-management values.
A series of chi-square analyses and a series of two-way analyses of variance were
conducted to determine the frequency with which mothers differing by educational level
and race chose each of the four family paradigms. A series of regression analyses were
conducted to determine the effect of family paradigmatic preference on child-management
values, family-management style, and child-centered communication.
No significant differences in family paradigmatic preference based on mothers' race
or educational level were found. No significant differences were found in
child-management values nor for levels of child-centered communication for mothers
differing in family paradigmatic preference. A significant difference was found for
mothers describing an open family paradigm and reporting a preference for a democratic
x

family-management style, however, no significant differences were found for the other
family paradigms or family-management styles.
Implications and suggestions for future research were discussed in concluding this
study.
xi

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Assisting parents in learning how to parent their children more effectively has been
proposed as a viable solution to many of the social problems facing contemporary
America (Alexander, Barton, Schiavo, & Parsons, 1976; Gordon & Davidson, 1981;
Graziano, 1986; Klein, Alexander, & Parsons, 1977; Levant, 1983a; Levant, 1983b;
Robin, Kent, O'Leary, Foster, & Prinz, 1977). Whether it be in response to the problem
of child neglect or abuse, to the rising tide of violence in schools, to the increase in
juvenile crime and homicide, or to relatively normal "rebellion," improving parents'
abilities to effectively rear their children has been viewed as an important step toward
preventing social problems. But what style of childrearing and image of family life should
be promoted in these parenting interventions?
Despite attempts to rethink "the family" as a social form and to dispel the myths
and monolithic view of contemporary family life, relatively little research exists that
focuses on the complexity and diversity of parenting beliefs and experiences or the
pervasive impact of culture or class in shaping these beliefs. Instead most social scientists
who have conceptualized and assessed childrearing/parenting practices and values have
often conceptualized a continuum of "good" to"bad" (or functional to dysfunctional)
1

2
childrearing practices and values and have built assessment instruments that describe and
evaluate parental behavior in terms of these types of continnua. Implicit in these
researchers' (Dinkmeyer & McKay, 1976; Dreikurs & Soltz, 1964; Gordon, 1970, 1976;
Graziano, 1983; Levant, 1983a; Levant, 1983b; Moreland, Schwebel, Beck, & Wells,
1982; Popkin, 1983; and Robin, 1981) conceptualizations of parenting is the assumption
that there is one optimal way to parent children and that deviations from this favored style
represent less than adequate parenting. But could there be more than one way to
effectively rear children? How might the nuances of culture, ethnicity, or class impact
parents' beliefs about how families should be organized and childrearing practiced? Might
there be different images or paradigms of family life preferred by parents of varying racial
or educational backgrounds? Could there be a relationship between the ways parents
report preferring to rear their children and their ideas about how their family life should be
structured9
Although the impact of differing cultural, ethnic, and educational influences on the
lives of families is beginning to be acknowledged, most researchers examining childrearing
practices of parents differing by race and educational level have viewed any deviations
from a proposed norm as a sign of deficit rather than as evidence of legitimately different
styles of parenting shaped by different sociocultural traditions and contexts (Constantine,
1986, 1993; Fantini & Cardenas, 1980; Fine & Henry, 1989; Minuchin, 1974). Thus much

3
is known about how members of various sociocultural groups differ from the white,
middle class standard of childrearing explicated in current childrearing theories, but
relatively little is known about how these individuals effectively rear their children to be
contributing members of society (Belsky, 1984; Bronfenbrenner, 1977; Goodnow, 1985;
Nwachuku & Ivey, 1991).
How can the childrearing practices and values of parents living in distinctively
different sociocultural contexts be explored? Might there be different images or
paradigms of family life preferred by parents of varying racial or educational backgrounds?
If it can be assumed that each sociocultural group offers to its members a sense of identity,
direction, and explanation for the world around them and that such explanations may lead
to the development of different processes for creating meaning in life, it may be found that
members of different sociocultural groups hold different images or paradigms of family
life. Could there be a relationship between the way parents report preferring to rear their
children and their ideas about how their family life should be structured? In this study
these questions were addressed by examining whether mothers' general beliefs about how
families should be organized were associated with certain childrearing practices and
interactional competencies, and determining whether such beliefs about family life
occurred more frequently within mothers of certain racial or educational backgrounds.
While it is certainly important to understand the preferences of all family members, the

4
author focused exclusively on the paradigmatic preferences of mothers as an initial step in
studying the relationship between childrearing practices and family image.
Scope of the Problem
Childrearing practices have been questioned, debated, and obsessed upon by social
scientists, educators and community leaders for over half a century (Carlson, 1985). As
social institutions in the United States (e g., day care and the schools) assume greater
responsibility for childrearing, increasing attention is being paid to determining what might
be the best way to rear children to be successful in society. Hand-in-hand with the
increase in institutional involvement in childrearing has come the recognition that there are
conflicting points of view as to how best to rear a child (Carlson, 1985, Dembo, Sweitzer,
& Lauritizen, 1985; Gfellner, 1990). It is becoming increasingly evident that different
subgroups of society, each operating with their own set of values, rules and expectations,
may each have their own ideas about the "correct way" to rear a child (Ivey, 1988; Strom,
Griswold, & Slaughter, 1981).
Is there only one correct method? This question has been raised only recently in
designing research and interventions on childrearing. Embracing the perspective that there
was a single correct way to rear a child, researchers in the 1960s and 1970s often
conceptualized parenting styles in terms of unidimensional constructs: love versus
hostility or autonomy versus control (Baumrind, 1967, 1971, 1972; Becker, 1964; Kegan

5
& Moss, 1962; Maccoby & Martin, 1983; Schaefer, 1961; Sears, Maccoby & Levin,
1957). Baumrind (1967, 1971, 1972), for example, identified three basic styles of
childrearing: authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative. According to Baumrind,
authoritative parents produce competent, well-adjusted children with high self-esteem
through clear, open communication. They also encourage independence while setting
age-appropriate limits. The authoritarian style, based on dominating control, was found to
be associated with poor social development and adjustment in children and adolescents
(Lau, Cheung, Cheung, Lew, & Berndt, 1990). In this study, children perceived an
increase in parental warmth and family harmony with a decrease in dominating control.
In the 1980s and 1990s with the growth of the family therapy movement, efforts
shifted to identifying how families function in rearing children. Attention has broadened to
examine how a family, not just a parent, might structure themselves to conduct
childrearing functions. Thus, the need for family communication, clarity of generational
boundaries, and unity in parental decisionmaking was emphasized (Minuchin, 1974;
Minuchin & Fishman, 1981; Satir, 1972). In addition, different models of healthy family
functioning were proposed by family systems theorists (Beavers & Hampson, 1990; Olson,
Portner & Bell, 1982, Stinnert & DeFrain, 1989). However, inherent in many of these
family models was a continuum from healthy to pathological; there were right versus
wrong ways of organizing as a family and rearing children.

6
In recent years, a second perspective for conceptualizing childrearing practices has
emerged which focuses on parents' cognitive processes. Intrigued by questions such as
"How do parents decide how they will rear their children?" and "What factors shape their
personal 'theory of childrearing'?", researchers operating from this newer perspective seek
to determine whether the very nature of adult cognitions shapes the ways parents respond
to their children and the task of parenting. A key assumption underlying this research is
that parents do not merely react to a particular child's actions in a situation, but that
numerous previous interactions and knowledge about the child are cognitively structured
and thus influence the manner in which the parent interprets and reacts to the situation
(Dekovic & Gerris, 1992). Parents organize their actions depending on the goals they
hope to achieve, supporting the idea that parental behavior is not merely reactive (Dix &
Grusec, 1985; Goodnow, 1985; Miller, 1988; Sigel, 1985). For example, Dekovic and
Gerris (1992) found, in their study of parental reasoning and childrearing behaviors, that
parental reasoning complexity made an independent contribution to parental behavior
beyond the contribution of social class or educational level.
This increased interest in studying childrearing from a cognitive perspective has
resulted in the development of a variety of different cognitive theories which explain the
cognitive development of adults (Ivey, 1991, Kohlberg, 1969; Loevinger, 1980).
Cognitive developmental hierarchies have been constructed on the basis of both the

7
content and the structure of thinking regarding childrearing tasks. The associations
among the structure of parental beliefs and parental communication characteristics
(Applegate, Burleson, Burke, Delia & Kline, 1985), parental concepts of child
development (Sameroff & Feil, 1985), parent-child relationships (Newberger, 1980), and
parental behaviors (Dekovic & Gerris, 1992) have been examined. However, these
models of parental reasoning complexity, with their emphases on developmental
hierarchies and low to high levels of cognitive complexity, still have an inherent "right
versus wrong" quality to their descriptions of parental thinking.
Recently, the need for understanding and appreciating the diversity in childrearing
practices of individuals has resulted in a third approach to exploring parents' ideas about
childrearing. This perspective focuses on understanding the world view of the parent. It
underscores the normalcy of differing modes of childrearing which evolve as a result of a
parent's social context, family organization, and cultural heritage. Based on the premise
that there is more than one way to effectively rear children, this approach seeks to
determine whether different childrearing practices are associated with particular normative
assumptions, world views and frames of reference. This conceptual approach is illustrated
by the thinking of Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger and Tarule (1986):
Our basic assumptions about the nature of truth and reality and the origins of
knowledge shape the way we see the world and ourselves as participants in it.
They affect our definitions of ourselves, the way we interact with others, our
public and private personae, our sense of control over life events, our views of
teaching and learning, and our conceptions of morality, (pg. 3).
A

8
Childrearing is, in itself, a cultural activity. Cultural and economic factors are at
work in a child's life from the act of conception to the pregnancy and its associated
customs to the birth ritual. How might the impact on parents' thinking of the cultural
perspective be examined? Such a conceptualization of parenting would require that
researchers go beyond examining mother-child interaction and consider wider familial and
cultural variables (Belsky, 1980; Hinde, 1979; LeVine, 1980; Patterson, 1982). Cultures
and communities deliver many messages about parenting. Bronfenbrenner (1977) pointed
out the importance of the broader community or macrosystem in setting the normative
cultural standards about childrearing through advice from relatives and experts or through
role modeling and witnessing interactions of other families. Goodnow (1985) suggested
that culture is the primary source of information about the facts of childrearing including
what children are like at different ages, what parenting techniques work, and what goals
parents should value. Some researchers have extended this investigation to say that what
parents think is important, guides or influences choices. Therefore, to define an effective
parent requires some notion of the goals of parenting promoted in a specific cultural
context (Gordon, 1980). Whether it be due to environmental risks or occupational and
societal roles it has become increasingly evident that differing cultural perspectives have
implications in the childrearing practices of parents.

9
Mother's race and educational level were selected as the independent variables for
this study based on this review of the literature. A preliminary survey was conducted
using social class as one of the independent variables, but it was determined that level of
education provided a clearer picture of the mother's status level. Using Hollingshead's
Four Factor Index of Social Status (1975) social class showed evidence of inconsistent
categorizations due to the occupational level not necessarily correlating with the level of
education.
Although this third perspective holds much promise for identifying the diverse
ways in which parents might effectively rear their young, there has been only limited
research exploring how a parent's view of family life is influenced by their cultural (i .e.,
racial) and educational status, and how this view of family life affects their childrearing
practice.
Theoretical Framework
A number of different typologies of family life have been proposed by family
theorists to describe the diverse ways in which families organize themselves, structure
their interactions, and give meaning to their lives together (Beavers, 1981; Olson,
Sprenkle, & Russell, 1979). These typologies have been used to classify families in terms
of a wide variety of characteristics (eg., structural patterns, degrees of functionality or
dysfunction, or patterns of communication). Constantine's (1986) theory of family

10
paradigms was chosen for this study because it is more inclusive than many existing family
typologies, it includes all internal aspects of family life, including structural, psychological
and philosophical contexts, and it provides an integrative framework for understanding the
diverse ways in which families might organize themselves and function successfully.
Basing his paradigmatic model on Reiss' (1981) notion of the family paradigm,
Constantine (1993) described family paradigms as stable, implicit, overarching guides to
family life which consist of the family's repertoire of understandings, shared assumptions,
and traditions. He stated:
The paradigmatic framework encompasses three central ideas: (a) there is more
than one way that families can organize themselves and function effectively; (b)
families can be understood at more than one level of analysis; and (c) there are
relationships between how families construct their realities and how they function
and are organized (pg. 46).
Although the typology is conceptual, it is grounded in research and agrees with other
empirically based models (Constantine, 1980, 1983). Its practical value also has been
demonstrated in marriage and family therapy (Budd, 1990; Burr, Day & Bahr, 1989;
Constantine, 1986, 1987; Constantine & Israel, 1985; Nugent & Constantine, 1988). The
family paradigm framework distinguishes three levels of analysis by which families can be
characterized: (a) paradigm (world view, model); (b) regime (organization, structure);
and (c) process (behavior, interaction) Paradigms are reflected in process through
regimes, the regulatory mechanisms that generate patterned collective behavior. The
paradigm is the most abstract level and most difficult to assess; process is the most

11
concrete and most easily accessed. The regime is the means by which the paradigm,
unobservable in itself, can be translated into observable behavior (Constantine, 1986).
According to Constantine, a paradigm is both a model and a world view, not only
representing a family's values and ideals, but a construed reality of family and social
relationships (Reiss, 1981). Thus, each family paradigm includes distinct approaches to
the resolution of fundamental issues of family life such as the relative value given to
stability versus change or the relative priority given individual versus the collective needs
of family members. These variations in family values and family structure not only
influence the relative value placed on childrearing in a family but also shape the distinctive
ways in which childrearing is conducted by different family members. Different paradigms
produce different perceptions and practices about childrearing.
Constantine (1986) described four distinctively different family paradigms: the
closed, the random, the open, and the synchronous. The defining features of each
paradigm are depicted in Table 1. The closed paradigm personifies the stable, secure
family which relies on traditional authority and conformity to its norms to assure
continuation of established family patterns. The closed family has a fixed, authoritarian,
and hierarchical structure. Familial boundaries are closed and controlled, and roles are
assigned and strongly emphasized. Truth is perceived as being absolute and permanent.

Table 1
Defining Features. Strengths, and Limitations of Family Paradigms
CLOSED/
TRADITIONAL
RANDOM/
INDIVIDUALISTIC
OPEN/
COLLABORATIVE
SYNCHRONOUS/
SERENE
INDIVIDUAL
AND FAMILY
Promotes dependence;
loyalty,subordination to
group
Promotes counter-dependence;
independence from group
Promotes flexible
interdependence; admixture of
dependent, independent
Promotes "non-dependence;"
parallel independent
functioning
AUTONOMOUS
ACTION
Relatively low, limited
support except when
regulated by rules
Relatively high, actively
promotes "separate solutions"
Relatively high with dependency
allowed, favors collaborative
action
Relatively high, favors compatible
independent action
PARENTING
Authoritarian, restrictive
explicit expectations of
obedience and conformity,
encourage dependence
Laissez-faire, permissive, free
individual expression, discourage
dependence
Democratic, children as respected
partners, promotes cooperation
and responsibility through open
communication
Perfectionistic, high but implicit
expectations, indirect control,
promotes identification
STABILITY
AND CHANGE
Builds stability
Creates change
Generates flexibility; combines
stability and change
Timelessness
DECISION
MAKING
Based in authority, tradition;
commands, directions passed
Based in originality; spontaneity;
autonomous actions
Based in consensus; open
communication; negotiation
Based in tacit agreement, mutual
identification; automatic
POWER
AND CONTROL
Hierarchy, fixed roles
Anarchic, egalitarian,
independent solutions
Mutual collaboration, joint
solutions
Indirect or covert, implied
understandings
PROVIDES
Security, belonging
Freedom, variety
Emotional support, adaptiveness
Tranquility
PROMOTES
Conformity, loyalty
Individuality, independence
Mutuality, cooperation
Harmonious identification
MAY SACRIFICE
Individuality, variety
Security, stability
Tranquility
Emotional support, involvement
PROBABLE
Rigidity, over-involvement
Chaos, under-involvement
Chaos, over-involvement
Rigidity, under-involvement
DIRECTION OF
FAILURE
(Adapted from Constantine 1986, 1988; Amatea, Brown, & Cluxton, 1992)

13
The closed family is, in essence, the traditional American family. Family and family
identity are primary with individual needs met through loyalty and service to the family.
The random paradigm is the antithesis of the closed. In this family paradigm the
structure is changing and egalitarian. Roles are unassigned and undifferentiated,
boundaries are open, uncontrolled and erratic. For the random family, change, freedom
and individuality are of utmost importance. Truth is considered to be relative, transient,
and personal. Members of such families favor change, novelty, and originality over
stability and tradition. The individual is primary with the structure stressing creative
individuality and egalitarian autonomy. The collective family needs are met through
cooperative individual initiative and inventiveness.
The open paradigm presents a modem, communication-oriented, democratic
family. Structure in this family is adaptive and heterarchical; roles are alternated and
shared. Boundaries are defined, yet permeable and flexible. There is a balance between
stability and change and between individuality and group needs. Process is valued most
highly by this family Truth is pragmatic; while some tmths are absolute, many are
relative. It attempts to achieve flexibility that integrates change with stability, and to
incorporate the needs and interests of the individuals with those of the family as a unit.
This attempt to synthesize the opposing values and approaches of the closed and random
paradigms is achieved through a collaborative process of consensual negotiation, elevating

14
communication to a high art Both stability and change are valued insofar as they enhance
the family's ability to solve problems and adapt to challenges (Constantine, 1988).
The synchronous paradigm, the antithesis of the open paradigm, blueprints a quiet,
harmonious family relying on tacit understanding and unstated rules rather than utilizing
communication and negotiation. Roles are static and implicitly understood rather than
assigned. Boundaries are rigidly defined, but not actively controlled. The synchronous
family emphasizes neither change nor stability. Group concerns transcend individual
needs. Truth is viewed as enduring and eternal. These families seek a perfection in which
no one needs to be told what to do. Fairly uncommon in the United States (Budd, 1990;
Constantine & Israel, 1985), the synchronous paradigm appears more frequently in Japan
and other Asian countries and is a recognized form of organization manifest in Japanese
management style (Constantine, 1991; Oichi, 1981).
Constantine's paradigms are based on family strengths and he, like Olson and his
colleagues (1983), has made the assumption that any family paradigm is workable if
affirmed and desired by family members. Constantine (1986, 1993) also has
acknowledged that relatively few families are paradigmatically pure, that is, totally closed,
completely random, absolutely open, or completely synchronous. However, families can
be characterized as being more closely related to one paradigm than the other three, for
example, more synchronous than open, random, or closed. Consequently, it was assumed

15
in this study that (a) the family's paradigm would influence the style of childrearing
implemented; (b) there would be a variety of different acceptable patterns of childrearing
demonstrated just as there are a variety of different acceptable family paradigms available;
and (c) the types of interactional skills developed by parents would be related to the type
of family paradigm valued.
Need for the Study
Because most research on childrearing practices and attitudes among individuals of
varying ethnic and economic groups has focused on examining differences from one
valued standard of childrearing practice, very little is known as to whether there are
predictable differences among parents in different sociocultural contexts concerning how
they think family life should be structured. Even less is known as to whether these
differing paradigms of family life are related to specific childrearing practices and
competencies.
Family paradigmatic theory posits that how one thinks is considered to be critical
in the development of specific types of parent-child interaction. Thus, gaining an
understanding of a parent's family paradigmatic preference seems extremely relevant to
understanding parents' ideas about and practices of childrearing. Further exploration of
parental differences in family paradigmatic preference is needed to increase understanding
of the wide variety of responses parents have to the task of rearing children. Not only

16
would information regarding family life and childrearing preferences be useful in
understanding why parents function the way they do, it would also be quite useful in
designing more attractive and effective interventions for them.
Purpose of the Study
In this study, family paradigmatic theory was utilized as a framework for exploring and
attempting to understand the differences in childrearing attitudes and practices of mothers
differing in race and educational level. According to family paradigmatic theory, a parent's
beliefs and behaviors are shaped by a larger set of unifying beliefs about family life that
guide action in implementing specific family roles and tasks. As a result, how parents
think the family should operate will influence how they expect their child should function,
how they think they should interact with their child, and what specific parent-child
interactional competencies they develop.
Given the relative lack of knowledge about whether a distinctive sociocultural
context may result in a particular family paradigm preference that may, in turn, result in
the valuing of particular child behaviors and parenting attitudes and practices, and the
potential of the family paradigmatic theory to identify a variety of different equally viable
childrearing philosophies, the purpose of this study was three fold. First, the author
proposed to examine empirically the family paradigmatic preferences of women who were
mothers of at least one elementary school aged child. While paradigmatic choice is a

17
function of a mother's parenting experience, so that having more than one child could
presumably affect her preference, this author focused on the effects of educational level
and race as an initial step. Second, the author compared the childrearing practices and
style of parent-child communication of mothers differing in family paradigmatic
preference. Third, the author investigated the frequency with which mothers differing in
educational level and race were characterized by differing family paradigmatic preferences.
Research Questions
The following research questions were posed in this study:
1. What are the differences in family paradigm preferences of mothers belonging
to lower and higher educational levels?
2. What are the differences in family paradigm preferences of mothers belonging
to Black African American and White Anglo American racial groups?
3. After adjusting for educational level and race, what are the differences in
child-management values demonstrated by mothers differing in family paradigm
preferences?
4. After adjusting for educational level and race, what are the differences in
family management styles demonstrated by mothers differing in family paradigm
preferences?

18
5. After adjusting for educational level and race, what are the differences in
levels of child-centered communication demonstrated by mothers differing in family
paradigm preferences?
Definition of Terms
For the purpose of this study, key constructs and terms were defined as follows:
Child-management value is defined as the sense of importance attributed by the
mother to the two variables: level of behavioral interaction and involvement, and level of
parent verbal interaction and encouragement of expressiveness. It was measured by the
Parenting Preferences Inventory.
Level of parent behavioral interaction and involvement is defined as the degree of
parental "hands-on" involvement in the day to day decision making and teaching of the
child as measured by the Parenting Preferences Inventory.
Level of parent verbal interaction and encouragement of expressiveness is defined
as the degree to which the mother encourages verbal interaction between herself and her
child to elicit expression of thoughts and feelings as measured by the Parenting
Preferences Inventory.
Race reflects self-identification and, following the guidelines of the U S. Census
Bureau, "does not denote any clear-cut scientific definition of biological stock." The
categories of race used for purposes of census include both racial and national origin or

19
sociocultural groups as well as providing standards on ethnicity. For the purposes of the
present study, categories were limited to either Black African American or White Anglo
American.
Black African American is defined as a mother of African descent and at least a
second generation citizen of the United States.
White Anglo American is defined as a Caucasian mother and at least a second
generation citizen of the United States.
Family paradigm is the stable, implicit, overarching guide to family life that
consists of the family members' repertoire of understandings, shared assumptions, and
traditions. It was measured by the Family Regime Assessment Scale (Imig & Phillips,
1992) and resulted in a classification of either closed, random, open, or synchronous
family paradigm.
Closed family paradigm personifies the stable, secure family, relying on traditional
authority and conformity to its norms to assure continuation of established family patterns.
Roles are differentiated and boundaries controlled. It is one of the classifications
established by the Family Regime Assessment Scale.
Random family paradigm encourages change, freedom, and individuality with roles
unassigned and undifferentiated, and structure changing and egalitarian. It is one of the
classificatons established by the Family Regime Assessment Scale.

20
Open family paradigm models a modem, communication-oriented, democratic
family with shared roles and defined, yet flexible boundaries. It is one of the classifications
established by the Family Regime Assessment Scale.
Synchronous family paradigm blueprints a quiet, harmonious family relying on tacit
understanding and unstated mies rather than utilizing communication and negotiation
Roles are static and boundaries rigidly defined, but not actively controlled. It is one of the
classifications established by the Family Regime Assessment Scale.
Regime is the organization or structure by which the paradigm can be translated
into observable behavior.
Child-centered communication refers to communication and strategies (both
regulative and comforting) used by the parent to give legitimacy to a child's feelings and
encourage the child to reflect on and reason through the nature and consequences of
his/her behavior. This variable was measured by the Person-Centered Communication
Assessment (Applegate, et al, 1985).
Educational level refers to the number of years of formal education a mother has
received, according to the categories used by Hollingshead (1975) in his index, and
resulted in a classification of lower and higher level education. Lower level consisted of
mothers with a high school education or less. Higher level consisted of mothers having
attended at least one year of college.

21
Family-management style is defined as the specific style a mother employs with
regards to orchestrating the day-to-day functioning of her family and will be categorized
as democratic, laissez-faire, or authoritarian. It was measured by the democratic,
laissez-faire, and authoritarian sub-scales of The Colorado Self-Report of Family
Functioning (Bloom, 1985).
Democratic family style denotes a family-management style encouraging
negotiation and communication, and is considered comparable to the open family
paradigm according to Constantine (1993). It was measured by the Democratic Family
Style sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report of Family Functioning (Bloom, 1985).
Laissez-faire family style denotes a family-management style that is externally
focused regarding control and values flexibility, and is considered comparable to the
random family paradigm according to Constantine (1993). It was measured by the
Laissez-Faire Family Style sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report of Family Functioning
(Bloom, 1985).
Authoritarian family style denotes a family-management style that values
organization, rigid boundaries, and clear rules, and is considered comparable to the closed
family paradigm according to Constantine (1993). It was measured by the Authoritarian
Family Style sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning
(Bloom, 1985).

22
Organization of the Study
A five chapter model is presented in this research study. In Chapter 2, the author
presents a review of the related literature. The methodology of the study is contained in
Chapter 3, while a presentation of the results of the statistical analysis of data are included
in Chapter 4. A discussion of the results, limitations of the study, and suggestions for
future research are included in Chapter 5.

CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
This chapter includes a brief review of the literature on parenting and childrearing
with an emphasis on examining how parenting has been conceptualized and measured.
Theories of childrearing or parenting are reviewed. Corresponding parent education
programs are examined as well as the assessment instruments employed to assess
parenting skills. Literature on contextual and racial differences in families and the
implications of such differences for childrearing practice are reviewed, as well as research
on family orientations.
The research on parenting has consistently depicted a "right versus wrong" mentality
of childrearing. This representation is noted in the range of theory development
supportive of one optimal and correct way for all parents. Parent education programs
support this conceptualization as well. Even related assessment instruments are often
designed in an evaluative manner due to the unidimensional conceptualization of parenting
described in these theories.
Theories of Parenting and Parenting Education Programs
There are numerous theories of parenting and parent education. They coincide with
and parallel the diverse theories of human interaction used in client therapy (Lamb and
23

24
Lamb, 1978). This review focuses on the three major theories used in parent education.
It was noted that they support many aspects of the images of family life proposed by
Constantine (1977, 1983, 1984a, 1984b, 1986, 1987, 1988).
Adlerian
The basic assumption of this model is that people are social beings and want to be
socialized. Behavior is seen as purposive and goal seeking. Cooperation, rather than
permissiveness, is needed between parents and children, and it is believed that children's
behavior is based on expectations. The goal of the Adlerian approach is to help parents
understand their childrento know how they think and to comprehend the motives for
their actions. The idea is to help parents improve the quality of the help they provide their
children and to assist them in relating more effectively to their children. Techniques of
parenting involve the use of natural and logical consequences as an alternative to powerful
control of the child, a democratic approach to parenting, an emphasis on the goals of
children's misbehavior and the use of the family council (Croake, 1983; Lamb & Lamb,
1978). Adlerian programs include Children the Challenge (Dreikurs & Soltz, 1964);
Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) (Dinkmeyer & McKay, 1976) and
Active Parenting (Popkin, 1983).
The Adlerian approach, with its emphasis on family democracy and the importance
of discussion by way of the family council, models the values of the open family paradigm.

25
Behavioral
The behavioral model is the most predominant model in use in the parent
education field (Lamb, 1986). The basic assumption within this model is that human
behavior results from learning, much of which comes from interaction with the
environment. Environmental change is therefore important. The goal is the assessment of
problem areas with regards to excesses, deficits, and maintenance. This implies social
value judgments. Techniques focus on increasing parental skills in influencing,
controlling, and directing children's behavior and development. This is done through
parents accepting responsibility for change in their children's behavior (Lamb & Lamb,
1978; Graziano, 1983; Levant, 1983a; Levant, 1983b). Instructions and procedures are
clearly defined in concrete terms with instructors modeling concepts and parents
role-playing. Communication skills are often emphasized in programs for families of
adolescents (Moreland, Schwebel, Beck & Wells, 1982; Robin, 1981).
The behavioral approach to parent education, with its use of techniques for
controlling and directing a child's behavior as well as the acceptance of responsibility by
the parents for that behavior, models the closed family paradigm.
Client-Centered / Humanistic
This approach, categorized as client-centered by Lamb and Lamb (1978) and
humanistic by L'Abate (1981) and Medway (1989), has as its basic assumptions that

26
people are basically good and will do the right thing, needing only support to make their
own choices. People are seen as responsible for their own decisions and are seen as
capable of changing. The goal of this approach is an increase in the expression of feelings
with a need for two-way communication. Few limits are placed on the child, due to the
belief that when children are accepted by their parents, their self-esteem/concept and
self-confidence will be high and they will be able to solve their own problems or
appropriately seek assistance. Techniques focus on the acceptance and reflection of
children's and parents' feelings to develop competent and well-adjusted children. The
child's behavior is affected through the parent-child interaction (Tavormina, 1980). The
Parent Effectiveness Training (PET) program (Gordon, 1970, 1976) is the most widely
known of the client-centered approaches and shows support for its use as a preventive
intervention (Cedar & Levant, 1990). The client-centered/humanistic approach to parent
education, with its focus on the expression of feelings and the importance of
communication, defines an open family paradigm.
While the three major theories in use in the parent education field appear to
support only two of the family paradigms proposed by Constantine, it should be noted that
the closed and open paradigms are the only images of family life that define themselves by
a value system capable of being taught by means of an educational program. Neither the
random paradigm, with its values on laissez-faire parenting and anarchic control, nor the

27
synchronous paradigm, with its promotion of implicit and unstated expectations, and
indirect and covert control, lend themselves to an educational or teaching model
With the increasing support and need for the effectiveness of parent education, the
consensus is that parent education should now be examined by techniques and their effects
(Lambert, Shapiro & Bergin, 1986, Medway, 1989). It has also been suggested that
research focus on: the limitations of parenting programs (Graziano, 1983; Lamb, 1986);
the interaction of factors such as parent characteristics (Gordon & Davidson, 1981;
Martin, 1980; O'Dell, 1974; Tavormina, 1980); developmental stages (Dembo et al, 1985;
Levant, 1983; O'Dell, 1974; Tavormina, 1980); styles of parenting (Fine & Henry, 1989;
Harman & Brim, 1980; Medway, 1989), and the impact of parenting programs on family
functioning (Gordon & Davidson, 1981; Fine & Henry, 1989; Moreland, Schwebel, Beck,
& Wells, 1982). But again, the attempts to actually organize parenting groups to fit the
characteristics and needs of the parents have been limited. And yet, the parent's stage in
the family life cycle is known to affect the parent's choice of techniques (Carter &
McGoldrick, 1988) and that levels of parental flexibility and tolerance impact the parent's
ability to recognize a need for change (Tavormina, 1980). The impact of the program, as
well, was found to be dependent on parental beliefs, values, personal experiences and
expectations (Dembo et al, 1980). In an attempt to determine the superiority of model
type, Dembo, Sweitzer, and Lauritzen (1985) examined five comparison studies, but drew

28
no definite conclusions nor were they able to determine which type of program was best
suited to a particular type of parent. Matching the type of program with the goals, needs
and characteristics of parents might increase program efficiency (Fine & Henry, 1989;
Tavormina, 1980). Therefore, a clearer understanding of the manner in which parents'
beliefs about family life influence the acquisition of parenting skills would be helpful. An
understanding of a parent's beliefs regarding family power, authority, roles,
communication, and views on stability and adaptability might increase the positive
outcome of parent education programs, by matching parents to groups that would fit their
beliefs and images of family life.
Overview of Parenting Assessment Instrument Development
Most parenting assessment instruments have been developed to assess the type of
knowledge or attitudes emphasized within a specific theoretical orientation. The optimal
method of parenting is usually inferred.
The first parenthood instrument was developed in 1899 by Charles Sears. This
was a survey to assess adult's attitudes toward punishment. Although a few instruments
were developed in the intervening years, it was not until the 1930s that a wide array of
instruments began to appear, designed to assess a wide range of constructs and variables
related to parenthood Sigmund Freud's theory of psychosexual stage development
provided a major stimulus for understanding the role of parents in the development of

29
children's personalities. His ideas regarding these stages and the potential for fixations
encouraged exploration in research into the role parents play in their children's
development. His contributions did not actually spell out the impact of parents, but
consisted in outlining some of the human dynamics which operate. Individuals such as
Ernst Jones and Karen Homey began filling in Freud's outline (Holden, 1990).
Freud's work was influential in prompting physicians to become more attentive to
parents and their childrearing practices. The impact of the family environment became an
area of interest for study. This translated into research, by Allport, in efforts to study the
construct of attitudes (Holden, 1990). This was the origin of the parental childrearing
attitude questionnaires, as it was believed that the family atmosphere to which the child
was exposed could be assessed by the parental attitudes. This model of parent-child
interaction was simple, but inaccurate. Parental behavior was determined by assessing
parental attitudes due to the (misconception) that parental behavior was simply a direct
reflection of global attitudes of warmth, control, or punitiveness (Holden, 1990).
Some investigators, such as Koch, did not subscribe to such assumptions and
began recognizing the problems in the accuracy of the assessments (Holden, 1990). Other
researchers recognized that children's perceptions were also important. A number of
instruments assessing children's perceptions of their parents were available by the end of
the 1930s (cited in Holden, 1990).

30
The bidirectionality and interplay of parent-child relations is now well
acknowledged (Bell & Harper, 1977 cited in Holden, 1990) as well as more complex
conceptualizations including transactional and systems theories. Belsky (1984) has
proposed that rather than viewing parenting as being guided by only one variable, the
influence may be due to a complex interplay among the individual's developmental history,
marital relations, work status, social network, and child characteristics in addition to the
parent's attitudes and personality. Although these variables have been shown to impact a
parent's childrearing ability as well as techniques (Dekovic & Gerris, 1992; Dix, 1991;
Simons, Whitbeck, Conger, & Chyi-In, 1991; Trickett, Aber, Carlson, & Cicchetti, 1991)
it seems imperative to consider the overall interaction of these and other variables that
define a family's image of themselves. According to Constantine (1986), a family's
definition of themselves not only involves their demographic description, but also the
value they place on the importance of member interaction, stability, autonomy, and
control. If a family's self-perception or paradigm defines their sense of self then a portion
of that image would include childrearing values. However, of the literature reviewed,
there was no indication of parenting being studied from a family image perspective nor
were any instruments located which assessed family paradigm in relation to parenting
preferences.

31
Table 2 depicts the seven categories of parenting instruments used as the basis for
reviewing the evolution of the conceptualization of parenting and its assessment by the
Handbook of Family Measurement Techniques (Touliatos, Perlmutter & Strauss, 1990). A
total of 204 parenthood instruments, developed from 1936 through 1974, were abstracted
in Straus (1969) and in Straus and Brown (1978) as referenced in Touliatos and associates
(1990).
Relating Parenting to Family Background Characteristics
When examining a family and determining their organization, it appears helpful to
examine family background characteristics (i.e. social status, parent educational level,
marital status, and gender). This is the first perspective taken in studying parenting style.
Based on family demographics it conceptualizes a "right vs. wrong" ideal of parenting.
Social Class
Social class has been a popular means of studying differences in parenting styles.
Prior to the 1980s, most efforts to explain why parents rear their children as they do
focused on social class (Belsky, 1990). Researchers report that parents of differing social
status demonstrate different value systems, levels of interaction, and childrearing
techniques (Heifer & Kelley, 1987; Hess & Shipman, 1972; Schaefer & Edgerton, 1985,
Segal in Sigel, 1985; Simons, Whitbeck, Conger, & Chyi-In, 1991; Strom, Griswold &
Slaughter, 1981; Trickett, Aber, Carlson, & Cicchetti, 1991; Zegiob & Forehand, 1978).

Table 2
Parenting Instalments
CATEGORIES
Parental Social Cognition and Behavior
Parent-Child Relationships
Home Environment
Marital Relations and the Transition
to Parenthood
Parental Self-Perceptions
Particular Target Groups
Miscellaneous Instruments
ASSESSES
attitudes toward childrearing and
subsequent parental practices
parent-child interactions and involvement
physical and social intellectually
stimulating aspects of the home
marital perceptions, reactions to the
transition to parenthood and family adjustment
parental thoughts and feelings as related
to the role of parent
adolescent issues and families at risk
for child abuse
ranges from parents' contraceptive knowledge
to children's preferences for rewards and
punishments to grandparent involvement
EXAMPLE
Parental Attitudes Toward
Childrearing
Family Decision-Making
Style Scale
Home Quality Rating
Scale
Parenthood Adjustment
Questionnaire
Parental Concern About
Child's Behavior Scale
Adult-Adolescent
Parenting Inventory
Grandparent Study
Interview Schedule

33
Many research findings indicated that parents from a lower socioeconomic class tend to
have poorer parenting skills and higher drop out rates and outcome levels related to parent
education programs than middle class parents (Clark & Baker, 1982; Dumas & Wahler,
1983; Furey & Basili, 1988; Johnson & Breckenridge, 1982; Trickett, et al, 1991; Wahler,
1980; Webster-Stratton, 1985). Due to this evidence, the appropriateness of existing
parent education programs for lower social class parents based on white middle-class
values has been questioned (Fine & Henry, 1989; Strom et al 1981).
Differences in parenting styles by social class noted in the literature depict
middle-class mothers as possessing an increased ability to positively communicate with
their children as compared to lower social status mothers (Strom et al, 1981), being more
tolerant (Maccoby & Gibbs, 1964), less controlling and more permissive, (Maccoby &
Gibbs, 1964; Strom et al, 1981), less directive (Sigel, 1982; Zegiob & Forehand, 1978)
and less severe in punishment (Heffer & Kelley, 1987; Maccoby & Gibbs, 1964; Strom et
al, 1981). Middle-class mothers seem more likely to use reasoning, psychological
methods of discipline, allow their children more freedom of choice and self-direction,
show egalitarian parenting styles, express positive affect toward their children, and
verbalize and support cognitive and academic growth (Gecas, 1979, Hess, 1970 both cited
in Patterson, DeBaryshe & Ramsey, 1989). Lower-class parents are more likely to use
physical discipline, be controlling of their child's behavior, exhibit authoritarian parenting

34
styles, and engage in less frequent verbal and cognitive stimulation. Further comparison
regarding social status and child abuse was found in the literature. Simons, Whitbeck,
Conger, and Chyi-In (1991) cited several studies including Bronffenbrenner, (1977);
Garbarino, (1976); Gil, (1970); Strauss and associates, (1980) which demonstrated a
significant association between low social status and maltreatment. They suggested two
means by which social class influences might correlate with parenting practices across
generations: (a) replication of low social class and accompanying stressors and life-style
(Burgess & Youngblade, 1988 referenced in Simons et al 1991) and (b) growing up in a
lower social class family may influence a parent's childrearing approach and accompanying
values regardless of the social status they achieved. Trickett, Aber, Carlson, and Cicchetti
(1991) also found similar results reporting that the higher the socioeconomic status the
lower the belief in authoritarian control techniques. They also reported that as stresses
associated with poverty decrease, the expressed enjoyment of parenting increases.
However, the expected relationship for each was not found for the abuse group studied.
They also reported social class as a significant predictor of cognitive maturity. For
example, middle-class parents are more concerned with motives and intentions of their
children's acts whereas working class parents are more concerned with the overt
consequences (Rubin, 1976).

35
Suggestions regarding working with low social class parents focus on
understanding concepts, verbal learning difficulties, training tactics, and participation,
(Fine and Henry 1989; O'Dell 1974; and Wyckoff 1980. Matarazzo and Patterson (1986)
found in their review of the literature that training effects were less well maintained in low
social status groups. It was found that parents of lower social class and with lower
education levels do better in parent education programs which minimized verbal learning
and which emphasized direct training techiniques (Salzinger, Feldman & Portnoy, 1970 as
cited in Matarazzo & Patterson, 1986; O'Dell, 1974). Many researchers indicated that
these same parents of low social class and educational levels are less likely to benefit from
parent education programs than parents of middle and upper social class and education
levels (Clark & Baker, 1982; Dumas & Wahler, 1983; O'Dell, O'Quin, Alford, O'Briant,
Bradlyn & Giefenhain, 1982; Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1990; Furey & Basili, 1988)
although there is some evidence to the contrary (Mira, 1970; Rogers, Forehand, Griest,
Wells & McMahon, 1981; Rose, 1974) Again, however, the emphasis is on the level of
parenting skills development with an implicit judgment that these differences (ie. lower
verbal skills, need for concrete directives and role modeling) are deficits and need to
somehow be corrected. The nature of the family's organization is not taken into account
(Constantine, 1986, 1993; Minuchin, 1974).

36
Educational Level
Research also focuses on the relationship between educational level and parenting
style preferences. Again, a level of judgment is involved. Childrearing values, goals and
behaviors are reported to be associated with parental educational level (Dekovic & Gerris,
1992; Schaefer & Edgerton, 1985; Segal, 1985). Poorer child management skills
(Patterson, Cobb & Ray, 1972) were determined to be related to lower levels of education
as was the quality of the home environment (Marjoribanks, 1991).
Simons, Whitbeck, Conger, and Chyi-In (1991) found that for both mothers and
fathers the level of education was negatively related to the harsh parenting of adolescent
males. Apparently parents of lower educational levels tend to utilize harsh discipline in
raising boys. The relationship was not found to hold true for girls, with physical
punishment apparently perceived as unnecessary or undesirable for parenting girls.
A positive correlation between parental reasoning complexity and educational level
was reported by Dekovic and Gerris (1992) which lends support to the findings of O'Dell
and associates (1982) that less educated parents have poorer outcomes in parent
education programs. As with socioeconomic level, it was determined that lower levels of
education related to decreased understanding of complex concepts, poor attendance and
decreased participation (Wyckoff, 1980; Mattarazzo & Patterson, 1986) as well as
J

37
difficulty with verbal learning expectations rather than direct training methods (Fine &
Henry, 1989; O'Dell, 1974).
Gender of Parents
Research studies support the idea that parenting beliefs, values, and style differ
depending on the gender of the parent (Cohen, Dibble & Grawe, 1977a, 1977b; Gilligan,
1982; Simons, Whitbeck, Conger & Melby, 1990; Simons, Whitbeck, Conger & Chyi-In,
1991; Goetting 1986 cited in Pittman, Wright & Lloyd, 1989). Mothers tend to be more
child oriented than fathers. According to Chodorow (as cited in Gilligan 1982) girls
experience themselves as like their mothers, thus fusing the experience of attachment with
the process of identity formation. They, therefore, emerge from this period with a basis
for empathy built into their primary definition of self, and with a stronger basis for
experiencing another's needs or feelings as one's own. Because they are parented by a
person of the same gender, girls come to experience themselves as less differentiated and
more continuous with and related to the external world. Mothers demonstrate a love
arising neither from separation nor from a feeling of being at one with the external world,
but rather from a feeling of connection; a primary bond between other and self (Freud,
1930 cited in Gilligan, 1982).
Conversely, boys define themselves by separating their mothers from themselves,
thus curtailing their primary love and empathic tie. They emerge more differentiated

38
(Chodorow, 1974 cited in Gilligan, 1982). Contrasting views were reported by Eisenberg
and Lennon (1983), Kohlberg (1984) and Walker (1984) found in research edited by
Gilligan, Ward and Taylor with Bardige (1988) in which they reported finding no evidence
of sex differences in empathy or moral reasoning, but perhaps in moral behavior.
Reisinger (1982) found that fathers tend to be more consistent in their child
management style than mothers. Likewise, the major determinant of child behavior in
mothers trying to gain situational compliance, is maternal strategy (Lytton, 1980,
Maccoby & Martin, 1983, both cited in Dowdney & Pickles, 1991). Negative and
inconsistent mothers are likely to engender negativity in their children.
"As long as the biological function of becoming a mother was thought to endow a
woman with the requisite knowledge and ability, no professional training was considered
necessary for her new responsibilities..." (Fitz-Simons, 1935). Positive characteristics of
the mothers were consistently related to higher quality home environment (Luster &
Dubow, 1990). With regards to parent education programs, highly educated women were
more likely than women with little education to prepare for parenthood with books and
courses (Simons, Whitbeck, Conger & Melby, 1990). Education level had no effect on
the parenting styles of fathers, who were no more likely to acquire information on proper
parenting if highly educated than if not. In the same study it was also determined that
individualistic value commitments were associated with a woman's use of destructive

39
parenting practices, (coercion and hostility), while a man committed to such a value
orientation could simply disengage from the parenting process. Compared to mothers,
fathers have a great deal of cultural license regarding the manner in which they play the
parenting role and so are more likely to engage in nurturing activities when they believe
that such behaviors will make an important difference in the life of the child (Simons et al
1990). McBride (1990) determined in his review of the literature, that the degree of
paternal involvement is related to the father's perceived sense of competence rather than
his level of skill and knowledge. There was also some indication that patterns of fathering
were more systematically related to patterns of marital interaction and satisfaction than
was mothering (Belsky, Gilstrap & Rovine, 1984; Goldberg & Easterbrooks, 1984 both
cited in Belsky 1990).
Marital Status
Research supports that marital relations influence the quality of parenting (Belsky,
1981, 1990; Dix, 1991). Segal (1985) found that obedience and sibling competition
tended to occur more frequently in single-parent families. Members of these families also
tended to suffer from social isolation, social status disadvantage and high levels of
negative stress (Blechman, 1982).
Parents attempting to raise their children with little to no support from a partner,
whether separated or together, reported having more difficulty than parents who were

40
supportive of each other (Belsky, 1981; 1990; Gordon & Davidson, 1981; Marr &
Kennedy, 1980; Simons et al, 1990). Leifer and Smith (1990) indicated that mothers who
were able to break the abusive cycle were more likely to have established emotionally
supportive relationships during childhood and/or with a current mate or to have
participated in therapy.
With regards to parent education, Webster-Stratton (1985) reported evidence of
lower success rates for single-parent families. Horton (cited in Coplin & Houts 1991)
stated that if parents do not attend together, the non-attending parent will adopt the new
strategies if the initial strategies are similar However, if one parent opposes the change,
new skills can be undermined (Forehand & McMahon, 1981).
The sample in the present study is grouped by race and educational level.
Although the literature noted a difference in middle-class parenting techniques and values,
(Hefifer & Kelley, 1987; Maccoby & Gibbs, 1964; Sigel, 1982; Strom et al, 1981) this
investigator proposed that it is the family's image and definition of itself, encompassing
race and educational level, but also involving issues of control, stability, interaction, and
autonomy that actually influences the parenting preferences.
Relating Parenting to Parental Cognitive Level
The exclusive interest among developmental psychologists in the influence of overt
parenting practices and behaviors on child development has given way, in recent
years, to a broader interest in the experience of parenting. After nearly a half
century of research, developmental psychologists have discovered that parents,

41
like their developing offspring, are cognizing individuals with goals, plans,
motivations, intentions, and interests, (editor's notes, Smetana, 1994).
This is the second perspective, as defined in this paper, used as a means for studying
childrearing.
Developmental Stages
Piaget's (1963) concept of the development of thought in children (originally
published in 1926) is the foundation of much of the research in developmental theory. His
theory suggests that the thought processes of children move through distinct hierarchical
stages of development. As thought progresses through the sensorimotor, pre-operational
concrete operations, formal operations, and post-formal operations, it becomes
increasingly complex, integrated, and differentiated. Each stage is necessary and can not
be skipped because it builds on and incorporates the previous stage and readies the child
for the next stage. Each stage is seen to be stable and predictable, and consistent across
different contexts.
Areas of adult development, partly influenced by Piaget's work have followed.
These include moral reasoning (Kohlber, 1969), ego development (Loevinger, 1980),
educational development (Hunt, 1970), ethical/intellectual development (Perry, 1970),
parental reasoning complexity (Newberger, 1980), cognitive complexity (Ivey, 1991),
parental communication (Applegate et al, 1985) and parental conceptualization of
development (Sameroff & Feil, 1985).

42
Consistent with Piaget's concepts, these developmental stages are arranged in
hierarchical order Development in each stage is demonstrated by a gradual increase in the
complexity of information processing and an increase in accessing capacity (Rozin, 1976
cited in Gelman, 1985).
Parenting Cognitions
Knowing the parents' level of reasoning might not enable us to predict a single
action of a parent, which is inherently difficult to predict without taking into
account the context in which the act takes place. But it might help account for the
variation in more global categories of parental behavior (i.e. the parents'
childrearing style), better than some specific parental beliefs (Sigel 1986).
Studying the parental reasoning complexity may be worthwhile for expanding our
knowledge about parental functioning, and in addition it can also enrich our
clinical understanding and serve as a basis for educational (preventive) or clinical
intervention for parents. In planning and evaluating efforts to improve pure
parenting skills or disturbed parent-child relationships, level of reasoning might be
a useful criterion for observing whether or not a change took place in the parents'
deeper understanding of the parent-child relationship, (Selman,1976 cited in
Dekovic & Gerris 1992, pg. 684).
Studies of parenting cognitions have been diverse. A summary by Goodnow and
Collins (1990) listed a number of domains of parenting beliefs they characterized as
dealing with directions of and conditions of development. Directions included parents'
goals, starting points (expectations), and beliefs about child development. Conditions
included ideas regarding the effects of internal and external events, the influence and
responsibility of parents, and methods parents use to achieve goals. Researchers have
primarily focused on the effects of these cognitions on parenting behavior and child
outcomes (Sigel, McGillicuddy-DeLisi & Goodnow, 1992). Dekovic and Gerris (1992)

43
pointed out the importance of studying the cognitive aspects of parental functioning as a
critical step in understanding parental behavior, and Newberger (1980) suggested that
understanding a parent's level of reasoning provides an idea of how the parent perceives
the parent-child relationship and tells us which cognitive resources a parent has and
utilizes to interpret and resolve their task as parents. The assumption is that parents do
not merely react to the child's actions in the immediate situation, but that numerous
previous interactions and knowledge about the child is cognitively structured and then
influences the manner in which the parent interprets and handles the situation (Dekovic &
Gerris, 1992). Parents organize their actions depending on the goals they hope to achieve,
supporting the idea that parental behavior is intentional, not merely reactive. Dekovic and
Gerris (1992) found, in their study of parental reasoning and childrearing behaviors, that
parental reasoning complexity made an independent contribution to parental behavior.
Conceptions about children, parenthood, and the parent-child relationship represent
factors internal to the parent. Bandura (1977) reported that parents who do not believe
they have the ability to parent successfully do not put their knowledge of parenting into
action, become preoccupied with themselves, are emotionally aroused, and do not persist
at the task of parenting. Belsky (1990) cited Cox, Owen, Lewis and Henderson (1989)
who stated that parents who scored high on measures of ego development and ego
strength behaved sensitively and responsively toward their infants. She also cited Frank,

44
Jacobson, Hole, Justkowski and Huyck (1986) who stated those parents developed
feelings of confidence and control in their role as parents. Bugental (Bugental &
Shennum, 1984; Bugental, 1991) focused on the amount of power parents believed they
had in conflict situations with their children relative to the power they attributed to their
children. Mothers low in perceived power experience negative affect, had
problem-focused thoughts, and engaged in power-assertive or punitive childrearing. The
attributions refer to the degree to which the parents believed the child's behavior was
intentional and foreseen, as well as free from external control. Parents were assumed to
assign blame and responsibility to their children in the case of misdeeds and to attribute
behavior to dispositional characteristics rather than external situational constraints and
forces. Dix and Grusec (1985) and Dix, Ruble and Zambarano (1989) demonstrated that
these thoughts or attributions are associated with parental anger and punitive reactions in
support of the idea that cognition is an important determinant of a large percentage of
human emotions (Dix 1991).
Current research and theory conceptualizes emotions, cognitions, and behaviors as
complimentary and interrelated, each altering and informing the other (Kiser, Piercy &
Lipchik, 1993). Meichenbaum (1985) cited Piaget, "We must agree that at no level, at no
stage, even in the adult, can we find a behavior or state which is purely cognitive without
affect nor a purely affective state without a cognitive element involved. There is no such

45
thing as a purely cognitive state." The interplay of emotions and cognition gives rise to
models of attachment hypothesizing that cognitive affective constructs are incorporated
into the personality structure of the individual and are relatively stable overtime (Crowell
& Feldman, 1991).
Parenting Style as Affected bv Cognitions
In studying preferences of disciplinary methods it was determined that the
significance of the goal is important. Are the parents' goals compliance or encouragement
of a particular style of negotiating? The nature of the goal influences the extent to which
parents prefer rationales over power assertion methods. An increased emphasis on
conformity increased reports of using power assertion rather than reasoning (Miller,
1988). A sign of cognitive development is seen as the degree of differentiation or the
extent to which people see differences among children rather than seeing them as all alike
as well as the ability to see themselves and parenting as having shades of gray. Cooke
(1991) offered further support in her study of the thinking that underlies parenting. She
reported that parenting expertise in problem-solving situations with infants includes, (a)
attentional focus on cues relevant to the child's goals and needs in the problem-solving
situation, (b) extensive specific knowledge of the child's behavioral characteristics and a
strong foundation of domain knowledge related to child development and childrearing
which is integrated into the specific knowledge of the child, (c) consciously considered

46
child-focused goals and subgoals, and plans for action which reflect thought about
parental roles appropriate for the situational and response to cues from the child, and (d)
action which provides opportunities for the child to be self-directive in the situation," (pg.
11). Main and Goldwyn, 1984 cited in Crowell and Feldman (1991) stated that a mother's
attachment level is believed to be associated with her ability to read, understand, and
respond to her child's behavior and needs. Sumlin (1979) as cited in Leggett (1982),
however, reached the conclusion that attitudinal changes regarding parenting may not be
equated with cognitive changes.
A number of studies confirmed the usefulness of coordinating learner
characteristics with educational approaches (Solomon, 1980 cited in Leggett 1982). Hunt
(1970) cited matching by Internal Control (Rotter, 1966), Ego Development Scale
(Loevinger, 1966) and Model Maturity Scale (Kohlberg, 1964). "If you wish to help
students to learn you must know something about the underlying cognitive processes, and
you also need to have some psychological insight into the individuals you want to help,"
(Howe, 1987, p. 145).
Relating Parenting to the Nature of the Family Context
The third perspective for studying parenting, as defined for the purpose of this
paper, is a focus on the nature of the family. This includes the effects of race, contextual
differences, and the orientation/organization of the family.

47
Race
The decision to name this variable "race" has involved careful deliberation. The
research contains an overlapping use of terms (i.e., culture, race, ethnicity, sociocultural)
referring to the same categories. The U S. Census Bureau uses the label "race", but
acknowledges that this includes both racial and national origin or sociocultural groups. In
an attempt to include all pertinent information, research involving any of the
aforementioned terms was reviewed for relevancy.
The understanding of parenting requires that we go beyond mother-child
interaction and consider wider familial and cultural variables (Belsky, 1980 as cited in
Dowdney & Pickles, 1991). Cultures and communities deliver many messages about
parenting. Bronfenbrenner (1977) pointed out the importance of the broader community
or macrosystem in the setting of the normative cultural standards about childrearing
through advice from relatives and experts or through role modeling and witnessing
interactions of other families. Goodnow (1985) suggested that one's culture is the primary
source of information about the facts of childrearing including what children are like at
different ages, what parenting techniques work, and what goals parents should value
Some researchers have extended this investigation as far as to say that what parents think,
guides or influences those changes (Keller, Miranda and Gauda, 1984; Sameroff & Feil,
1985).

48
In Hoffman's (1986) study of cross-cultural differences in childrearing he cited
numerous authors' differing answers to the variations. LeVine's 1974 research reported
that the differences in childrearing patterns evolved in response to environmental risks
threatening the child's survival and self-maintenance. Kohn (1969) stated that
occupational roles affect an adult's attitudes and values and thus influence his/her role as a
parent. Hoffman cited Barry, Bacon and Child (1967), Barry, Child and Bacon (1959),
and Hoffman (1974, 1984, 1986) in reporting that parents rear their children so as to
encourage the development of those qualities and attitudes needed for their expected
roles, which differ from society to society. Therefore, to define an effective parent
requires some notion of the goals of parenting (Gordon, 1980). LeVine stated that
obedience is a necessary trait for surviving economically as an adult in a rural society, and
Kohn reported that professional and managerial parents see initiative and independence as
paying off, while blue-collar parents see obedience and sticking to the rules as most
important. Their positions are supported by the Cross-National Value of Children study
of 1973 involving eight countries. As well as the study by Harkness and Super (1992)
supporting cross-cultural differences resulting from the fact that adult beliefs about the
nature of children or about the world in general differ from group to group, and these
beliefs affect parenting behavior. Gfellner (1990) also cited a 1986 Super and Harkness
article stating that the psychology of caregivers refers to parents' beliefs and values or

49
ethnotheories that are regulated by the culture and which in turn regulate child
development. Fine and Henry (1989) suggested that to be insensitive to the cultural
implications which dictate the perceived need of the parents is possibly unethical.
The manner in which cultural groups approach communication, autonomy,
discipline, competition, and control influences parenting styles (Fantini & Cardenas, 1980;
Ivey, 1986; McGoldrick, 1989; Sue, 1981), as well as what new information they are both
willing to and able to absorb. LeVine (1982) pointed out that the recognition that
empathic listening in another culture is impossible without knowledge of the culture and
the specific meanings and contexts through which feelings are expressed. Nwachuku and
Ivey (1991) suggested the need for culture-specific training for counselors, and cited
Minor's (1983) claim that counseling theory would be enriched if theorizing began from
the point of view of the host culture. The client's behavior is looked at from the
orientation of the insider, specifically persons from the client's culture. Nwachuku and
Ivey (1991) questioned the issue of "helper hierarchy" and suggested that our own
counseling and psychotherapy theory is so culturally encapsulated that we have placed our
ideas of helping on the client rather than consulting with the client to help him or her find
his or her own culturally and individually appropriate solution.
The importance of being sensitive to the culturally different perspectives when
attempting to assist parents is evidenced by returning to the previous mentioned

50
Cross-National Value of Children study. The needs children meet for parents vary. In the
primarily rural countries studied, children were an economic utility. In the U.S. they were
found to meet parental needs of primary ties and affection, wheras in the Asian culture
they provide fun and stimulation. Super and Harkness (1981) stressed the importance of
the "goodness of fit"; that the parents' and children's needs coincide. LeVine (1988)
further denoted this view giving examples of parental strategies such as in an agrarian
culture where "quantity" of children is important for the survival of the family. High
fertility and the importance of infant care and nurturance for a child at risk are stressed
with decreased attention paid to a child as it gets older. He contrasted this to an urban
industrial society where "quality" of childrearing is the focus. Goals concern the child's
acquisition of skills and the mental and social stimulation for a child with a future.
Therefore, there is increased attention as a child grows older.
LeVine (1988) studied the effects of parental goals on parental behavior by stating
several perspectives of the development of parental behavior. The phylogenetic
perspective assumed innate sensitivity to infant signals for nurturance, but did not specify
the variety of forms of infant care through which this sensitivity was implemented. The
cultural perspective assumed parents were guided by culture-specific models of
interpersonal relations, but did not indicate how these distant goals were integrated with
the other aims of parents in a particular culture and with their perceptions of their child's

51
adaptive problems in the early years of life. He maintained that parental activity, while
constrained by the human genome and directed by cultural values, must also be seen as
adjusted, consciously and unconsciously, to those aspects of the environment that threaten
or facilitate the attainment of parental goals. He concluded, by citing LeVine and White
(1987), and their view that each culture, drawing on its own symbolic traditions, supplies
models for parental behavior that when implemented under local conditions become
culture-specific styles of parental commitment.
Strom, Griswold and Slaughter (1981) emphasized the importance of recognizing
individual differences when choosing appropriate programs for parents. According to
Gfellner's (1990) review of the literature, there are no clear norms of parenting behavior
and this may contribute to the stress felt by parents in their parenting roles. A major
challenge is the absence of reliable advice and valid modelling that can be implemented
easily. Without a normative method of childrearing it is left to each parent to develop a
parenting theory.
The American culture offers numerous scripts to women who become mothers.
These offer opportunities for personal development, but also pose dilemmas or crises,
when scripts are in conflict with one another or if there are no supportive social structures
in the women's lives (Gilligan, Ward, & Taylor, 1988). Nucci and Weber (in press) cited
by Nucci (1994) provided evidence that middle-class mothers act in ways indicative of a

52
conceptual differentiation between children's areas of personal choice and matters of moral
and social regulation and prudence. Prudential issues (Nucci 1994) refer to children's
actions that result in, or have the potential to result in, harm to the children. Children play
an active role in the feedback through requests and resistance (Radke-Yarrow & Gimius
Brown, 1981 cited in Nucci 1994). Depending on the cultural view of such resistance a
child may or may not be seen as a problem. Super and Harkness (cited in Richman, Miller
and Solomon, 1988) suggested that the notion of "difficult" temperament represents an
interaction between certain characteristics of the infant and characteristics of the cultural
context.
Nwachuku and Ivey (1991) pointed to examples from previous microskill
multicultural studies by Ivey (1988) which consistently support cultural differences. For
example, with an African American or Lebanese client, it may be more helpful to focus on
relationships or on the family rather than use the typical person-centered approach through
"I" statements. This realization would be imperative in designing a parenting program, for
this clientele, to which they would be receptive.
Another example of the importance of fitting the program's style and information
to the cultural priorities of the parents/families was found in a study on Mexican and
Mexican American parents (Powell, Zambrana, & Silva-Palacios, 1990). It was found that
these mothers prefer group and home visiting formats, that they need experienced role

53
models rather than educational reading material, they want participation by extended
family members, rapport with staff members is extremely important, program content
should emphasize the child and his/her future, and that all of these were more imperative
when working with the Mexican immigrants than when serving the Mexican Americans.
A study of parent child development centers, conducted by Andrews, Blumenthal,
Johnson, Kahn, Ferguson, Lasater, Malone and Wallace (1982) also recognized the role of
culture in the evolution of parenting practices and emphasized letting parents make
informed choices regarding children. Importantly, and in support of this paper's focus,
was the perspective of these authors to avoid holding a single standard of parenting as
absolute and correct.
This review of the literature found countless research articles which included even
more numerous citations in support of a need to consider cultural orientation when
studying parenting beliefs as well as techniques. Ethnicity is an important mediator of
culture and a long neglected variable in family therapy (McGoldrick, Pearce, & Giordano,
1983). It contributes both paradigmatic preferences and nuances. Nucci's (1994) study
on U S. white middle-class mothers showed that research on parental authority has
historically tended to frame the issue as a question of degree along a single dimension such
as Baumrind's (1971) division of parenting types into the categories permissive,
authoritative, and authoritarian. Application of this typology to members of social class

54
and cultural groups that differ from the U S. white middle-class have proven to be riddled
with bias and misunderstanding. The cultural significance of parental behaviors labeled by
the typology as authoritarian is not captured within the global, unidimensional framework
of the typology. Baumrind (1972) discovered that parental actions that fit within the
authoritarian pattern within white families did not result in an authoritarian "syndrome"
among African-American girls. Instead it fostered toughness and self-sufficiency and was
perceived as "nurturant care-taking." Chao (1993) argued that depictions of parental
behaviors as authoritarian, controlling, and restrictive are typically ethnocentric and
misleading. Asian families have been found to obtain among the highest scores of
unquestioning obedience to parents on the Baumrind measure. According to Chao,
parental concern and love are equated in Asian cultures with firm control and governance.
To label such tendencies as authoritarian is to misread behaviors that are based on
Confucian conceptions of respect for elders. Likewise, Korean children's perceptions of
parental warmth tend to increase as overall parental control increases (Rohner &
Pettengill, 1985). This reflects a general cultural view of the individual as a fractional
part of the family. Kim (1987) however felt that there is a gap between Korean parents'
beliefs and their actual parenting, stating their ideology is democratic wheras in actuality it
is authoritarian. He believes there are no clear rules, guidelines or expectations due to
conflicting values concerning traditional versus modem parenting practices. In a six

55
country comparative study (Korean Gallup Research Center 1983 cited in Kim 1987)
Korean children believed their parents to be too strict, and Korean teens reported the least
family life satisfaction among adolescents of 11 countries. Kim described the Korean
family by Minuchin's definition of enmeshed, most obvious in the parents' overinvolvement
in their children's education, career, and marriages. Stating they have a greater degree of
mutual care than of communication he believes there is potential for better relationships
among family members with education in communication skills.
In their interactional assessment of white, black, and Mexican American families,
Hampson, Beavers, and Hulgus (1990) also indicated the need to not pathologize differing
family styles. They reported that their findings are consistent with and supportive of the
hypothesis that any differences found between ethnicities are likely to be differences in
style of structure or interaction rather than differences in competence or health. They
cited Henggeler and Tavormina (1980) as depicting an alternative for interpreting ethnic
family differences as not deficits or methodological shortcomings, but "socio-cultural
differences in behavior, without any necessary implications of psychopathology."
Comparisons reported by Hampson and associates (1990) focused on cultural
differences. Black families were noted as having consistent themes of strong kinship
bonds and extended family ties (Hines & Boyd-Franklin, 1982). Relatives expect and
accept reliance on one another, so that various people interchange roles, jobs, and family

56
functions. There is a high degree of role flexibility and adaptability. This boundary
flexibility may look more like chaos to the outside observer accustomed to more
predictable patterns of a nuclear household. The church is a major source of socialization
and prestige, hence, ministers are more often sought in times of need than are mental
health professionals (Hines & Boyd-Franklin, 1982). An egalitarian power structure has
evolved earlier than in many Anglo families and there is also a higher rate of
"father-absent" homes. Members tend to internalize feelings (Pinderhughes, 1982) and
their research supported that Black families were rated as significantly less able to express
or state feelings and thoughts directly and clearly, less apt to respond openly and
receptively to efforts of family members to interrupt or make personal statements
(permeability), and to show a more consistent, less varied range of feelings in their various
interactional exchanges. Black families were also less encouraging of dependency needs in
their children. The Mexican American family's kinship network was described as
extremely important with affiliation and cooperation stressed, while overt confrontation
and competition discouraged. The focus on relationships is viewed as more important
than task or role performance (Eshleman, 1985 cited in Hampson et al 1990). A high
degree of cohesion and hierarchical organization is normal. Interaction is characterized by
generational interdependence and involvement, and internal control (Falicov 1982).
Respect is significant and autonomy is less important than dignity. The Mexican American

57
families were rated as showing more dominant power exchanges and were rated as
congruent with their family concept by an outside rater. They showed a greater range of
overtly expressed feelings and a more congruent sense of family concept than White or
Black families, as well as more attuned to and encouraging of dependency needs in their
children and more likely to describe themselves as close-knit and discouraging of
aggressive, defiant, or disruptive behavior.
Nucci (1994) reported, in looking at Brazilian mothers, that across social classes
and geographical regions, these mothers expressed beliefs that children require areas of
choice for personal growth. The manner in which these beliefs were expressed varied as a
function of the mother's underlying assumptions about the nature of their children's needs
and capacities. Middle-class mothers (modern Southern region) held views essentially like
those of mothers of U S. middle-class; that children are to be treated as individuals from
infancy and given opportunities to exercise choices to enhance their individual talents and
personalities. Their reasons were aimed at supporting their children's emerging autonomy,
agency, and personal competence. The more traditional lower-class mothers viewed the
limited cognitive capacity of infants and young children as an indication that they were not
yet to be considered individuals with a choice or opinions of their own. They gave
prudential (risks to the child) and pragmatic reasons for their responses.

58
There is evidence that ethnicity and social status are two separate variables (Laosa,
1981) although it is often difficult to distinguish to which a specific difference is due
(Strom et al 1981). Sameroff and Feil (1985) determined that parental reasoning
complexity was generally lower in lower social status groups in all cultures, however,
cultural beliefs in traditional, categorical concepts can prevent or eliminate the need for
more complex thought.
Contextual Differences
The failure of Moss and Jones (1977) as cited in Grusec, Hastings, and
Mammone (1994) to find differences between middle-class and lower-class mothers in
their childrearing attributions suggests that these particular cognitions might be tied to
something other than messages from cultural and socioeconomic groups. General belief
systems having to do with developmental timetables, methods of change, and values may
be affected by culture, but there is also a great deal of individual variation within groups
for these systems. Goodnow (1985) argued that parents are not passive recipients of their
culture's messages, but filter them. Parents seek out each other to discuss childrearing
values, and the networks they form build their belief system and reinforce those that fit
their community's expectations. If there are certain cultural values, individuals may
selectively attend to the messages matching their own beliefs or may choose to decrease
contact with contradictory opinions, rather than conform to those opinions.

59
The Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition (1982, in press) as cited in
Simmons (1994) defines context as interactions between individuals, and between
individuals and objects, that are delimited by a unique arrangement of goals, behaviors,
expectations, demands, and rules constructed by the participants. Culture influences the
presence and arrangements of context. Childhood, therefore, is not a given and consistent
phenomena, but exists in an historical and societal context, one that is in great part defined
by the needs of adults enmeshed in the conflict (Aptekar, 1990). Behaviors giving rise to
judgments of intelligence, behaviors that have traditionally been treated as general mental
abilities are, instead, best thought of as performances specific to particular contexts.
Unlike a general ability framework, the cultural practice approach (Simmons, 1994) points
to evidence that culture-specific knowledge and activities constitute contexts that organize
the development and deployment of a repertoire of task-specific cognitive skills. The
generality of the skills depends on the extent to which the contexts have common features.
Instead of emphasizing the representation of situations internally, Simmon's cultural
practice perspective maintains that schemes for guiding behavior do not exist solely in the
individual, but are constructed in the interaction between individuals or between the
individual and the task in a particular context. These schemata are construed as internal
representations of situations and knowledge sets. Processing is difficult if the schemata is
inappropriately matched with the input. The importance of matching a family's contextual

60
representation with the type of education offered is obvious, so they can learn (accretion),
revise (tune), and replace (restructure). These functions are seen as an ongoing part of
social interactions that are an important source of feedback related to monitoring,
checking and evaluation. Grusec, Hastings and Mammone (1994) also supported that
parenting beliefs are affected by the particular context in which parents find themselves as
well as the specific experiences they have had with their own children, and
Rigazio-DiGilio (1993) stated that according to Developmental Counseling and Therapy
(DCT) and Systemic Cognitive Developmental Therapy (SCDT), individual development
and family development occur within a social and cultural environment. DCT and SCDT
practitioners underscore the importance of helping clients expand their understandings and
behavior at their current orientation The emphasis is first to build a strong foundation
before moving on. After that they suggested that assisting clients to access other
orientations offers opportunities for them to co-construct a broader range of perspectives
and behaviors and to develop a more flexible approach to the world
Belsky (1984) mused that it is of interest to learn that while great effort has been
expended studying the characteristics and consequences of parenting, much less attention
has been devoted to studying why parents parent the way they do and investigating the
effect of the child on parenting behavior. He continues with a report on the available
research, concluding that influence on parental functioning is based on three general

61
sources: (a) the parents' ontogenic origins and personal psychological resources, (b) the
child's characteristics of individuality, and (c) contextual sources of stress and support.
Stressors impinging on the family such as unemployment, family violence, marital
discord, and divorce are associated with both delinquency and child adjustment problems
in general, according to research cited by Patterson, DeBaryshe, and Ramsey (1989).
Although stressors may have direct and independent effects on child behavior, we assume
that the major impact of stress on child adjustment is mediated by family management
practices. If the stressors disrupt parenting practices, then the child is placed at risk for
adjustment problems (Patterson et al, 1989). For example, financial strain, while
demonstrating no direct influence upon parenting, did show an indirect effect upon the
parenting practices of mothers, suggesting that financial strain leads to marital problems
and that marital difficulties reduce the amount of warmth and nurturance the mother
shows. The strain increases the probability that a child will be perceived as difficult, thus
increasing the probability of parental rejection and hostility. Rosenblum and Paully (1984)
agreed that mother-infant interaction under conditions of economic insecurity, maternal
employment, and environmental instability may elicit conflicts between parental and infant
needs. They cited several authors who reported that such conflicting demands on a
mother, which strain her coping capacity, also undermine her ability to mediate her infant's
successful interaction with its surroundings, in turn decreasing the infant's own emerging

62
sense of competence and mastery and may increase its vulnerability. For both mother and
infant, one key factor influencing coping capacity and the sense of self-efficacy is the
predictability of events and the relationship of their own actions to outcomes. A setting
that does not permit anticipation and strategic response to environmental events may
result in negative consequences, with evidence that chaotic, unstable environments alter
mother-infant dyadic interaction and can be the source of developmental pathology
(Pavenstadt 1965; Turnbull, 1973 cited in Rosenblum & Paully 1984). The most critical
predictors of the home environment are the maternal characteristics; age, education,
ethnicity, and initial self-esteem and locus of control (Menaghan & Parcel, 1991).
Support is also seen as relevant in predicting parenting difficulty. Mothers with
fewer social supports and more family stressors expressed less nurturant and more
restrictive attitudes regarding their children, therefore behaving in more hostile and
restrictive ways with them, while social support from both relatives and friends,
particularly when children are young, has been found to be important to parental
satisfaction, parental confidence, and positive parenting behavior (Pittman, Wright &
Lloyd 1989; Belsky, 1984). Social support functions in three general ways by providing
(a) emotional support, (b) instrumental assistance, and (c) social expectations (Belsky
1984).

63
Belsky (1984) noted that the work on child abuse highlights three distinct sources
of stress and support: (a) the marital relationship, (b) social networks and (c)
employment, which can either promote or undermine parental competence. According to
research reviewed by Belsky (1984), marital relations do not influence parenting directly,
but impact it indirectly by affecting the general psychological well-being of parents and
therefore the skills they exercise in the parenting role. In the same manner he reported
that the benefit accrued from social networking is the enhancement of the parent's
emotional support. Belsky stresses the importance between matching the support desired
and the support received. He cited references to unemployment and an increase in child
maltreatment, but beyond those stated the majority of work is on maternal employment,
suggesting that the mother's employment status influences the quality and quantity of her
and her spouse's parenting behavior. Kohn's (1963) work demonstrated that working
class men whose jobs required compliance to authority tended to stress obedience and
conformity in their children and favor physical punishment whereas middle-class fathers
whose jobs required self-direction and independence tended to value the same in their
children. Maijoribanks (1991) determined that family context defined by parent's
aspirations for their children is a moderate to strong predictor of young adult's
social-status attainment. The implication of this observation is that families that more
intensively constrain may have particular difficulty permitting change, such as new

64
interactions (Hauser, Powers, Noam, Jacobson, Weiss & Follansbee, 1984). Pittman,
Wright and Lloyd (1989) in their review of the literature, however, determined that the
research findings about the effects of background characteristics such as income,
employment and number of children on parental attitudes were inconsistent. Baumrind
(1993) also found this, but questioned the reliability of the childrearing assessments.
Radke (1969) reported a need for the education of parents in the
authority-discipline area of home relations. Parents still failed to recognize that children
were entitled to respectful treatment as demonstrated in children's descriptions of
punishments, in the substantial proportion of parents described as showing anger in
discipline, and in the overwhelming proportion of discipline procedures depending on
sheer power of the adult or undermining the child's power. There was no stimulation for
growth of self-dependence in the child. Because they fail to recognize that the child also
strives for power, these techniques frustrate and the probable outcome is aggression and
further attempts to gain power (Radke 1969; Strom, Barros & Strom, 1990).
A child's behavior standards correspond closely to the standards required by the
parents, and a child emulates by his own behavior with other children the behavior of the
parent. Radke (1969) gives the following example. If there is an autocratic, restrictive
and severe disciplinary atmosphere at home then the child is viewed as more unpopular
with other children. They are seen as inconsiderate, emotionally unstable, frequently

65
fighting and quarreling, uninhibited and daring, less rivalrous, and more insensitive to
criticism and blame. Simons, Whitbeck, Conger and Chyi-In (1991) offered that rural
families may engage in more physical discipline than do urban families, but the impact of
aggressive parenting on a child's beliefs and personality development are likely to be the
same regardless of setting. The picture that is beginning to emerge is that the meaning of
deprivation is a deprivation of meaning; a cognitive environment in which behavior is
controlled by status rules rather than by attention to the individual characteristics of a
specific situation and one in which behavior is not mediated by verbal cues or by teaching
that relates events to one another and the present to the future. This environment
produces a child who relates to authority rather than to rationale, who although often
compliant, is not reflective in his behavior, and for whom the consequences of an act are
largely considered in terms of immediate punishment or reward rather than future effects
and long-range goals (Hess & Shipman, 1965).
Orientation/Organization of the Family
Family images/constructs do not exist apart from the individuals, neither do they
consist merely of the sum of the individual images. The family's distinct image of itself
emerges from the interaction of its members' individual images of reality and their
behavior. This is formed over time with crucial features often linked to certain critical
events in the family history (Constantine, 1986).

66
Constantine (1986) suggested that families have distinct, stable styles of
functioning based on fundamentally different paradigms. He defined paradigm as a model
of both the actual and the ideal; a way of seeing and knowing; a world view. In this way,
a family's paradigm is their organization. It is an image and a point of reference for
checking the family's realization of its own concept of itself. Furthermore, it puts
boundaries around a family's understanding, shaping what they can see and do and the
manner in which they view their environment. For this reason, it seemed imperative that
attitude assessment of target populations be a necessary first step in the design and
implementation of an intervention program (Meichenbaum, 1985; Strom, Barros & Strom,
1990). Although the use of specific techniques of discipline may vary, a study by Roberts,
Block and Block (1984) indicated that parents have fundamental, pervasive, and enduring
childrearing orientations that color their use of specific discipline techniques. These
authors also cited other researchers for further support of the viewpoint that parents have
coherent and long-lasting underlying childrearing philosophies. The overall picture that
emerges from the data is one of considerable continuity in the general attitudes, values and
goals of the parents. Likewise the family paradigm appears to be a central and stable
feature of a family. Family paradigms therefore seems a very natural way to study
parenting beliefs and styles.

67
Paradigms are distinguished on the basis of their goal-directed behavior differing in
how they are oriented to the duality of continuity and change. The viability of all living
systems is determined by the interplay of stability and adaptability. Taxonomy is the art
and science of classification, with a taxon simply being one of the units of classification,
not something real or objectively true about the things being classified. Thus, the abstract
ideal of any particular family paradigm can be represented by a point where the dimensions
correspond to various properties by which the paradigms can be distinguished. The
coordinates of the different taxons correspond to how much of each property is present in
a given paradigm. Because the taxons are dialectically interrelated and maximally distinct,
there is some characteristic property for each family paradigm that will be maximally
present in a pure or ideal example of the type and absent in the pure or ideal forms of the
other types. Each taxon then can be characterized by a unique measure which
corresponds mathematically to a vector, an arrow pointing in the directions of
paradigmatic purity. This vector not only defines, but distinguishes it from alternative
types and therefore incorporates and models interrelationships among types (Constantine,
1993). Each family paradigm can therefore be identified by a representative vector
representing a similarity to the type with some degree of departure from the others. The
four taxonomic vectors, in their pure form, can be identified as hierarchy: corresponding
to the closed paradigm, with a degree of reliance on a hierarchy of authority to regulate

68
process and determine solutions; divergence: corresponding to the random paradigm,
with a degree of reliance on completely different and independent action by individuals as
acceptable forms of group solution and activity; reflexivity: corresponding to the open
paradigm, with a degree of reliance on exploration and examination of family's own
structure and process for developing solutions and making decisions; and alignment:
corresponding to the synchronous family, with a degree of reliance on preexisting, tacit
agreement with a shared set of values, goals, and ideas to regulate process and define
solutions (Constantine, 1993).
An example of theory that is primarily dimensional while also including typological
features is the Olson Circumplex Model (Olson, Russel & Sprenkle, 1983; Olson,
Sprenkle & Russell, 1979). Dimensions are components argued to be basic aspects of the
variation in families and their process. The paradigmatic framework provides conceptual
connections between the dimensions in Olson's model, that of cohesion and adaptability,
and the family types representative of the family paradigms. For example, the closed
family paradigm corresponds with a low level of adaptability and a high level of cohesion
creating structural connectedness, which may become rigid enmeshment during times of
stress.
In comparison, the absence of dimensional features has been noted as a limitation
of the paradigmatic framework (Broderick, 1986). With the addition of a fourth family

69
paradigm, the framework was transformed into the conventional two-by-two arrangement.
The basic dimensions in which family paradigms differ can now be determined. One of the
aspects of tetrahedral geometry is that the degrees of hierarchy, divergence, reflexivity,
and alignment for any family add up to a fixed value. The total can be distributed in any
way among the vectors, but the scores add up to the same total. This property supports
the assumptions, held about family paradigms, that family style results from tradeoffs
among competing typal goals (Kantor & Lehr, 1975). Family paradigms represent the
ways in which families assign priorities among competing values and objectives (Kantor &
Lehr, 1975; Kluckhohn, 1958). To determine the basic dimensions in which family
paradigms differ it is possible to construct a set of dimensions that is directly related to the
underlying taxonomy of paradigms. The midpoint of each edge is joined with the
midpoint of the opposite edge creating three orthogonal axes which differentiate one pair
of paradigms from an opposite pair. The three axes created represent: "engagement,"
varying from totally enmeshed to completely disengaged; "variability," with extremes from
chaos to rigidity; and "convergence," from dichotomized/highly skewed to highly
integrated synergy.
The paradigm is the template for the patterns we see (Constantine, 1986).
Paradigms (models, images, worldviews, references, standards) are related in process
(behavior, interaction) through regimes (organization, structures, regulating mechanisms).

70
If the family's regime is successful in translating its paradigm into process the family
succeeds at being itself. However, not all regimes are compatible with all paradigms. It is
possible for a family to be guided by one concept of family, yet be unable to put this into
practice either because its organization as a family is incompatible with its paradigm or
because its organization is ineffective at generating the desired behavior. A family's
greatest strength is also its greatest flaw when the family remains true to its paradigm. A
mismatch between paradigm and regime creates stress. Different members may hold
competing paradigms and subsystems may operate under different rules. For example,
family images are often shaped more by some members' personal images than by others'.
These are the "architects" of the family system. Because collective family images emerge
in an historical process, the parents are most likely to be the architects (Satir, 1972),
however, this may not always be the case. In a study reviewed by Tolan, Cromwell, and
Brasswell (1986), it was found that in families of delinquents, the delinquent child was
often more influential than one or both parents on the tenor and direction of family
interactions. No matter what the family's paradigm, delinquency is a sign of family stress.
Johnson (cited in Tolan et al 1986) also explained that delinquency serves as a family
homeostatic device that signals a failing family system.
Family paradigms are distinguished by finer gradations and variations and
combinations. Because of the fundamental distinctions the paradigm establishes the range

71
of themes upon which variations can be built. Kantor and Lehr (1975) identified three
conceptually distinct paradigms through participant-observation research, with the premise
that there is no right answer or single best formula for family living. Families guided by
different paradigms will use different approaches to problem solving and be especially
good at different things as well as be prone to different kinds of difficulties. The closed
paradigm encourages stability, security, and belonging. These families are
"continuity-oriented" and homeostatic, operating so as to correct deviations from
established patterns. Continuity and uniformity are the priority so the family as a group is
seen as more important than the individual. Their motto: "stability through tradition and
loyalty." The random paradigm promotes novelty, creativity, and individuality. These
families are "discontinuity-oriented." There is not an absence of pattern, but it is a pattern
of continual change. The individual is paramount and the source of the family's variety.
Their motto: "variety through innovations and individuality." The open paradigm
supports adaptability, efficacy, and participation. These families are
"consequence-oriented" with resolution through negotiation and collaboration. This
paradigm stresses adaptiveness to the needs of both the individual and the system,
flexibility and balance. There is an adaptive mix of continuity and discontinity. They are
dedicated to communication. Their motto: "adaptability through negotiation and
collaboration." The original, research-based model was extended, based on formal,

72
systems theoretical arguments regarding the relationship of individual to collective action
and its regulation in systems, in a series of papers by Constantine (1977, 1983, 1984a).
The fourth paradigm, the synchronous paradigm, encourages harmony, tranquility, and
mutual identification. These families are "coincidence-oriented" meaning they simply
expect there to be a consensus of goals and world views among members. There is no
conflict between the individual and the group as neither comes first. There is a
non-intellectual sense of unity and harmonious agreement. Their motto: "harmony
through perfection and identification."
Including the synchronous paradigm with Kantor and Lehr's types accounts for all
four extremes identified in the Olson Circumplex Model and results in a reasonable
correspondence (Constantine, 1986) with the four family paradigms derived by Reiss
(1971, 1981).
Families differ in the setting of priorities and deciding between competing goals.
Their paradigm offers them the guidelines on which to build and by which they view the
world. A family operating within a closed paradigm sees the random and open families as
chaotic, and views the synchronous as utopian. A random family sees the closed and open
as authoritarian. An open family sees the closed and random as alternatives to be used or
mixed as needed (Constantine, 1986). Therefore, therapy (or parent training) that

73
recognizes only a single ideal for family living may try to push families into becoming what
they are not, rather than becoming better at what they are.
All paradigms are considered equal in their capacity to serve as effective models
for successful family functioning. Each vector represents purity rather than extremeness
so that all points within the tetrahedron represent workable family configurations. Most
other models define a single ideal of family life (Beavers, 1981, Olson et al, 1983). The
extremes on the dimensions of cohesion and adaptability in the Olson Circumplex Model
can be shown to describe extreme patterns associated with each of the four paradigms.
These extremes would correspond to the most probable direction of failure for a family
and is referred to as an "error of substantiation," a family becoming an exaggerated
version of its own paradigm (Kantor & Lehr, 1975). The degree of a family's enablement
was observed to not be dependent on a family's style (Kantor & Lehr, 1975). They argued
that it must be assessed independently based on the family's ability to function as a system.
Any form of family can therefore succeed and any can fail. However, what is functional
for one family may not be for another. The paradigmatic framework distinguishes a
family's organization or regime from its behavior or process. In the most straightforward
situation, a family's regime is successful in translating its paradigm into process; the family
succeeds at being itself. Not all regimes, however, are compatible with all paradigms and
it is possible for a family to be guided by one concept of family, yet be unable to put it into

74
practice, either because its organization is incompatible with its paradigm or because its
organization is ineffective at generating the desired behavior. The greater the disparity
between a family's actual process/behavior and the ideal balance for its specific paradigm,
the more dysfunctional that family is likely to be. Each variation of family style has its
own vulnerabilities and strengths, however the more the variation from its particular mean,
the less likely the family will remain functional. The probability of dysfunction is higher
when there is greater disparity between paradigm and process. Families have a probable
direction of failure when trying to resolve problems because they are most likely to draw
on the methods and resources of their own paradigm. By doing this they intensify their
paradigmatic commitment so that, for example, a closed system would move toward even
greater rigidity and enmeshment, while an open paradigm would become chaotic through
their increased enmeshment. A synchronous system would move toward greater rigidity,
but with increased disengagement, while a random paradigm would become increasingly
chaotic and disengaged (Constantine, 1983). Problems may also occur if a family gives up
on its commitment or is unable to establish an effective organization to its style and slips in
the opposite direction. Again, in a closed paradigm an ineffective authority structure
might result in a decline into greater chaos or disengagement. Either extreme represents
movement along the taxonomic vector away from the dominant paradigm. This
perspective can help the clinician (or parent educator) fully respect the family in its chosen

75
style of organization and operation. The key to identifying a family's dysfunctional
excesses or inadequacies is understanding what is congruent with that family's unique mix
of paradigms. It is not the amount of disorder, differentiation, closeness, that is functional
or dysfunctional except as it exceeds a family's own tolerance and capacities. The
direction of incongruence may also suggest whether the family is caught in a spiral of
exaggeration or inadequacies. This also helps us to understand what happens when
external factors introduce a certain level of imbalance into a family. Again, the issue is not
how extreme the factor is, but how extreme relative to each family's preferred and actual
organization. Any degree of cohesion or adaptability can be functional if validated by the
family (Olson et al, 1983).
Conclusion
It seemed evident by reviewing this body of knowledge, that it is imperative to
research how differing family paradigms relate to a family's parenting beliefs and practices.
This line of thought supports the idea of no "one right way" of parenting, yet also
acknowledges that problems can arise within any family type. Simons, Whitbeck, Conger
and Melby (1990) distinguished between "constructive" and "destructive" parenting
practices. Constructive parenting practices offer a style characterized by warmth,
inductive reasoning, clear communication, and appropriate monitoring and tend to
promote a child's cognitive functioning, social skills, moral development, and

76
psychological adjustment. Destructive practices involve hostility, rejection, and coercion
and are associated with delinquency, psychopathology, academic failure, and substance
abuse. The use of these two terms in the description of parenting styles would appear to
blend well with the family paradigmatic view by not incorporating a single right definition
of parenting, but still acknowledging some fairly agreed upon desired outcomes for our
children. The constructive parenting characteristics are in support of Garbarino, Sebes
and Schellenbach (1984) low-risk families characterized by a flexibly connected family
system, a disavowal of coercion, and a more supportive, less punishing style of parenting.
The destructive parenting practices support their definition of high-risk families
characterized by chronic internalized developmental problems, positive values and
attitudes concerning coercion, and a chaotically enmeshed interpersonal system.
It is of specific interest to this researcher to acknowledge the limitations cited in
the literature as to the lack of attention given to the specific and unique characteristics of
parents as learners. In a review of the parenting literature conducted by Lamb (1986), not
a single article focused on the need to match parental characteristics to the parent
education model utilized. Rather, it was found that parenting programs are often
organized based on the characteristics of the children of involved parents: by
developmental stages (Croake, 1983; Forehand & Long, 1988; Tavormina, 1980); types
of problems (Gordon & Davidson, 1981; Levant, 1983; Robin et al, 1977); or severity of

77
problems (Alexander et al, 1976; Gordon & Davidson, 1981; Graziano, 1986; Klein et al,
1977). Numerous other researchers have cited the need for a thorough examination of the
interaction between the characteristics of the parent and the parent education experience
(Fine & Henry, 1989; Gordon & Davidson, 1981; Graziano, 1983; Lamb, 1986; Levant,
1986a; Levant 1986b; Medway, 1989; Moreland et al, 1982; Tavormina, 1980).

CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY
Statement of the Purpose
The purpose of this study was to determine whether women differing in terms of
their family paradigmatic preference would differ in their parenting practices and
parent-child communication. Women's family paradigm preferences were classified into
one of Constantine's family paradigms. Differences among the paradigm groups were then
examined in terms of (a) parental discipline practices; and (b) style of parent-child
communication. In addition, differences in race and educational level among participants
in different paradigms were explored.
In this chapter, the research hypotheses, design of the study, population, sampling
procedures, subjects, and data collection are described. The instrumentation, data
analysis, and methodological limitations are also discussed.
Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses were examined in this study:
Hypothesis One: Mothers differing in educational level demonstrate no differences
in family paradigmatic preferences as measured by The Family Regime Assessment Scale.
78

79
Hypothesis Two: Mothers differing in race demonstrate no differences in family
paradigmatic preferences as measured by The Family Regime Assessment Scale.
Hypothesis Three: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers
differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in
child-management values for level of verbal interaction and expressiveness as measured by
the Parenting Preferences Inventory.
Hypothesis Four: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers
differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in
child-management values for level of behavioral interaction and involvement as measured
by the Parenting Preferences Inventory.
Hypothesis Five: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers
differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in
family-management style as measured by the Democratic sub-scale of the Colorado
Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning.
Hypothesis Six: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing
in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in family-management style
as measured by the Laissez-Faire sub-scale of the Colorado Self-Report Measure of
Family Functioning.

80
Hypothesis Seven: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers
differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in
family-management style as measured by the Authoritarian sub-scale of the Colorado
Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning.
Hypothesis Eight: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers
differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in levels of
child-centered communication as measured by the Person-Centered Communication
Assessment.
Design of the Study
This investigation was a descriptive comparative study in which the relationship
between a parent's family paradigm (or world view) and their parenting was examined.
The independent variables included the following parental characteristics: educational
level, race, and family paradigm preference. The dependent variables included: parenting
style and child-centered parent-child communication. Each of these variables is described
below:
Independent Variables
Educational level. For the purposes of this study, educational level was divided
into two levels: lower and higher. The educational level of each mother was based on

81
information gathered in the demographic interview schedule and then determined
according to years of formal education.
Race. The race of the mothers participating in this study were defined by their
self-identification This study focused on two groups: black African American, at least a
second generation in the United States and white Anglo American, at least a second
generation in the United States. The Census Bureau reports race as self-identified and
denoting no clear-cut scientific definition of "biological stock." Due to this manner of
determining racial categories, White, for example, is noted to include other entries such as
Canadian, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, and Polish. For this reason
the limitation of "at least second generation in the United States" was placed on the
sample to attempt to control for other cultural background influences.
Family paradigm preference. The family paradigm preference of the mothers
involved in this study was categorized into one of Constantine's (1986) four paradigms:
closed, random, open, or synchronous. This represents their image or view of the way in
which they feel their families should operate.
Dependent Variables
Parenting style. The parenting style is those means of discipline, including
behavior management and verbal negotiation, employed by the mothers
participating in this study.

82
Child-centered parent-child communication. This type of communication
represents a belief on the part of the mother that the expression of feelings and thoughts
by both her and her child is an important aspect of the parent-child relationship.
Description of the Population
The population consisted of mothers of elementary school children, ages five years
to eight years, who attend public school in Duval County. According to the U S. Bureau
of the Census (1990) the total population of Duval County was 672,971. The State of
Florida (1994) projected a 1995 population for Duval County of between 698,300 and
741,500. Of the total 1990 population, 163,902 were reported to be black citizens and
489,604 were reported to be white citizens. This is approximately 24% black and 76%
white.
According to the annual "20th Day Count" of the Duval County Public School
System, there are approximately 123,470 students enrolled in grades pre-kindergarten
through 12th grade, attending 153 schools. There are 102 elementary schools (pre-k
through 5th grade) serving 65,409 students, 31,956 of which are in the target population
of kindergarten, first, and second grade. The overall racial mix of the school system is
40% black and 60% white, although individual schools vary from 1% black and 99%
white to 99% black and 1% white. The three schools chosen for this study approximate
the racial mix of the county of 24% black and 76% white.

83
Sampling Procedures
The administrators of three different public elementary schools in Duval County
were contacted and asked to (a) provide a classroom roll, including parents' names and
telephone numbers for the kindergarten, first, and second grade classes to the researcher;
or (b) send a letter to parents written by the investigator which briefly explained the
purpose of the study and requested parents to call if willing to participate (Appendix C).
All parents responding from the groups receiving one of the letters were contacted to
participate in the study. Of the parent names provided through classroom lists, attempts
were made to equally fill each of the four groups by locating areas of residence through
matching names with the telephone book. Mothers were interviewed until the minimum
criteria of 12 subjects per group was achieved. The researcher contacted mothers by
phone and explained the purpose of the study, the procedure, and the time commitment
(Appendix D). Upon determining that the mother met criteria for participation in the
study she was invited to participate. Criteria included (a) having at least one child
between the ages of five years and eight years, living in the home, who was the mother's
natural (biological) child; (b) be either white Anglo American of at least a second
generation or black African American of at least a second generation; and (c) having two
adults, acting as parental figures, living in the home together for at least three years.

84
Subjects
The sample consisted of 57 mothers representing four different groups: (a) lower
educational level (high school graduate or less) white Anglo American, second generation;
(b) higher educational level (at least one year of college) white Anglo American, second
generation; (c) lower educational level (high school graduate or less) black African
American, second generation, and (d) higher educational level (at least one year of
college) black African American, second generation.
Demographic information regarding the mother's race, marital status, educational
level, and occupation along with source of additional income and that person's educational
level and occupation was gathered. Twenty-seven African-American mothers were
interviewed of which 15 were higher educational level and 12 were lower educational
level. Thirty Caucasian mothers were interviewed of which 15 were higher educational
level and 15 were lower educational level. All mothers were involved in significant
relationships, but classified themselves differently. Of the African-American mothers 20
were married, 3 were single, 3 were separated, and 1 was divorced. Of the Caucasian
mothers 28 were married, 1 was single, and 1 was divorced. Occupational levels were
determined according to criteria of the Four Factor Index of Social Status by Hollingshead
(1975). In the African-American sample 1 mother was not employed, 1 was employed at
a menial service or unskilled worker level, 12 were employed at a semiskilled, skilled or

85
clerical level, 10 were employed at a semiprofessional or minor professional level, and 2
were employed at a lesser or major professional level. In the Caucasian sample 5 mothers
were not employed, 3 were employed at a menial service or unskilled worker level, 14
were employed at a semiskilled, skilled or clerical level, and 8 were employed at a
semiprofessional or minor professional level.
Data Collection
Upon giving her agreement to participate, an appointment was made with each
mother to meet with the researcher at a mutually agreeable site for an interview, lasting
approximately one hour. The researcher again explained the purpose of the study and
addressed any questions the mother may have had at that time. The informed consent was
signed and she was provided with a copy (Appendix E).
The interview began with the collection of demographic information, (Appendix
A). Following this, the Person Centered Communication Assessment was administered
with responses audio-taped. Three sub-scales of the Colorado Self-Report Measure of
Family Functioning followed along with the Family Regime Assessment Scale. Finally, the
Parenting Preferences Inventory (Appendix B) was administered. The assessment process
took approximately one hour and was conducted with the interviewer present to answer
any questions which may have arisen.

86
Instrumentation
Demographic information was collected verbally and included mother's race,
marital status, educational level, occupation, number and ages of children living in the
household, as well as marital status, educational level, and occupation of the other
parental figure in the home. Four assessment tools were used in this study: (a) the
Person-Centered Communication Assessment; (b) the Democratic, Laissez-Faire, and
Authoritarian sub-scales of the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning; (c)
the Family Regime Assessment Scale; and (d) the Parenting Preferences Inventory.
The Person-Centered Communication Assessment
Measurement of the participants' styles of parent-child communication was
accomplished through the use of the Person-Centered Communication Assessment
developed by Applegate, Burke, Burleson, Delia, and Kline (1985). This instrument is
based on a constructivist's approach to communication, which emphasizes the
interrelations among stable individual differences in social-cognitive and verbal strategies.
The development of communicative abilities is seen as grounded in the development of a
system of social cognitive schemas, the most basic of which are interpersonal constructs.
These constructs are defined as bipolar cognitive structures developed and used to
interpret, anticipate, and evaluate the thoughts and behaviors of others.

87
Subjects are asked to respond to seven hypothetical situations which describe
typical parent-child communication exchanges. Five of the situations describe
circumstances requiring the mother to regulate or discipline her child's behavior. Two of
the situations present circumstances requiring the mother to provide comfort or emotional
support to her child Mothers are asked to state explicitly what they would say in each
situation. Probe questions or role-playing (with the interviewer playing the role of the
child) are used as needed to encourage mothers to respond fully and to provide actual
messages rather than abstract discussion.
Individual differences in the person-centered quality of the mother's
communication is assessed by the use of two parallel six-level hierarchical coding systems.
The specific aspect of person-centered communication focused on is the extent to which
mother's regulative and comforting strategies encourage the child to reflect upon and
reason through relevant behaviors, feelings, and circumstances. Regulative strategies are
scored by the degree to which the mother encourages the child to modify his/her behavior
as a function of reflecting on and reasoning through the nature and consequences of
his/her inappropriate behavior. Comforting strategies are scored by the degree to which
the mother's response grants legitimacy to the child's feelings and encourages him/her to
reflect upon and seek an understanding of his/her feelings as related to the circumstances.
The seven individual situation scores are scored within the appropriate hierarchical coding

88
system, and are summed across regulative and comforting strategy to form a single index
of person-centered parental communication.
Interrater reliability coefficients (by intraclass correlation) were .85 for regulative
strategies and .90 for comforting strategies. Cross-situational consistency for the seven
situations, as assessed by Cronbach's coefficient alpha was .90 for the five regulative
situations and .80 for the two comforting situations. Construct validity was determined by
a comparison of three indices of interpersonal construct system development and the
assessments of person-centered parental communication.
The indices of construct differentiation and construct system integration were
assessed using a modified form of Crockett's (1965) Role Category Questionnaire. The
third index, construct system structure, was assessed using a modified form of Kelly's
(1955) Role Construct Repertory Test and coded for level of construct abstractness. In
general, the indices of interpersonal construct system development were moderately
associated with the assessments of person-centered parental communication. All three of
the construct system indices were significantly and positively associated with the degree of
person-centeredness exhibited in regulative strategies with construct abstractness being
the strongest predictor (r = 49). Abstractness was the only significant construct system
predictor for the degree of person-centeredness exhibited in comforting strategies (r =59).
Results from the multiple regression analysis were consistent with previous findings

89
indicating that construct abstractness is the most important aspect of construct system
development contributing to person-centered communication. The three indices of
person-centered parental communication were positively intercorrelated at highly
significant levels for both regulative and comforting strategies, indicating that a
considerable degree of coherence exists in the quality of communicative strategies used
across communicative functions, and justifying summing across them to form a single
index of person-centered parental communication. There were also significant
associations between the two indices of socioeconomic status and both the construct
system and communicative behavior indices. Even when the influence of socioeconomic
status was partialed out, the construct system indices generally remained significant
predictors of person-centered communication. Finally, the results of the path analysis, for
assessment of the extent to which the impact of social class on person-centered
communication is mediated by the interpersonal construct system, support the notions that
(a) the level of construct system development is a direct determinant of
person-centeredness in parental communication patterns, and (b) the effect of social-class
on parental communication patterns is mediated through the interpersonal construct
system.

90
The Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning
Measurement of family functioning was assessed through the administration of the
Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning developed by Bernard Bloom
(1985). According to Bloom, this instrument was developed in an attempt to create an
improved self-report measure of family functioning, by starting with an already created
scale, maximizing its psychometric robustness while minimizing its length, and then
determining by means of cluster analytic, factor analytic, and correlational techniques,
whether subsequently examined scales included dimensions of family functioning not
identified by the scales previously assessed.
Four scales were serially assessed. The Family Environment Scale developed by
Moos and Moos (1981) assesses the social climate of families. It focuses on the
interpersonal relationships among family members, on personal growth dimensions, and on
efforts at family system maintenance. The Family-Concept Q Sort developed by van der
Veen (1965) assesses member's concepts of their family with regards to functioning. The
Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales developed by Olson, Sprenkle, and
Russell (1979) is based on their identification of cohesion, (the emotional bonding
members have with one another and the degree of individual autonomy a person
experiences in the family system), and adaptability, (the ability of a family system to
change its power structure, role relationships, and relationship rules in response to

91
situational and developmental stresses), as the two most fundamental dimensions of family
functioning. The Family Assessment Measure developed by Skinner, Steinhauer, and
Santa-Barbara (1983) consists of three separate scales which measure (a) the family as a
whole, (b) the relationships between dyads, and (c) the relationships of the respondent to
the entire family. By the end of the fourth study, a 75-item instrument had been
constructed. Within each study the instrument responses were analyzed by means of
cluster analysis and those items loading highest were selected. The shortened scales were
then examined in terms of their reliability (Cronbach alpha), their average inter-item
correlations, and their correlations with the original scales.
Moos has suggested that family functioning can be thought of in terms of three
major dimensions. The relationship dimension is defined as the extent to which family
members feel they belong to and are proud of their family, the extent to which there is
open expression within the family, and the degree to which conflictual interactions are
characteristic of the family. The results of Bloom's studies suggest that other components
constitute part of the relationship dimension including family sociability, the extent to
which family members seek and derive gratification from social interactions with others;
family idealization, the extent to which the family is prized by its members; and
disengagement, the extent to which family members fail to be drawn to each other or to be
interdependent. The personal growth dimension is indexed by the level of emphasis within

92
the family on specific developmental processes which may be fostered by family living. It
appears to comprise a set of value orientations including intellectual-cultural values,
active-recreational values, and moral-religious values. Bloom adds that the list of family
values which could be identified include political orientation, orientation toward kin,
family history, health, sexuality, and values associated with childrearing. The system
maintenance dimension yields information about the structure or organization within the
family and about the degree of control which is exerted by family members over each
other. Bloom suggests that the concept of control be expanded from the extent to which
the family is organized in a hierarchical manner, the rigidity of family rules and procedures,
and the extent to which family members order each other around to three relatively
independent components democratic family style, the extent to which decision-making
is based upon full participation of all family members; laissez-faire family style, the extent
to which rules governing family behavior fail to exist or to be enforced; and authoritarian
family style, the extent to which parents are the locus of rule making and punishment.
Bloom also identifies locus of control, the extent to which family fate is seen as a function
of circumstances beyond the family's control, and enmeshment, the extent to which family
members are seen as insisting on interdependence to the exclusion of individualiity.
Subjects are asked to respond in a 4-choice format, ("very untrue for my family,"
"fairly untrue for my family," "fairly true for my family," "very true for my family"). The

93
decision to employ a 4-choice format for questions was made on the ground that a
two-choice, (true-false), format was not suitable for factor analytic studies that depended
on stable zero-order correlation coefficients, and that a 9-choice format demanded a
greater level of discrimination than could be effectively used by someone completing a
paper and pencil questionnaire.
In order to provide an assessment of the validity of the self-report measure of
family functioning, scores obtained on each of the scales were contrasted, as a function of
age of respondent and marital status of parents, by means of a two-way analysis of
variance. Significant differences in scale scores as a function of parental marital status
were found in 12 of the 15 scales. Relative to disrupted families, intact families were
described as significantly more cohesive and expressive; less conflicted; higher in
intellectual-cultural, active-recreational, and religious orientation; more sociable; less
external in their locus of control, more idealized; less disengaged; higher in democratic
family style; and lower in laissez-faire family style. As a function of age of the subject,
differences reflect growing disengagement of family members, growing laissez-faire family
style, and decreasing expressiveness with increasing age. Cronbach alphas ranged
between .49 and .85 with a mean of .71; average inter-item correlations ranged from .13
to .53 with a mean of .36; and scale intercorrelations ranged from .03 to.73 with a mean
of .28. Specifically, for the three sub-scales to be used in this study, Democratic Family

94
Style had a Cronbach Alpha of .79, .83, and .65 in each of the three studies respectively
and an average inter-item correlation of .44, .50, .28 respectively; Laissez-Faire Family
Style had a Cronbach Alpha of .72, .68, .71 in each of the three studies respectively and an
average inter-item correlation of .34, .30, .34 respectively; and Authoritarian Family Style
had a Cronbach Alpha of .69, .66, .40 in each of the three studies respectively and an
average inter-item correlation of .31, .28, .13 respectively. As noted, the independence of
the sub-scale analyses allows the use of any number of the sub-scales without the necessity
of administering the entire instrument. Results of the rotated varimax factor analysis
showed a total of 13 factors with eigenvalues in excess of 1.00, together accounting for
88.4 percent of the communality. Because several of the scales were highly
intercorrelated and appeared to be part of the same general factor, a second-order factor
analysis of the 15 scale scores was computed, finding two-second order factors. Although
the components of the second factor differed in between Study III and IV, the first factor
included heavy loadings of the Cohesion, Expressiveness, and Family Idealization scores in
both samples. In examining the scales that are highly correlated with the measure of
family idealization, it was found that idealized families are characterized by high cohesion
and expressiveness, very little conflict, a high active-recreational orientation, high
sociability, an internal locus of control, a sense of engagement with one another, a
democratic family style, and an absence of a laissez-faire approach to life.

95
Examining the intercorrelations between scale scores offers another approach in
conceptualizing family functioning. All six components of the relationship dimension are
significantly correlated with each other while still maintaining their own integrity.
Cohesion appears to be the central concept and is powerfully correlated in a positive
direction with measures of expressiveness, sociability, and family idealization, and in a
negative direction with measures of conflict and disengagement. The three components of
the value dimension are positively correlated with each other, although quite modestly in
the case of intellectual-cultural and religious orientations. Among the system maintenance
variables, external locus of control appears to be the central concept, with it significantly
positively correlated with laissez-faire and authoritarian family styles, and enmeshment,
and significantly negatively correlated with organization and democratic family style. The
family style measures were negatively correlated with each and the size of the coefficients
not remarkable, lending support to Constantine's (1986) report that families are not
necessarily pure within one paradigm.
The Family Regime Assessment Scale
Measurement of family structure, was attempted through the administration of
The Family Regime Assessment Scale developed by Imig and Phillips (1992). This scale
was developed in an effort to quantitatively operationalize Paradigmatic Family Theory

96
(Constantine, 1986; Kantor & Lehr, 1975). The use of one sub-scale was endorsed by Dr.
Imig, as the two scales are independent of one another in their reliability testing.
There is growing recognition among scholars that the prevailing positivistic modes
of inquiry are unlikely to provide the understanding necessary to effectively enhance the
quality of family life. It is, therefore, important to recognize that the dialectical logic
underpinning the construct of family paradigm represents a non-positivistic approach to
the conceptualizations of families. The essence of positivism rests on the presumption of
objectivity and that there is one paradigmatic interpretation of reality. The dialectical
notion of family paradigm as represented by unified family process theory (Constantine,
1986, 1987) specifies that there are four uniquely different and stereotypically distinct
ways of understanding and therefore creating four different realities closed, random,
open, and synchronous structures. The closed perspective uses attenuating feedback and
explicit hierarchical organization to achieve continuity and stability. Random uses
amplifying feedback and horizontal organization to achieve innovation and change. Open
synthesizes both attenuating and amplifying feedback, and vertical and horizontal
organization to achieve an adaptive form of practicality. Synchronous relies on
consentaneity, identification and implicit coordination to achieve a harmonious sense of
flow and perfection.

97
Constantine (1986) describes three levels of family systems analysis: paradigm,
representing the family's world view and implicitly comprehended by family members and
reflective of their assumptive level of understanding; regime, delineating the structure of
the family; and process, representing the behaviors the family and its members manifest in
their daily activities. The Family Regime Assessment Scale is aimed at the regime level of
analysis, assessing how family members structurally perceive access dimensions, (time,
energy, space, and the material world), and target dimensions (control, affect, meaning,
and context) of their family system.
Kantor and Lehr (1975) suggest that the family system is comprised of three types
of subsystems individual, interpersonal, and family-unit subsystems. The family system
attempts to utilize strategies intended to maximize the potential for each subsystem to
achieve its targets. The relative success of the strategies, or lack of, is called enablement
or disablement and is conceptualized as a continuous variable. Four sets of regime
attributes (closed, random, open, synchronous) were developed for each of the four target
dimensions (control, affect, meaning, and context) and for the four access dimensions
(time, energy, space, and material transactions). Attributes were selected by identifying
those that when comparatively considered by the respondant in a simultaneous manner
would elicit images of four distinct sets of structures.

98
In an attempt to keep with the intended non-positivistic orientation of the scale a
scaling procedure called the Multiattribute Utility Technology (MAUT) (Edwards &
Newman, 1982) was chosen. The MAUT uses an interval level procedure for collecting
and organizing perceptually derived evaluative data. Subjects are instructed to place a
value of 10 by the group of regime attributes within a dimension that is most like their
family. The subjects are then instructed to comparatively assign a value ranging from 0 to
9 to the second group of regime attributes that was next most like their family, and so on.
Values are not considered mutually exclusive and may be repeated with the exception of a
10.
Data analysis is accomplished by the MAUT utilizing a technique of data
manipulation that transforms raw scores into coefficients. For each dimension, the four
raw scores are summed and transformed into decimals (coefficients) by dividing each raw
score by the summed score. After the procedure is repeated for all dimensions, the eight
groups of coefficients are interpreted to represent the quantitative assessment of the family
members' perceptions regarding the structural use of individual dimensions. The authors
report that they found that some families may prefer certain access or target dimensions
over others while other families may experience it differently, yet both share the same
regime structure. The Family Regime Assessment Scale was therefore modified to include
the access and target dimensions. The data generated by the Family Regime Assessment

99
Scale can be ordered in a hierarchical manner and then reviewed by quartile percentages to
determine the relative priority given to each (Imig, 1993).
Since Constantine (1987, 1993) and Imig (personal communication November,
1996; December, 1996; and February, 1997) have hypothesized that families rarely
perceive themselves as being exclusively one of the four paradigms, the Family Regime
Assessment Scale generates cluster scores, a series of four numbers, each of which
corresponds to one of the four paradigms. Taken together, the four numbers represents
the family's members' address, or location, on the three-dimensional tetrahedron. The
cluster scores are based on the coefficients of the raw scores as follows: <.10=0;
.10 29=1; .30.49=2; .50- 69=3; ,70-.80=4; and .90-1.00=5.
Parenting Preferences Inventory
The measurement of preferences for use of behavioral and verbal interaction as a
means of child-management was assessed through the use of the Parenting Preferences
Inventory. This instrument was developed by the researcher to assess the mother's
child-management values as determined by her prescribed use of (a) behavioral interaction
and belief in the need for involvement in the management of her child, and (b) verbal
interaction and belief in encouragement of expressiveness.
The 30 item instrument consists of 16 statements describing either high or low
parental behavioral involvement and interaction with regards to child-management and 14

100
statements describing either high or low parental encouragement of verbal interaction
between parent and child. Responses are based on a Likert-type scale with possible
choices being: 0 Never; 1 Almost Never; 2 Seldom, 3 Half the time; 4 Frequently;
5 Almost always; 6 Always. Items have been coded with regards to high or low
behavioral interaction and involvement by the parent, and high or low verbal interaction
and expressiveness encouraged by the parent so that each of these two dimensions can be
summed and plotted on a two-by-two grid. The two dimensions of parenting preferences
then categorize parents into one of the four corresponding family paradigms.
To establish content validity, this instrument was examined by three experts in the
fields of human development and marriage and family studies. Item total correlation was
computed to determine the internal reliability of this instrument: a Cronbach Alpha of .66
was computed for the behavioral interaction sub-scale and a Cronbach Alpha of .56 was
computed for the verbal interaction sub-scale.
Data Analysis
A series of chi-square analyses and a series of two-way analyses of variance were
conducted to test hypotheses one and two to determine the frequency with which mothers
differing by educational level and race chose each of the four family paradigms.
A series of regression analyses were conducted to test hypotheses three through
eight to determine the effect of family paradigmatic preference on the variables:

101
child-management values (level of behavioral involvement/interaction and level of verbal
interaction/expressiveness); family-management style (Democratic, Laissez-Faire, and
Authoritarian); and child-centered communication.

CHAPTER 4
RESULTS
This study was designed to determine whether mothers with differing parental
characteristics would demonstrate differences in parenting beliefs and style. More
specifically, it was designed to determine whether mothers differing in race and level of
education would demonstrate differences in their family paradigmatic preference.
Secondly, its purpose was to determine whether mothers differing in family paradigmatic
preference would report differences in (a) child-management values for level of verbal
interaction and expressiveness, and level of behavioral interaction and involvement, (b)
family-management style: democratic, laissez-faire, authoritarian, and (c) level of
child-centered communication. The sample consisted of 57 mothers of children ages five
to eight years: 15 were African-American, higher educational level, 12 were
African-American, lower educational level, 15 were Caucasian, higher educational level,
and 15 were Caucasian, lower educational level. The means and standard deviations for
the study variables were computed for each of the four sub-sample groups. These appear
in Table 3. In this chapter, the results of the study are presented as they pertain to the
eight hypotheses posed.
102

103
Table 3
Level
African-American
White Anglo-American
lo educ. level / hi educ. level
lo educ. level / hi educ. level
n=12 n=15
n=15 n=15
Closed
M
3.67
3.33
2.94
3.46
SD
.98
1.23
1.39
.97
Random
M
3.58
3.87
3.65
3.77
SD
1.38
.99
1.11
.73
Open
M
4.67
4.80
4.41
4.92
SD
.49
.56
1.00
.28
Synchronous
M
1.83
1.60
1.59
1.62
SD
1.11
.99
1.12
.96
Behavioral
management
M
79.00
74.27
73.06
71.54
Verbal
SD
7.35
6.58
5.44
7.88
management
M
58.08
54.80
53.00
52.77
SD
6.36
3.71
6.59
8.13
Democratic
M
9.33
9.93
9.29
8.31
SD
2.77
1.16
2.44
2.32
Laissez-faire
M
3.75
4.07
4.59
3.38
SD
1.42
1.44
1.62
1.33
Authoritarian
M
8.83
8.07
8.41
9.54
SD
2.08
1.75
2.06
1.71
Parent-child
Regulative
M
27.75
28.87
26.47
27.38
SD
4.22
5.18
6.24
5.14
M
19.17
19.73
18.41
18.08
SD
3.33
4.32
4.73
4.03
M
8.58
9.13
8.06
9.31
SD
1.83
1.55
2.19
1.84
Comforting

104
Research Hypotheses
Hypothesis One
Mothers differing in educational level will demonstrate no differences in family
paradigmatic preferences as measured by The Family Regime Assessment Scale.
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a series of four different two-way
analyses of variance which assessed the effects of educational level (level 1, high school
diploma or less; level 2, at least one year of college) on the variability of family
paradigmatic preference as measured by scores derived from The Family Regime
Assessment Scale. Scores ranged from 0 to 10, with 10 representing that statement most
accurately describing the participant's family. Analyses were conducted testing interaction
effects between educational level and race.
The results of the four different two-way analyses of variance assessing the effect
of educational level on the mothers' family paradigm preferences are presented in Table 4.
Only main effects are presented as no interaction effects were found. As the data shows,
no significant differences in family paradigm preference, closed (F=.13, df=l,54, p= 7196),
random (F=. 49, df=l,54, p=4864), open (F=3.39, df=l,54, p=0711, warrants further
research), and synchronous (F=.12, df=l,54, p=7299) were reported by women differing
in educational level.

105
A chi-square analysis was also performed to determine if family paradigmatic
preferences differed among educational levels. No significant differences were evidenced,
however, it approached significance that lower educated mothers were less likely to report
preferring an open family paradigm (X*=3.539, df=l, p=.060).
Table 4
Analysis of Variance to Assess Differences in Family Paradigmatic Preference Due to
Mothers' Educational Level
Source
of Variation
df
Type III
Sums of Squares
F
Closed
1,54
.1850
.13
Random
1,54
.5542
.49
Open
1,54
1.5445
3.39
Synchronous
1,54
.1309
.12
*p< 05
Because no significant differences in family paradigm preference based on mother's
educational level were found, Hypothesis One failed to be rejected.
Hypothesis Two
Mothers differing in race will demonstrate no differences in family paradigmatic
preferences, as measured by The Family Regime Assessment Scale.

106
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a series of four different two-way
analyses of variance which assessed the effects of race (African-American; Caucasian) on
the variability of family paradigmatic preference as measured by scores derived from The
Family Regime Assessment Scale. Scores ranged from 0 to 10, with 10 representing that
statement most accurately describing the participant's family. Analyses were conducted
testing interaction effects between educational level and race.
The results of the four separate two-way analyses of variance assessing the effect
of race on the mothers' family paradigm preferences are presented in Table 5. Only main
effects are presented as no interactions were found. As the data shows, no significant
differences in family paradigmatic preference, closed (F=.89, df=l,54, p=.3493), random
(F=.00, df=l,54, p=9540), open (F=. 14, df=l,54, p=.7124), and synchronous (F=. 17,
df=l,54, p=6801) were reported by women differing in race.
A chi-square analysis was also performed to determine whether family
paradigmatic preferences differed by race. No significant differences were found.
Because no significant differences in family paradigmatic preference based on
mother's race were found, Hypothesis Two failed to be rejected.
Hypothesis Three
After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference will demonstrate no differences in child-management values for

107
level of verbal interaction and expressiveness as measured by the Parenting Preferences
Inventory.
Table 5
Analysis of Variance to Assess Differences in Family Paradigmatic Preference Due to
Mother's Race
Source
of Variation
df
Type III
Sums of Squares
F
Closed
1,54
1.2665
.89
Random
1,54
.0038
.00
Open
1,54
.0626
.14
Synchronous
1,54
.1868
.17
*p<05
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a regression analysis which assessed the
effects of educational level (level 1, high school diploma or less; level 2, at least one year
of college), race (African-American; Caucasian), and family paradigmatic preference
(closed, random, open, synchronous) on the child-management value for level of verbal
interaction and expressiveness as measured by scores derived from the Parenting
Preferences Inventory. Scores ranged from 0 to 6, with 6 representing a high degree of
agreement with the statement. Half the statements used a score of 6 as representative of

108
high verbal interaction and expressiveness and half were reversed, so that a score of 6
corresponded with low verbal involvement. Analyses were conducted testing interaction
effects between educational level and race.
The results of the analysis of the mothers' perceptions of their involvement with
their children are presented in Table 6. Only main effects are reported as no interaction
effects were found. As the data in this table depicts, there were no significant differences
in encouragement of verbal expressiveness reported by women differing in family
paradigmatic preference, closed (F=. 19, df=l,50, p=.6627), random (F=.21, df=l,50,
p=.6465), open (F=1.03, df=l,50, p=.3140), and synchronous (F= 45, df=l,50, p=.5065).
No significant differences were found in mothers' educational level (F= 1.33, df=l,50,
p=.2547), however, significant differences were reported by women differing in race
(F=4.46, df=l,50, p=.0397), with African-American mothers reporting a higher
child-management value for verbal interaction and expressiveness.
Because no significant differences in child-management values for verbal
interaction and expressiveness were evidenced among mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference, Hypothesis Three failed to be rejected.
Hypothesis Four
After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference will demonstrate no differences in child-management values for

109
level of behavioral interaction and involvement as measured by the Parenting Preferences
Inventory.
Table 6
Regression Analysis to Assess the Difference in Level of Verbal Interaction Due to Family
Paradigmatic Preference
Source
of Variation
df
Type III
Sums of Squares
F
Closed
1,50
7.8819
.19
Random
1,50
8.7123
.21
Open
1,50
42.3523
1.03
Synchronous
1,50
18.3224
.45
Educational level
1,50
54.3406
1.33
Race
1,50
182.5909
4.46 *
*p<05
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a regression analysis which assessed the
effects of educational level (level 1, high school diploma or less; level 2, at least one year
of college ), race (African-American; Caucasian), and family paradigmatic preference
(closed, random, open, synchronous) on the child-management value for level of behavior
interaction and involvement as measured by scores derived from the Parenting Preferences
Inventory. Scores ranged from 0 to 6, with 6 representing a high degree of agreement

110
with the statement. Half the statements used a score of 6 as representative of high
behavioral interaction and involvement and half were reversed, so that a score of 6
corresponded with low behavioral involvement. Analyses were conducted testing
interaction effects between educational level and race.
The results of the analysis of the mothers' perceptions of their involvement with
their children are presented in Table 7. Only main effects are reported as no interaction
effects were found. As the data in this table depicts, there were no significant differences
in behavior interaction and involvement reported by women differing in family
paradigmatic preferences, closed (F=. 12, df=l,50, p=.7265), open (F=.49, df=l,50,
p=.4880), and synchronous (F= .03, df=l,50, p=.8660). The random paradigm (F=2.82,
df=l,50, p=.0992) indicates that mothers ascribing to this paradigm may be less likely to
perceive themselves as highly involved with their children. No significant differences were
found in mothers' educational level (F1.51, df=l,50, p=.2241), however, a significant
difference was reported by women differing in race (F=6.02, df=l,50, p=.0177), with
African-American mothers reporting a higher child-management value for behavioral
interaction and involvement.
Because no significant difference in child-management values for behavioral
interaction and involvement were evidenced among mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference, Hypothesis Four failed to be rejected.

Ill
Table 7
Regression Analysis to Assess the Difference in Level of Behavioral Interaction Due to
Family Paradigmatic Preference
Source
df
Type III
F
of Variation
Sums of Squares
Closed
1,50
5.7002
.12
Random
1,50
130.0323
2.82
Open
1,50
22.4920
.49
Synchronous
1,50
1.3248
.03
Educational level
1,50
69.8022
1.51
Race
1,50
277.4244
6.02 *
* p<05
Hypothesis Five
After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference will demonstrate no difference in family-management style as
measured by the Democratic sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family
Functioning.
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a regression analysis which assessed the
effects of educational level (level 1, high school diploma or less; level 2, at least one year
of college), race ( African-American; Caucasian), and family paradigmatic preference

112
(closed; random; open; synchronous) on family-management style as measured by scores
derived from the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning. Scores ranged
from 0 to 3 with 3 indicating that statement as true for the family. Statements described a
democratic family-management style. Analyses were conducted testing interaction effects
between educational level and race.
The results of the analysis of the mothers' perceptions of their democratic family
management style are presented in Table 8. As the data in this table depicts, no significant
differences were found with democratic family-style and closed (F=.57, df=l,49,
p=.4523), random (F=.76, df=l,49, p=3875), or synchronous (F=1.15, df=l,49, p=.2878)
paradigms, however, the open paradigm was found to be significantly related to the
democratic family-management style (F=5.73, df=l,49, p=.0205) with mothers ascribing
to this paradigm reporting a preference for a democratic family-management style. No
significant differences were evidenced between this family style and mother's educational
level (F=1.18, df=l,49, p=.2830) or mother's race (F=1.51, df=l,49, p=.2243), however,
an interaction effect between African-American, higher educated mothers and a
democratic style points to the need for further research in this area (F=2.95, df=l,49,
p=,0923).

113
Table 8
Regression Analysis to Assess Frequency of Democratic Family-Management Style Due
to Family Paradigmatic Preference
Source
of Variation
df
Type III
Sums of Squares
F
Closed
1,49
2.7133
.57
Random
1,49
3.5934
.76
Open
1,49
27.0979
5.73 *
Synchronous
1,49
5.4597
1.15
Educational level
1,49
5.5699
1.18
Race
1,49
7.1605
1.51
Educ x Race
1,49
13.9355
2.95
*p<05
In summary, mothers reporting an open paradigmatic preference also report the
use of a democratic family-management style, thus, the findings from this sample of
women support the decision to reject Hypothesis Five.
Hypothesis Six
After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference will demonstrate no difference in family-management style as

114
measured by the Laissez-Faire sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family
Functioning.
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a regression analysis which assessed the
effects of educational level (level 1, high school diploma or less; level 2, at least one year
of college), race ( African-American; Caucasian), and family paradigmatic preference
(closed; random; open; synchronous) on family-management style as measured by scores
derived from the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning. Scores ranged
from 0 to 3 with 3 indicating that statement as true for the family. Statements described a
laissez-faire family-management style. Analyses were conducted testing interaction effects
between educational level and race.
The results of the analysis of the mother's perceptions of their laissez-faire
family-management style are depicted in Table 9. As the data indicate no significant
differences were found with laissez-faire family style and closed (F= 81, df=l,49,
p=.3719), open (F=. 15, df=l,49, p=.7016), random (F=.02, df=l,49, p=.8820), or
synchronous (F=1.61, df=l,49, p=.2108). No significant differences were evidenced
between this family style and mother's educational level (F=1.33, df=l,49, p=.2540) or
race (F=. 18, df=l,49, p=.6714), however, a significant relationship was found in the
interaction effects between Caucasian, lower educated mothers and a preference for a
laissez-faire family-management style (F=4.74, df=l,49, p=.0343).

115
Table 9
Regression Analysis to Assess Frequency of Laissez-Faire Family-Management Style Due
to Family Paradigmatic Preference
Source
of Variation
df
Type III
Sums of Squares
F
Closed
1,49
1.7640
.81
Random
1,49
.0484
.02
Open
1,49
.3225
.15
Synchronous
1,49
3.4924
1.61
Educational level
1,49
2.8933
1.33
Race
1,49
.3956
.18
Educ x Race
1,49
10.2987
4.74 *
*p<05
Because no significant difference in ]
preference for a laissez-faire
family-management style was evidenced among mothers differing in
family paradigmatic
preference, Hypothesis Six failed to be rejected.
Hypothesis Seven
After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference will demonstrate no difference in family-management style as

116
measured by the Authoritarian sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family
Functioning.
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a regression analysis which assessed the
effects of educational level (level 1, high school diploma or less; level 2, at least one year
of college), race ( African-American; Caucasian), and family paradigmatic preference
(closed; random, open; synchronous) on family-management style as measured by scores
derived from the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning. Scores ranged
from 0 to 3 with 3 indicating that statement as true for the family. Statements described
an authoritarian family-management style. Analyses were conducted testing interaction
effects between educational level and race.
The results of the analysis of the mothers' perceptions of their authoritarian
family-management style are depicted in Table 10. As the data indicate, no significant
differences were found with authoritarian family-style and closed (F=2.16, df=l,49,
p=.1479), open (F=.23, dfr=l,49, p=.6363), random (F=2.42, df=l,49, p=. 1260), or
synchronous (F=.72, df=l,49, p=.3992). No significant differences were evidenced
between this family style and mother's educational level (F=. 51, df=l,49, p=4785) or race
(F=.64, df=l,49, p= 4261), however, a significant relationship was found in the interaction
effects indicating a preference for an authoritarian family style by Caucasian, higher
educated mothers (F=4.12, df=l,49, p=.0479).

117
Table 10
Regression Analysis to Assess Frequency of Authoritarian Family-Management Style Due
to Family Paradigmatic Preference
Source
of Variation
df
Type III
Sums of Squares
F
Closed
1,49
7.9800
2.16
Random
1,49
8.9464
2.42
Open
1,49
.8359
.23
Synchronous
1,49
2.6712
.72
Educational level
1,49
1.8834
.51
Race
1,49
2.3782
.64
Educ x Race
1,49
15.2055
4.12 *
*p< 05
Because no significant difference in preference for an authoritarian
family-management style was evidenced among mothers differing in family paradigmatic
preference, Hypothesis Seven failed to be rejected.
Hypothesis Eight
After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference will demonstrate no differences in levels of child-centered
communication as measured by the Person-Centered Communication Assessment.

118
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a regression analysis which assessed the
effects of educational level (level 1, high school diploma or less; level 2, at least one year
of college), race (African-American; Caucasian), and family paradigmatic preference
(closed; random; open; synchronous) on self-enhancing parent-child communication as
measured by the Parent-Child Communication Assessment. Scores ranged from 1 to 6,
with high scores indicating a high effort on the part of the mother to encourage reflection
in her child. Analyses were conducted testing interaction effects between educational
level and race.
The results of the analysis of the mothers' self-enhancing parent-child
communication are presented in Table 11. As the data in this table depicts, no significant
differences were found in parent-child communication reported by women differing in
family paradigmatic preference, closed (F= 20, df=l,50, p=.6549), random (F= 1.51,
df=l,50, p=.2243), open (F=.23, df=l,50, p=.6350), and synchronous (F=.27, df=l,50,
p=.6066). No significant differences were reported by women differing in educational
level (F=. 19, dfM,50, p=6678) or race (F-.67, dfM,50, p=4175).
Because no significant differences in self-enhancing parent-child communication
were evidenced among mothers differing in family paradigmatic preference, Hypothesis
Eight failed to be rejected.

119
Table 11
Regression Analysis to Assess Frequency with which Mothers use Person-Centered
Communication Due to Family Paradigmatic Preference
Source
of Variation
df
Type III
Sums of Squares
F
Closed
1,50
5.8237
.20
Random
1,50
43.5892
1.51
Open
1,50
6.5712
.23
Synchronous
1,50
7.7319
.27
Educational level
1,50
5.3665
.19
Race
1,50
19.2488
.67
*p<05
Post-Hoc Analyses
While conducting analyses to assess the significance level of the proposed
hypotheses, it was noted that several significant correlations existed between
family-management style and mother's race, educational level and parent-child
communication and interaction values. A series of regression analyses of mothers'
sub-scale responses on The Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning were
therefore conducted.

120
The results of these analyses revealed that Caucasian lower educated mothers were
more likely to practice a laissez-faire family-management style (F=3.75, df=T,53,
p=.0582). A significant difference was evidenced by mothers ascribing to democratic
family-management style and maintaining a higher value for verbal interaction and
expressiveness (F=8.3, df=l,51, p=.0063). The relationship between a laissez-faire style
and a lack of importance placed on verbal interaction was also found to warrant further
study (F=3.61, df=l,51, p=0632).
Further significance was found in the relationship between African-American
mothers and a child-management value for behavioral interaction and involvement
(F=6.54, df=l,51, p= 0136) when comparing based on preferences of family-management
style. The relationship between lower educated mothers and a value for behavioral
interaction was also found to have significance based on family-management style
(F=4.07, df=l,51, p=.0490). It was also found, post-hoc, that mothers preferring a
democratic family style may not place a strong value on behavioral interaction with their
children (F=3.00, dfi=l,51, p=0896).
By comparing mothers differing in family-management style preference, it was
found that those mothers reporting that they practiced an authoritarian style were not as
likely to value self-enhancing person-centered communication (F= 2.83, df=l,51,
p=0984). Finally, on the portion of the person-centered communication scale focusing on

121
comforting communication, there were differences demonstrated by educational level with
the higher educated mothers reporting they were more likely to practice comforting
parent-child communication (F= 2.87, df=l,51, p=0962).
Summary
Chapter 4 contained a discussion of the analyses and results involved in this
research. The outcome of the findings was examined in light of the decision rule to reject
or fail to reject the null hypotheses. The statistical evidence derived from the analyses
resulted in the decision to reject Hypothesis Five.

CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION
The purpose of this study was to utilize family paradigmatic theory as a framework
for exploring the parenting attitudes, practices, and preferences of mothers of elementary
school aged children. Fifty-seven mothers were categorized by race, educational level,
and family paradigmatic preference and compared to determine if there were differences
among the groups of mothers in the manner in which they parented. The results of these
comparisons are reported in Chapter 4. In this chapter the results of these analyses will be
discussed, together with the limitations of the current study, suggestions for future
research, and the implications of these findings.
Discussion of the Results
Hypotheses 1 and 2
In Hypotheses One and Two the frequency with which mothers differing in
educational level and race were characterized by each of four differing family paradigms
was investigated. No significant differences were found. Thus, one can conclude from the
results of this study sample that family paradigm differences are not organized by race and
educational level membership. However, these findings are not in keeping with the
existing research demonstrating that parents' childrearing values, goals and behaviors are
122

123
strongly associated with parental educational level (Dekovic & Gerris, 1992; Schaefer &
Edgerton, 1985; Segal, 1985). Parents with a higher educational level tended to reason
about childrearing issues at more complex levels and according to their self-reports they
tended to endorse an authoritative, rather than authoritarian, pattern (Dekovic & Gerris,
1992). Furthermore, these findings contradict research documenting that the manner in
which cultural groups approach communication, autonomy, discipline, competition, and
control influences parenting styles (Fantini & Cardenas, 1980; Ivey, 1986, McGoldrick,
1989; Sue, 1981) and that ethnicity is an important mediator of culture, contributing both
paradigmatic preferences and nuances (McGoldrick, Giordano & Pearce, 1983). Each
culture, drawing on its own symbolic traditions, supplies models for parental behavior that
when implemented under local conditions become culture-specific styles of parental
commitment (LeVine & White, 1987).
One possible reason for the failure to find significant differences in paradigmatic
preference in this group of women may be due to the small sample size. According to the
chi-square analyses conducted, the four cells representing the four paradigms, were fairly
evenly filled, however, numbers were small. Another possible reason may lie in the
decision to administer only the "real" portion of the questionnaire. By administering the
instrument in this manner, the subjects were only given an opportunity to respond as they
really see themselves and did not, additionally, report how they would like to ideally see

124
themselves. Without the ability to respond in both ways, participants may have been more
prone to respond in an idealistic manner.
Another possible reason for the lack of significant difference may also be explained
in reference to the range of the mothers' educational level. The possible categories ranged
from 1 to 7. Mothers were only represented in levels 2 to 7, however, and 83% of the
sample fell in levels 4, 5, and 6 (high school graduation to standard colige graduation) so
that perhaps there was not enough of a marked difference between educational levels.
Another reason for a lack of significant difference suggested by David Imig, the
developer of the Family Regime Assessment Scale (personal contact, February 10, 1997),
but beyond the scope of this paper, may be due to response variability to the different
system dimensions (content, affect, meaning, control, time, energy, space, and material)
assessed by the Family Regime Assessment Scale. Dr. Imig suggested that even when two
mothers appear to have the same paradigmatic preference, they may very well differ along
the dimensions within the chosen paradigm. For example, within the random paradigm,
one mother may allow freedom in relation to control, while another may feel a need for
less rigidity with regards to time, and yet both would appear to have the same general
preference for a random family paradigm. Thus the intergroup variability in parenting
practices of persons reporting the same paradigm preferences may lead to significant
group difference.

125
Still another possible reason for a lack of significant differences may be due to the
specific age of the children of the mothers used in this study. This young age (five years
to eight years) requires more of a structured and controlled situation, but mothers may still
respond with their ideal of, for instance, an open paradigm.
Hypotheses Three and Four
In Hypotheses Three and Four the frequency with which mothers differing in
family paradigmatic preference demonstrated differences in the child-management values
of verbal interaction and expressiveness, and behavioral interaction and involvement were
investigated. No significant differences in child-management values were reported by
mothers differing in family paradigmatic preference. Thus, one can conclude that for this
study sample the data did not support that family paradigmatic preference organizes
child-management values. This finding is surprising, due to the qualities of each of the
paradigms, which define them along lines of amount of interaction with others
(Constantine, 1986, 1993). It would be expected, therefore, that differences would be
evident among mothers with varying paradigmatic preferences.
In post-hoc analysis of mother's race and educational level as related to the
child-management values, it was determined that African-American mothers were more
likely to value high levels of verbal and behavioral interaction with their children than did
the Caucasian mothers. This does not necessarily follow in support of the research, which

126
stated that African-American family members tend to internalize feelings (Pinderhughes,
1982), were significantly less likely to express or state feelings and thoughts directly and
clearly, less apt to respond openly and receptively to efforts of family members to
interrupt or make personal statements, and likely to show a more consistent, less varied
range of feelings in their various interactional exchanges as well as less encouraging of
dependency needs in their children (Hines & Boyd-Franklin, 1982). No significant
difference was found in relation to level of education and family paradigmatic preference.
As stated earlier, research has supported the relationship of educational level and style of
parenting, with poorer child management skills (Patterson, Cobb, & Ray, 1972)
determined to be related to lower levels of education (Maijoribanks, 1991).
Again, the small sample size may contribute to the lack of significant difference
evidenced, as well as the limited representation in range of maternal educational levels.
Another possible explanation for the lack of differences found may be the attempt on the
part of the participants to "fake good" with regards to what appears to be positive in
society's eyes regarding amount of child-parent interaction. This inventory was created
with the hopes of discouraging a good-bad mode of thinking, but it is possible that some
mothers may have construed certain statements as such. Overall scores for the verbal
interaction sub-scale ranged from 34.00 to 67.00 with a mean of 54.49 and a standard

127
deviation of 6.49. Scores for the behavioral interaction sub-scale ranged from 58.00 to
90.00 with a mean of 74.28 and a standard deviation of 7.08.
Hypotheses Five. Six, and Seven
In Hypotheses Five, Six, and Seven the possible differences in the frequency with
which mothers differing by family paradigmatic preference demonstrate preferences for
particular family-management styles were investigated. Significant differences were not
found for any of the family-management styles in relation to the family paradigms except
for a portion of Hypothesis Five in which mothers expressing a preference for an open
family paradigm were found to report a democratic family-management style. Thus, one
can conclude that for this study sample the hypotheses that family-management styles and
family paradigmatic preference are related were not supported to the extent expected
This limited degree of significance was unexpected since this instrument was designed to
yield information about the structure within the family and about the degree of control
which is exerted by family members over each other. The definitions of the three
family-management styles assessed: democratic, (i.e., the extent to which decision-making
is based upon full participation of all family members); laissez-faire, (i.e., the extent to
which rules governing family behavior fail to exist or to be enforced); and authoritarian
style, (i.e., the extent to which parents are the locus of rule making and punishment), are
considered to be highly correlated with the family paradigms: open; random; and closed

128
and were, therefore, expected to show some sort of significance. It follows that the open
paradigm, valuing communication, shared roles, and defined, yet flexible boundaries
would be positively correlated with the democratic family-management style. It is the lack
of significance among the other paradigms and family-management styles that is surprising
as it would have been expected that the democratic style would have been negatively
correlated with the random, closed, and synchronous paradigms. It was also expected that
the laissez-faire style would have been negatively correlated with the closed, open, and
possibly synchronous paradigms, while being positively correlated with the random
paradigm. The authoritarian style was expected to be negatively correlated with the open,
random, and synchronous paradigms, while positively correlated with the closed
paradigm.
Again, perhaps the small sample size contributed to the lack of findings.
Attempting to answer appropriately and in the manner thought to be expected may have
also affected the results. Perhaps as a result of having the sub-scales listed on the
instrument, mothers were wary of choosing anything but a democratic and what they may
have considered socially appropriate style. Baumrind (1971, 1972) upon dividing
parenting types into the categories of permissive, authoritative, and authoritarian found
that the cultural significance of parental behaviors labeled by the typology as authoritarian
were not captured within the global, unidimensional framework of the typology. For

129
example, parental actions that fit within the authoritarian pattern within white families did
not result in an authoritarian "syndrome" among African-American girls, but instead
fostered toughness and self-sufficiency and was perceived as "nurturant care-taking." It
would have been expected, therefore, to have seen this relationship, however, if a mother
perceived "authoritarian" as negative and was able to note items with an authoritarian
flavor, then she may have not answered in a straightforward manner.
Poorer child management skills (Patterson, Cobb & Ray, 1972) were determined
to be related to lower levels of education which lends support to the post-hoc analyses
resulting in the finding of a significant relationship between Caucasian lower-educated
mothers and a laissez-faire family-management style, but which does not necessarily
support the finding that Caucasian higher-educated mothers prefer an authoritarian family
style.
Hypothesis Eight
In Hypothesis Eight the frequency with which mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference demonstrated differences in level of child-centered
communication was investigated. No significant differences were found Thus, for this
study sample it can be concluded that the data did not support that family paradigmatic
differences affect levels of child-centered communication. This is surprising due to the
aforementioned defining characteristics of each of the paradigms which focus on the

130
manner in which a mother exerts control including type and extent of communication with
her child. It would have also been expected, based on the research mentioned previously,
to have found differences in relation to race and educational level. Applegate and his
associates (1985) found that high levels of self-enhancing parent-child communication
were positively related to high levels of parent education. Dekovic and Gerris (1992)
reported a positive correlation between parental reasoning complexity and educational
level. This relationship was between parent educational level and the manner in which
parents reason and communicate with their children.
Reasons for the lack of differences found may be as a result of the attempt by
mothers to "fake good." Questions are asked orally, and it was noted during the
interviews that many mothers would apologize for their responses, questioned whether
others felt the same way, or joked by saying they would answer honestly once the tape
recorder was off.
Post-Hoc Analyses
The majority of significant findings reported in this study resulted from conducting
post-hoc analyses on the family-management style data. In these analyses it was found
that the democratic style was positively correlated with encouragement of verbal
interaction and expressiveness while a negative correlation between the democratic style
and behavioral interaction warrants further study. It was also determined that the

131
laissez-faire style approached significance as being negatively correlated with a value for
verbal interaction and that Caucasian, lower-educated mothers tended towards a more
laissez-faire style of family-management. It was also determined that African-American
mothers were more behaviorally involved as were lower educated mothers.
Focusing on person-centered communication, it was found to approach
significance that mothers practicing an authoritarian family-management style were less
likely to practice child-centered communication. Within the person-centered assessment,
it was found to be significant that higher educated mothers were more likely to practice
comforting levels of communication with their children. No significant correlations were
found between the assessment of person-centered communication and the level of verbal
and behavioral interaction. It was assumed that there would be a positive relationship,
especially between verbal expressiveness and person-centered communication. This lack
of correlation (r=. 199, p= 1373) suggests that perhaps these two assessment scales are not
measuring the same variable.
Save for the positive correlation between lower educated mothers and behavioral
interaction and involvement, these relationships are supported by the literature as
discussed under the eight hypotheses posed. It is possible that since the Colorado
Self-Report measures more concretely the rules and practices of the family than the Family
Regime Assessment Scale (which tends to focus more on organization and structure), the

132
actual behaviors being examined in the hopes of supporting paradigmatic preferences are
best measured first by family-management style and then linked to the family regime.
Limitations of the Study
There were a number of limitations inherent in the design of this study concerning
the instrumentation used and the nature of the sample. Although considerable effort was
made to select instruments demonstrating a strong record of technical validation and use
with which to assess the variable, in this study, in retrospect it appears that the instruments
chosen had some inherent limitations.
The instruments in this study relied on the use of self-report methods of
assessment. The questionnaire's accuracy is dependent upon the mother's memory, her
interpretation of the items, and the influence of social desirability although it can afford
greater control over socially desirable response sets than interviews, especially for
sensitive areas (Touliatos et al, 1990). The interview offered a broader range of
information, but is more difficult to quantify and interviewer bias must be considered with
a control for collusion. The Person-Centered Communication Assessment was conducted
in interview form, however it also involves a certain element of role-playing, requiring the
mother to verbally respond to an imagined situation with her child. This is helpful in
avoiding the forced-choice method which does not take into account any exceptions or
additional information.

133
The nature of the sample presented a potential limitation. The mothers who
volunteered to participate may represent points of view which are potentially different
from those who might refuse to participate. It must also be noted that the sample is not
necessarily representative of the overall population.
Suggestions for Future Research
Suggestions for future research in this area cover methodology as well as sample.
The use of self-report measures can be both definitive as well as controversial. It is
imperative that as many of the controllable problems with self-report measures be
addressed (i.e., participant interpretation of the questions) and that those which can not be
controlled (i.e., social desirability) be discussed with the participant in the hopes of
minimizing the effect.
It is suggested for future use of the Family Regime Assessment Scale, that both the
'"real" and "ideal" scales be used. This provides participants with the chance to respond as
they currently see themselves and their families as well as offering them the opportunity to
respond as they would like to be or in the manner they believe to be most appropriate for
their family. By offering both scales, participants may tend to respond more honestly with
regards to their family style and practices.
The nature of the sample should be considered carefully in future studies. The
volunteer status of participants alone may create a smaller range of representative

134
parenting ideals and behaviors. A broader range of educational levels would also prove
beneficial to achieve a better understanding of differing values based on educational
extremes. A more extensive study focusing on other races would prove interesting as well
as useful in addressing the needs of other populations.
In considering parallel avenues of research, it would prove interesting to not only
focus on the manner in which family paradigmatic preferences may affect parenting
behavior, but also how parenting behavior may shape a person's paradigmatic preference.
Implications of the Study
Very little is known as to whether there are predictable differences among parents
in different sociocultural contexts concerning how they think family life should be
structured. Even less is known as to whether these differing paradigms of family life are
related to specific childrearing practices and competencies. Family paradigmatic theory
posits that how one thinks is considered to be critical in the development of specific types
of parent-child interaction. Gaining an understanding of a parent's family paradigmatic
preference is relevant to understanding parents' ideas about and practices of childrearing
and, therefore, understanding the wide variety of responses parents have to the task of
rearing children. That these responses are related to different family paradigms and that
all are equally functional encourages the challenging and revision of current underlying
assumptions and methodology. Information regarding family structure and resulting

135
childrearing practices also proves useful in designing more attractive and effective
interventions for parents, such as parenting programs that focus on parents' needs as well
as addressing them in a manner in which they will benefit.
Summary and Conclusions
The conclusions reached did not prove significant in supporting the hypotheses
that family paradigmatic preference is an indicator of specific parenting practices and
behaviors. Further study in this area is needed to continue researching the effects of
paradigmatic preference on parenting behavior.

APPENDIX A
DEMOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW SCHEDULE
1. Code Number
2. Mother's Name
Telephone number
Address
3. Mother's race
4. United States Native
Yes
No
5. Mother's Marital Status:
single married separated divorced other _
6. Mother's Educational Level:
less than seventh grade
junior high school (9th grade)
partial high school (10th or 11th grade)
high school graduate (whether private, parochial, trade, or public)
136

137
partial college (at least one year) or specialized training
standard college or university graduation
graduate professional training (graduate degree)
7. Mother's Occupation
8. Occupation of Partner
9. Educational Level of Partner:
less than seventh grade
junior high school (9th grade)
partial high school (1 Oth or 11th grade)
high school graduate (whether private, parochial, trade, or public school)
partial college (at least one year) or specialized training
standard college or university graduation
graduate professional training (graduate degree)
10. Number of Children Living in the Home and their Ages

APPENDIX B
PARENTING PREFERENCES INVENTORY
DIRECTIONS: This is about ways parents and children do things together. Please
respond to each statement in terms of how you think you act toward your child currently.
Next to each question is a scale from 0 to 6 which allows you to show how often you act
with your child in the way described.
0 Never
1 Almost Never
2 Seldom
3 Half the time
4 Frequently
5 Almost Always
6 Always
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 1. I feel it is my responsibility to teach my child how to behave.
0123456 2.1 like my child to do things his/her way without involving me
0123456 3.1 encourage my child to tell me what he/she is thinking and
feeling.
138

139
0123456 4. Iam involved in my child's decisions.
0123456 5.1 expect my child to make his own decisions.
0123456 6. I explain to my child why he/she is being punished.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. I warn my child that I will punish him if he/she misbehaves to
prevent him/her from acting badly.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 8. When my child is out playing, I check closely on where my child
is and what he/she is doing.
0123456 9. I use punishments involving restrictions and time out.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 10. I give my child a lot of praise and attention when I see him/her
doing something good.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 11.1 set limits with my child (e g., when I expect him/her to be
home, where he/she can go) to help him/her stay out of trouble.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 12. I expect my child to pick out his/her own clothes without
assistance.
0123456 13.1 allow my child the final decision if it pertains to him/her.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 14. I let my child express his/her feelings about being punished or
restricted.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 15 .1 make clear rules I expect my child to follow without any
argument.
0123456 16. I feel that my child should be able to set his/her own bedtime
0123456 17.1 expect my child to do what I tell him/her
0123456 18.I encourage my child to share his/her toys when playing with
others

140
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 19. When making a decision affecting my child, I tell him/her how I
feel.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 20. My child and I enjoy a good debate.
0123456 21. If my child is grumpy or irritable, I leave him/her alone so he/she
can get over it.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 22. I let my child stay up at night until he/she gets tired.
0123456 23.1 expect to teach my child to do family chores.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 24. I think my child is capable of choosing appropriate meals.
0123456 25.I do not show my child my real feelings when he/she does
something to upset me.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 26. When my child misbehaves I try to reason with him/her about
why he/she should not act that way.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 27.1 avoid expressing a difference of opinion with my child.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 28. I let my child see that I am angry with him/her when he/she
does not do what I expect.
0123456 29.I encourage my child to express his/her opinion even when it
disagrees with mine.
0123456 30. I expect my child to answer me with respect at all times.

APPENDIX C
LETTER
Dear Parents,
I am the mother of a San Jose Elementary first grader and two younger children. I
am also a doctoral student at the University of Florida currently working on my
dissertation. My area of interest is parenting and my study focuses on the different ideas
about parenting and family life that people hold.
I would like the opportunity to speak with mothers about their ideas on parenting
and what works in their families. If you would be willing to speak with me regarding your
ideas on childrearing, please contact me at 731-4070. Your participation would be strictly
voluntary, confidential, and at your convenience, as well as greatly appreciated.
Sincerely,
Theresa Thweatt Rulien
731-4070
141

APPENDIX D
TELEPHONE CONTACT
Hello,
My name is Theresa Rulien. I have a daughter attending San Jose Elementary as
well as two younger sons. I am also a University of Florida doctoral student currently
working on my dissertation. My area of interest is parenting and my study focuses on the
different ideas about parenting and family life that people hold
I would like the opportunity to speak with mothers about their ideas on parenting
and what works in their families. I am calling to see if you would be willing to meet with
me for approximately one hour to answer some questions about your ideas on parenting.
[Any questions or concerns would then be addressed. If the mother agrees to interviewed,
criteria for participation, as defined in the Sampling Procedures, would be established. If
criteria is met an interview would be scheduled ]
142

APPENDIX E
INFORMED CONSENT

Informed Consent
You are being asked to participate in a research study focusing on the ideas mothers
have about parenting and family life. Participation involves an interview, lasting
approximately one hour, during which you will be asked to respond to some questions
regarding parenting and family. The interview is both oral and written. You do not have
to answer any question you do not wish to answer. The oral portion of the interview will
be audio taped with your permission. Only the research team will have access to this
tape. It will be transcribed, your name removed, and, upon completion of this study,
erased.
Your participation in this study poses no risks to you or your family and all information
gathered will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. There are no
immediate benefits to you or compensation awarded for your participation. There are
no known risks related to your participation. You may withdraw from the study at any
time. If you have any further questions regarding your participation you may contact
the principal investigator. Any questions or concerns regarding your rights as a
participant should be directed to the UFIRB office at Box 112250, University of Florida,
Gainesville, FL 32611-2250.
The interview purpose and process/commitment has been explained to me to my
satisfaction. I may withdraw my consent for participation at any time. I voluntarily
agree to participate in this study and have received a copy of this consent form.
Participant
Date
Theresa Thweatt Rulien Date
Principal Investigator
University of Florida Graduate Student
(904) 731-4070
(904) 739-2777
Dr. Ellen Amatea
Faculty Supervisor
144

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Theresa Thweatt Rulien was bom in Jacksonville, Florida, where she lived until
moving to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida. She received her Bachelor of
Arts in psychology from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1982 and her Master
of Education and Specialist in Education in counselor education in 1985.
Theresa began her doctoral studies in 1986 while beginning her career as a child
and family therapist at Mental Health Services, Inc., in Gainesville. She continued there in
the Children's Program until 1991 at which time she transferred to the Alachua Regional
Juvenile Detention Center where she remained into 1992.
Theresa and her husband, Joe, presently reside in Jacksonville with their three
children. Caitlin, age 8; Dustin, age 3; and Dillin, age 11 months. She is presently
employed by Psychological Associates, a division of the Baptist/St. Vincent's Health
System, as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Licensed Marriage and Family
Therapist.
167

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is folly adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Ellen Amatea, Chair
Professor of Counselor Education
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is folly adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Larry ^Eoesch
Professor of Counselor Education
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is folly adequate, in scope and quality,
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is folly adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
David Miller
Professor of Foundations
of Education

This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of
Education and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
May, 1997
Dean, College of Education
Dean, Graduate School



Table 2
Parenting Instalments
CATEGORIES
Parental Social Cognition and Behavior
Parent-Child Relationships
Home Environment
Marital Relations and the Transition
to Parenthood
Parental Self-Perceptions
Particular Target Groups
Miscellaneous Instruments
ASSESSES
attitudes toward childrearing and
subsequent parental practices
parent-child interactions and involvement
physical and social intellectually
stimulating aspects of the home
marital perceptions, reactions to the
transition to parenthood and family adjustment
parental thoughts and feelings as related
to the role of parent
adolescent issues and families at risk
for child abuse
ranges from parents' contraceptive knowledge
to children's preferences for rewards and
punishments to grandparent involvement
EXAMPLE
Parental Attitudes Toward
Childrearing
Family Decision-Making
Style Scale
Home Quality Rating
Scale
Parenthood Adjustment
Questionnaire
Parental Concern About
Child's Behavior Scale
Adult-Adolescent
Parenting Inventory
Grandparent Study
Interview Schedule


110
with the statement. Half the statements used a score of 6 as representative of high
behavioral interaction and involvement and half were reversed, so that a score of 6
corresponded with low behavioral involvement. Analyses were conducted testing
interaction effects between educational level and race.
The results of the analysis of the mothers' perceptions of their involvement with
their children are presented in Table 7. Only main effects are reported as no interaction
effects were found. As the data in this table depicts, there were no significant differences
in behavior interaction and involvement reported by women differing in family
paradigmatic preferences, closed (F=. 12, df=l,50, p=.7265), open (F=.49, df=l,50,
p=.4880), and synchronous (F= .03, df=l,50, p=.8660). The random paradigm (F=2.82,
df=l,50, p=.0992) indicates that mothers ascribing to this paradigm may be less likely to
perceive themselves as highly involved with their children. No significant differences were
found in mothers' educational level (F1.51, df=l,50, p=.2241), however, a significant
difference was reported by women differing in race (F=6.02, df=l,50, p=.0177), with
African-American mothers reporting a higher child-management value for behavioral
interaction and involvement.
Because no significant difference in child-management values for behavioral
interaction and involvement were evidenced among mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference, Hypothesis Four failed to be rejected.


116
measured by the Authoritarian sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family
Functioning.
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a regression analysis which assessed the
effects of educational level (level 1, high school diploma or less; level 2, at least one year
of college), race ( African-American; Caucasian), and family paradigmatic preference
(closed; random, open; synchronous) on family-management style as measured by scores
derived from the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning. Scores ranged
from 0 to 3 with 3 indicating that statement as true for the family. Statements described
an authoritarian family-management style. Analyses were conducted testing interaction
effects between educational level and race.
The results of the analysis of the mothers' perceptions of their authoritarian
family-management style are depicted in Table 10. As the data indicate, no significant
differences were found with authoritarian family-style and closed (F=2.16, df=l,49,
p=.1479), open (F=.23, dfr=l,49, p=.6363), random (F=2.42, df=l,49, p=. 1260), or
synchronous (F=.72, df=l,49, p=.3992). No significant differences were evidenced
between this family style and mother's educational level (F=. 51, df=l,49, p=4785) or race
(F=.64, df=l,49, p= 4261), however, a significant relationship was found in the interaction
effects indicating a preference for an authoritarian family style by Caucasian, higher
educated mothers (F=4.12, df=l,49, p=.0479).


165
Super, C M. & Harkness, S. (1981). Figure, ground, and gestalt: the cultural
context of the active individual. In R.M. Lemer & N.A. Busch-Rossnagel (Eds ),
Individuals as producers of their development: A life-span perspective. New York: Basic
Books.
Super, C M. & Harkness, S. (1986). The developmental niche: A
conceptualization at the interface of child and culture. Special issue: Cross-cultural
human development. International Journal of Behavioral Development. 9(4), 545-569.
Tavormina, J.B. (1980). Evaluation and comparative studies of parent education.
In R.A. Abiden, (Ed ), Parent education and intervention handbook. Springfield, IL:
Charles C. Thomas.
Tolan, P.H., Cromwell, R.E., & Brasswell, M. (1986). Family therapy with
delinquents: A critical review of the literature. Family Process. 25. 619-650.
Touliatos, I, Perlmutter, I, & Straus, M. (1990). The handbook of family
measurement techniques. Newbury Park, Calf.: Sage.
Trickett, P.K., Aber, J.L., Carlson, V., & Cicchetti, D. (1991). Relationship of
socioeconomic status to the etiology and developmental sequelae of physical child
abuse. Developmental Psychology. 2711T 148-158.
Turnbull, C M. (1973). The mountain people. New York: Simon & Schuster.
U S. Bureau of the Census. Directive No. 15, Race and ethnic standards for
federal statistics and administrative reporting: 1977. Washington, D.C.: U S.
Department of Commerce.
US. Bureau of the Census. Statistical Abstract of the U.S.: 1992 (112th ed.).
Washington, DC.: US. Department of Commerce.
van der Veen, F. (1965). The parent's concept of the family unit and child
adjustment Journal of Counseling Psychology. 12. 196-200.
Wahler, R.G. (1980). The insular mother: Her problems in parent-child
treatment. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 13, 273-294.


6
In recent years, a second perspective for conceptualizing childrearing practices has
emerged which focuses on parents' cognitive processes. Intrigued by questions such as
"How do parents decide how they will rear their children?" and "What factors shape their
personal 'theory of childrearing'?", researchers operating from this newer perspective seek
to determine whether the very nature of adult cognitions shapes the ways parents respond
to their children and the task of parenting. A key assumption underlying this research is
that parents do not merely react to a particular child's actions in a situation, but that
numerous previous interactions and knowledge about the child are cognitively structured
and thus influence the manner in which the parent interprets and reacts to the situation
(Dekovic & Gerris, 1992). Parents organize their actions depending on the goals they
hope to achieve, supporting the idea that parental behavior is not merely reactive (Dix &
Grusec, 1985; Goodnow, 1985; Miller, 1988; Sigel, 1985). For example, Dekovic and
Gerris (1992) found, in their study of parental reasoning and childrearing behaviors, that
parental reasoning complexity made an independent contribution to parental behavior
beyond the contribution of social class or educational level.
This increased interest in studying childrearing from a cognitive perspective has
resulted in the development of a variety of different cognitive theories which explain the
cognitive development of adults (Ivey, 1991, Kohlberg, 1969; Loevinger, 1980).
Cognitive developmental hierarchies have been constructed on the basis of both the


Ill
Table 7
Regression Analysis to Assess the Difference in Level of Behavioral Interaction Due to
Family Paradigmatic Preference
Source
df
Type III
F
of Variation
Sums of Squares
Closed
1,50
5.7002
.12
Random
1,50
130.0323
2.82
Open
1,50
22.4920
.49
Synchronous
1,50
1.3248
.03
Educational level
1,50
69.8022
1.51
Race
1,50
277.4244
6.02 *
* p<05
Hypothesis Five
After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference will demonstrate no difference in family-management style as
measured by the Democratic sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family
Functioning.
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a regression analysis which assessed the
effects of educational level (level 1, high school diploma or less; level 2, at least one year
of college), race ( African-American; Caucasian), and family paradigmatic preference


82
Child-centered parent-child communication. This type of communication
represents a belief on the part of the mother that the expression of feelings and thoughts
by both her and her child is an important aspect of the parent-child relationship.
Description of the Population
The population consisted of mothers of elementary school children, ages five years
to eight years, who attend public school in Duval County. According to the U S. Bureau
of the Census (1990) the total population of Duval County was 672,971. The State of
Florida (1994) projected a 1995 population for Duval County of between 698,300 and
741,500. Of the total 1990 population, 163,902 were reported to be black citizens and
489,604 were reported to be white citizens. This is approximately 24% black and 76%
white.
According to the annual "20th Day Count" of the Duval County Public School
System, there are approximately 123,470 students enrolled in grades pre-kindergarten
through 12th grade, attending 153 schools. There are 102 elementary schools (pre-k
through 5th grade) serving 65,409 students, 31,956 of which are in the target population
of kindergarten, first, and second grade. The overall racial mix of the school system is
40% black and 60% white, although individual schools vary from 1% black and 99%
white to 99% black and 1% white. The three schools chosen for this study approximate
the racial mix of the county of 24% black and 76% white.


16
would information regarding family life and childrearing preferences be useful in
understanding why parents function the way they do, it would also be quite useful in
designing more attractive and effective interventions for them.
Purpose of the Study
In this study, family paradigmatic theory was utilized as a framework for exploring and
attempting to understand the differences in childrearing attitudes and practices of mothers
differing in race and educational level. According to family paradigmatic theory, a parent's
beliefs and behaviors are shaped by a larger set of unifying beliefs about family life that
guide action in implementing specific family roles and tasks. As a result, how parents
think the family should operate will influence how they expect their child should function,
how they think they should interact with their child, and what specific parent-child
interactional competencies they develop.
Given the relative lack of knowledge about whether a distinctive sociocultural
context may result in a particular family paradigm preference that may, in turn, result in
the valuing of particular child behaviors and parenting attitudes and practices, and the
potential of the family paradigmatic theory to identify a variety of different equally viable
childrearing philosophies, the purpose of this study was three fold. First, the author
proposed to examine empirically the family paradigmatic preferences of women who were
mothers of at least one elementary school aged child. While paradigmatic choice is a


135
childrearing practices also proves useful in designing more attractive and effective
interventions for parents, such as parenting programs that focus on parents' needs as well
as addressing them in a manner in which they will benefit.
Summary and Conclusions
The conclusions reached did not prove significant in supporting the hypotheses
that family paradigmatic preference is an indicator of specific parenting practices and
behaviors. Further study in this area is needed to continue researching the effects of
paradigmatic preference on parenting behavior.


family-management style, however, no significant differences were found for the other
family paradigms or family-management styles.
Implications and suggestions for future research were discussed in concluding this
study.
xi


45
thing as a purely cognitive state." The interplay of emotions and cognition gives rise to
models of attachment hypothesizing that cognitive affective constructs are incorporated
into the personality structure of the individual and are relatively stable overtime (Crowell
& Feldman, 1991).
Parenting Style as Affected bv Cognitions
In studying preferences of disciplinary methods it was determined that the
significance of the goal is important. Are the parents' goals compliance or encouragement
of a particular style of negotiating? The nature of the goal influences the extent to which
parents prefer rationales over power assertion methods. An increased emphasis on
conformity increased reports of using power assertion rather than reasoning (Miller,
1988). A sign of cognitive development is seen as the degree of differentiation or the
extent to which people see differences among children rather than seeing them as all alike
as well as the ability to see themselves and parenting as having shades of gray. Cooke
(1991) offered further support in her study of the thinking that underlies parenting. She
reported that parenting expertise in problem-solving situations with infants includes, (a)
attentional focus on cues relevant to the child's goals and needs in the problem-solving
situation, (b) extensive specific knowledge of the child's behavioral characteristics and a
strong foundation of domain knowledge related to child development and childrearing
which is integrated into the specific knowledge of the child, (c) consciously considered


41
like their developing offspring, are cognizing individuals with goals, plans,
motivations, intentions, and interests, (editor's notes, Smetana, 1994).
This is the second perspective, as defined in this paper, used as a means for studying
childrearing.
Developmental Stages
Piaget's (1963) concept of the development of thought in children (originally
published in 1926) is the foundation of much of the research in developmental theory. His
theory suggests that the thought processes of children move through distinct hierarchical
stages of development. As thought progresses through the sensorimotor, pre-operational
concrete operations, formal operations, and post-formal operations, it becomes
increasingly complex, integrated, and differentiated. Each stage is necessary and can not
be skipped because it builds on and incorporates the previous stage and readies the child
for the next stage. Each stage is seen to be stable and predictable, and consistent across
different contexts.
Areas of adult development, partly influenced by Piaget's work have followed.
These include moral reasoning (Kohlber, 1969), ego development (Loevinger, 1980),
educational development (Hunt, 1970), ethical/intellectual development (Perry, 1970),
parental reasoning complexity (Newberger, 1980), cognitive complexity (Ivey, 1991),
parental communication (Applegate et al, 1985) and parental conceptualization of
development (Sameroff & Feil, 1985).


97
Constantine (1986) describes three levels of family systems analysis: paradigm,
representing the family's world view and implicitly comprehended by family members and
reflective of their assumptive level of understanding; regime, delineating the structure of
the family; and process, representing the behaviors the family and its members manifest in
their daily activities. The Family Regime Assessment Scale is aimed at the regime level of
analysis, assessing how family members structurally perceive access dimensions, (time,
energy, space, and the material world), and target dimensions (control, affect, meaning,
and context) of their family system.
Kantor and Lehr (1975) suggest that the family system is comprised of three types
of subsystems individual, interpersonal, and family-unit subsystems. The family system
attempts to utilize strategies intended to maximize the potential for each subsystem to
achieve its targets. The relative success of the strategies, or lack of, is called enablement
or disablement and is conceptualized as a continuous variable. Four sets of regime
attributes (closed, random, open, synchronous) were developed for each of the four target
dimensions (control, affect, meaning, and context) and for the four access dimensions
(time, energy, space, and material transactions). Attributes were selected by identifying
those that when comparatively considered by the respondant in a simultaneous manner
would elicit images of four distinct sets of structures.


150
Crowell, J A. & Feldman, S.S. (1991). Mother's working models of attachment
relationships and mother an child behavior during separation and reunion. Developmental
Psychology, 27(4), 597-605.
Dekovic, M. & Gerris, J.R.M. (1992) Parental reasoning complexity, social class,
and child-rearing behaviors. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 54, 675-685.
Dembo, M.H., Sweitzer, M., & Lauritzen, P. (1985). An evaluation of group
parent education: Behavioral, PET, and Adlerian programs. Review of Educational
Research, 55(2), 155-200.
Dinkmeyer, D. & McKay, G.D. (1976). Systematic training for effective
parenting. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Sendee.
Dix, T. (1991). The affective organization of parenting: Adaptive and
maladaptive processes. Psychological Bulletin. 110(1). 3-25.
Dix, T.H. & Grusec, J.E. (1985). Parent attribution processes in the socialization
of children. In I.E. Sigel (Ed ). Parental belief systems. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Assoc.
Dix, T., Ruble, D.N., & Zambarano, R.J. (1989). Mothers' implicit theories of
discipline: Child effects, parent effects, and the attribution process. Child Development.
60, 1373-1391.
Dowdney, L. & Pickles, A.R. (1991). Expression of negative affect within
disciplinary encounters. Is there dyadic reciprocity? Developmental Psychology. 27(4),
606-617.
Dreikurs, R., & Soltz, V. (1964). Children: the challenge. New York: Meredith
Press.
Dumas, J.E. & Wahler, R.G. (1983). Predictors of treatment outcome in parent
training: Mother insularity and socioeconomic disadvantage. Behavioral Assessment. 5,
301-313.
Edwards, W. & Newman, J.R. (1982). Multiattribute evaluation. Beverly Hills,
CA: Sage.


132
actual behaviors being examined in the hopes of supporting paradigmatic preferences are
best measured first by family-management style and then linked to the family regime.
Limitations of the Study
There were a number of limitations inherent in the design of this study concerning
the instrumentation used and the nature of the sample. Although considerable effort was
made to select instruments demonstrating a strong record of technical validation and use
with which to assess the variable, in this study, in retrospect it appears that the instruments
chosen had some inherent limitations.
The instruments in this study relied on the use of self-report methods of
assessment. The questionnaire's accuracy is dependent upon the mother's memory, her
interpretation of the items, and the influence of social desirability although it can afford
greater control over socially desirable response sets than interviews, especially for
sensitive areas (Touliatos et al, 1990). The interview offered a broader range of
information, but is more difficult to quantify and interviewer bias must be considered with
a control for collusion. The Person-Centered Communication Assessment was conducted
in interview form, however it also involves a certain element of role-playing, requiring the
mother to verbally respond to an imagined situation with her child. This is helpful in
avoiding the forced-choice method which does not take into account any exceptions or
additional information.


19
sociocultural groups as well as providing standards on ethnicity. For the purposes of the
present study, categories were limited to either Black African American or White Anglo
American.
Black African American is defined as a mother of African descent and at least a
second generation citizen of the United States.
White Anglo American is defined as a Caucasian mother and at least a second
generation citizen of the United States.
Family paradigm is the stable, implicit, overarching guide to family life that
consists of the family members' repertoire of understandings, shared assumptions, and
traditions. It was measured by the Family Regime Assessment Scale (Imig & Phillips,
1992) and resulted in a classification of either closed, random, open, or synchronous
family paradigm.
Closed family paradigm personifies the stable, secure family, relying on traditional
authority and conformity to its norms to assure continuation of established family patterns.
Roles are differentiated and boundaries controlled. It is one of the classifications
established by the Family Regime Assessment Scale.
Random family paradigm encourages change, freedom, and individuality with roles
unassigned and undifferentiated, and structure changing and egalitarian. It is one of the
classificatons established by the Family Regime Assessment Scale.


38
(Chodorow, 1974 cited in Gilligan, 1982). Contrasting views were reported by Eisenberg
and Lennon (1983), Kohlberg (1984) and Walker (1984) found in research edited by
Gilligan, Ward and Taylor with Bardige (1988) in which they reported finding no evidence
of sex differences in empathy or moral reasoning, but perhaps in moral behavior.
Reisinger (1982) found that fathers tend to be more consistent in their child
management style than mothers. Likewise, the major determinant of child behavior in
mothers trying to gain situational compliance, is maternal strategy (Lytton, 1980,
Maccoby & Martin, 1983, both cited in Dowdney & Pickles, 1991). Negative and
inconsistent mothers are likely to engender negativity in their children.
"As long as the biological function of becoming a mother was thought to endow a
woman with the requisite knowledge and ability, no professional training was considered
necessary for her new responsibilities..." (Fitz-Simons, 1935). Positive characteristics of
the mothers were consistently related to higher quality home environment (Luster &
Dubow, 1990). With regards to parent education programs, highly educated women were
more likely than women with little education to prepare for parenthood with books and
courses (Simons, Whitbeck, Conger & Melby, 1990). Education level had no effect on
the parenting styles of fathers, who were no more likely to acquire information on proper
parenting if highly educated than if not. In the same study it was also determined that
individualistic value commitments were associated with a woman's use of destructive


35
Suggestions regarding working with low social class parents focus on
understanding concepts, verbal learning difficulties, training tactics, and participation,
(Fine and Henry 1989; O'Dell 1974; and Wyckoff 1980. Matarazzo and Patterson (1986)
found in their review of the literature that training effects were less well maintained in low
social status groups. It was found that parents of lower social class and with lower
education levels do better in parent education programs which minimized verbal learning
and which emphasized direct training techiniques (Salzinger, Feldman & Portnoy, 1970 as
cited in Matarazzo & Patterson, 1986; O'Dell, 1974). Many researchers indicated that
these same parents of low social class and educational levels are less likely to benefit from
parent education programs than parents of middle and upper social class and education
levels (Clark & Baker, 1982; Dumas & Wahler, 1983; O'Dell, O'Quin, Alford, O'Briant,
Bradlyn & Giefenhain, 1982; Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1990; Furey & Basili, 1988)
although there is some evidence to the contrary (Mira, 1970; Rogers, Forehand, Griest,
Wells & McMahon, 1981; Rose, 1974) Again, however, the emphasis is on the level of
parenting skills development with an implicit judgment that these differences (ie. lower
verbal skills, need for concrete directives and role modeling) are deficits and need to
somehow be corrected. The nature of the family's organization is not taken into account
(Constantine, 1986, 1993; Minuchin, 1974).


67
Paradigms are distinguished on the basis of their goal-directed behavior differing in
how they are oriented to the duality of continuity and change. The viability of all living
systems is determined by the interplay of stability and adaptability. Taxonomy is the art
and science of classification, with a taxon simply being one of the units of classification,
not something real or objectively true about the things being classified. Thus, the abstract
ideal of any particular family paradigm can be represented by a point where the dimensions
correspond to various properties by which the paradigms can be distinguished. The
coordinates of the different taxons correspond to how much of each property is present in
a given paradigm. Because the taxons are dialectically interrelated and maximally distinct,
there is some characteristic property for each family paradigm that will be maximally
present in a pure or ideal example of the type and absent in the pure or ideal forms of the
other types. Each taxon then can be characterized by a unique measure which
corresponds mathematically to a vector, an arrow pointing in the directions of
paradigmatic purity. This vector not only defines, but distinguishes it from alternative
types and therefore incorporates and models interrelationships among types (Constantine,
1993). Each family paradigm can therefore be identified by a representative vector
representing a similarity to the type with some degree of departure from the others. The
four taxonomic vectors, in their pure form, can be identified as hierarchy: corresponding
to the closed paradigm, with a degree of reliance on a hierarchy of authority to regulate


CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION
The purpose of this study was to utilize family paradigmatic theory as a framework
for exploring the parenting attitudes, practices, and preferences of mothers of elementary
school aged children. Fifty-seven mothers were categorized by race, educational level,
and family paradigmatic preference and compared to determine if there were differences
among the groups of mothers in the manner in which they parented. The results of these
comparisons are reported in Chapter 4. In this chapter the results of these analyses will be
discussed, together with the limitations of the current study, suggestions for future
research, and the implications of these findings.
Discussion of the Results
Hypotheses 1 and 2
In Hypotheses One and Two the frequency with which mothers differing in
educational level and race were characterized by each of four differing family paradigms
was investigated. No significant differences were found. Thus, one can conclude from the
results of this study sample that family paradigm differences are not organized by race and
educational level membership. However, these findings are not in keeping with the
existing research demonstrating that parents' childrearing values, goals and behaviors are
122


57
families were rated as showing more dominant power exchanges and were rated as
congruent with their family concept by an outside rater. They showed a greater range of
overtly expressed feelings and a more congruent sense of family concept than White or
Black families, as well as more attuned to and encouraging of dependency needs in their
children and more likely to describe themselves as close-knit and discouraging of
aggressive, defiant, or disruptive behavior.
Nucci (1994) reported, in looking at Brazilian mothers, that across social classes
and geographical regions, these mothers expressed beliefs that children require areas of
choice for personal growth. The manner in which these beliefs were expressed varied as a
function of the mother's underlying assumptions about the nature of their children's needs
and capacities. Middle-class mothers (modern Southern region) held views essentially like
those of mothers of U S. middle-class; that children are to be treated as individuals from
infancy and given opportunities to exercise choices to enhance their individual talents and
personalities. Their reasons were aimed at supporting their children's emerging autonomy,
agency, and personal competence. The more traditional lower-class mothers viewed the
limited cognitive capacity of infants and young children as an indication that they were not
yet to be considered individuals with a choice or opinions of their own. They gave
prudential (risks to the child) and pragmatic reasons for their responses.


133
The nature of the sample presented a potential limitation. The mothers who
volunteered to participate may represent points of view which are potentially different
from those who might refuse to participate. It must also be noted that the sample is not
necessarily representative of the overall population.
Suggestions for Future Research
Suggestions for future research in this area cover methodology as well as sample.
The use of self-report measures can be both definitive as well as controversial. It is
imperative that as many of the controllable problems with self-report measures be
addressed (i.e., participant interpretation of the questions) and that those which can not be
controlled (i.e., social desirability) be discussed with the participant in the hopes of
minimizing the effect.
It is suggested for future use of the Family Regime Assessment Scale, that both the
'"real" and "ideal" scales be used. This provides participants with the chance to respond as
they currently see themselves and their families as well as offering them the opportunity to
respond as they would like to be or in the manner they believe to be most appropriate for
their family. By offering both scales, participants may tend to respond more honestly with
regards to their family style and practices.
The nature of the sample should be considered carefully in future studies. The
volunteer status of participants alone may create a smaller range of representative


3
is known about how members of various sociocultural groups differ from the white,
middle class standard of childrearing explicated in current childrearing theories, but
relatively little is known about how these individuals effectively rear their children to be
contributing members of society (Belsky, 1984; Bronfenbrenner, 1977; Goodnow, 1985;
Nwachuku & Ivey, 1991).
How can the childrearing practices and values of parents living in distinctively
different sociocultural contexts be explored? Might there be different images or
paradigms of family life preferred by parents of varying racial or educational backgrounds?
If it can be assumed that each sociocultural group offers to its members a sense of identity,
direction, and explanation for the world around them and that such explanations may lead
to the development of different processes for creating meaning in life, it may be found that
members of different sociocultural groups hold different images or paradigms of family
life. Could there be a relationship between the way parents report preferring to rear their
children and their ideas about how their family life should be structured? In this study
these questions were addressed by examining whether mothers' general beliefs about how
families should be organized were associated with certain childrearing practices and
interactional competencies, and determining whether such beliefs about family life
occurred more frequently within mothers of certain racial or educational backgrounds.
While it is certainly important to understand the preferences of all family members, the


50
Cross-National Value of Children study. The needs children meet for parents vary. In the
primarily rural countries studied, children were an economic utility. In the U.S. they were
found to meet parental needs of primary ties and affection, wheras in the Asian culture
they provide fun and stimulation. Super and Harkness (1981) stressed the importance of
the "goodness of fit"; that the parents' and children's needs coincide. LeVine (1988)
further denoted this view giving examples of parental strategies such as in an agrarian
culture where "quantity" of children is important for the survival of the family. High
fertility and the importance of infant care and nurturance for a child at risk are stressed
with decreased attention paid to a child as it gets older. He contrasted this to an urban
industrial society where "quality" of childrearing is the focus. Goals concern the child's
acquisition of skills and the mental and social stimulation for a child with a future.
Therefore, there is increased attention as a child grows older.
LeVine (1988) studied the effects of parental goals on parental behavior by stating
several perspectives of the development of parental behavior. The phylogenetic
perspective assumed innate sensitivity to infant signals for nurturance, but did not specify
the variety of forms of infant care through which this sensitivity was implemented. The
cultural perspective assumed parents were guided by culture-specific models of
interpersonal relations, but did not indicate how these distant goals were integrated with
the other aims of parents in a particular culture and with their perceptions of their child's


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
FAMILY PARADIGMATIC PREFERENCES AND CHILDREARING PRACTICES
OF
MOTHERS DIFFERING BY RACE AND EDUCATIONAL LEVEL
By
Theresa Thweatt Rulien
May, 1997
Chairperson: Dr. Ellen Amatea
Major Department: Counselor Education
Family paradigmatic theory was utilized, in this study, as a framework for
exploring and attempting to understand the differences in childrearing attitudes and
practices of mothers differing in race and educational level. First, the author proposed to
examine empirically the family paradigmatic preferences of women who were mothers of
at least one elementary school aged child. Second, the author compared the childrearing
practices and style of parent-child communication of mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference. Third, the author investigated the frequency with which mothers
differing in educational level and race were characterized by differing family paradigmatic
preferences.
IX


105
A chi-square analysis was also performed to determine if family paradigmatic
preferences differed among educational levels. No significant differences were evidenced,
however, it approached significance that lower educated mothers were less likely to report
preferring an open family paradigm (X*=3.539, df=l, p=.060).
Table 4
Analysis of Variance to Assess Differences in Family Paradigmatic Preference Due to
Mothers' Educational Level
Source
of Variation
df
Type III
Sums of Squares
F
Closed
1,54
.1850
.13
Random
1,54
.5542
.49
Open
1,54
1.5445
3.39
Synchronous
1,54
.1309
.12
*p< 05
Because no significant differences in family paradigm preference based on mother's
educational level were found, Hypothesis One failed to be rejected.
Hypothesis Two
Mothers differing in race will demonstrate no differences in family paradigmatic
preferences, as measured by The Family Regime Assessment Scale.


59
The Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition (1982, in press) as cited in
Simmons (1994) defines context as interactions between individuals, and between
individuals and objects, that are delimited by a unique arrangement of goals, behaviors,
expectations, demands, and rules constructed by the participants. Culture influences the
presence and arrangements of context. Childhood, therefore, is not a given and consistent
phenomena, but exists in an historical and societal context, one that is in great part defined
by the needs of adults enmeshed in the conflict (Aptekar, 1990). Behaviors giving rise to
judgments of intelligence, behaviors that have traditionally been treated as general mental
abilities are, instead, best thought of as performances specific to particular contexts.
Unlike a general ability framework, the cultural practice approach (Simmons, 1994) points
to evidence that culture-specific knowledge and activities constitute contexts that organize
the development and deployment of a repertoire of task-specific cognitive skills. The
generality of the skills depends on the extent to which the contexts have common features.
Instead of emphasizing the representation of situations internally, Simmon's cultural
practice perspective maintains that schemes for guiding behavior do not exist solely in the
individual, but are constructed in the interaction between individuals or between the
individual and the task in a particular context. These schemata are construed as internal
representations of situations and knowledge sets. Processing is difficult if the schemata is
inappropriately matched with the input. The importance of matching a family's contextual


65
fighting and quarreling, uninhibited and daring, less rivalrous, and more insensitive to
criticism and blame. Simons, Whitbeck, Conger and Chyi-In (1991) offered that rural
families may engage in more physical discipline than do urban families, but the impact of
aggressive parenting on a child's beliefs and personality development are likely to be the
same regardless of setting. The picture that is beginning to emerge is that the meaning of
deprivation is a deprivation of meaning; a cognitive environment in which behavior is
controlled by status rules rather than by attention to the individual characteristics of a
specific situation and one in which behavior is not mediated by verbal cues or by teaching
that relates events to one another and the present to the future. This environment
produces a child who relates to authority rather than to rationale, who although often
compliant, is not reflective in his behavior, and for whom the consequences of an act are
largely considered in terms of immediate punishment or reward rather than future effects
and long-range goals (Hess & Shipman, 1965).
Orientation/Organization of the Family
Family images/constructs do not exist apart from the individuals, neither do they
consist merely of the sum of the individual images. The family's distinct image of itself
emerges from the interaction of its members' individual images of reality and their
behavior. This is formed over time with crucial features often linked to certain critical
events in the family history (Constantine, 1986).


2
childrearing practices and values and have built assessment instruments that describe and
evaluate parental behavior in terms of these types of continnua. Implicit in these
researchers' (Dinkmeyer & McKay, 1976; Dreikurs & Soltz, 1964; Gordon, 1970, 1976;
Graziano, 1983; Levant, 1983a; Levant, 1983b; Moreland, Schwebel, Beck, & Wells,
1982; Popkin, 1983; and Robin, 1981) conceptualizations of parenting is the assumption
that there is one optimal way to parent children and that deviations from this favored style
represent less than adequate parenting. But could there be more than one way to
effectively rear children? How might the nuances of culture, ethnicity, or class impact
parents' beliefs about how families should be organized and childrearing practiced? Might
there be different images or paradigms of family life preferred by parents of varying racial
or educational backgrounds? Could there be a relationship between the ways parents
report preferring to rear their children and their ideas about how their family life should be
structured9
Although the impact of differing cultural, ethnic, and educational influences on the
lives of families is beginning to be acknowledged, most researchers examining childrearing
practices of parents differing by race and educational level have viewed any deviations
from a proposed norm as a sign of deficit rather than as evidence of legitimately different
styles of parenting shaped by different sociocultural traditions and contexts (Constantine,
1986, 1993; Fantini & Cardenas, 1980; Fine & Henry, 1989; Minuchin, 1974). Thus much


CHAPTER 4
RESULTS
This study was designed to determine whether mothers with differing parental
characteristics would demonstrate differences in parenting beliefs and style. More
specifically, it was designed to determine whether mothers differing in race and level of
education would demonstrate differences in their family paradigmatic preference.
Secondly, its purpose was to determine whether mothers differing in family paradigmatic
preference would report differences in (a) child-management values for level of verbal
interaction and expressiveness, and level of behavioral interaction and involvement, (b)
family-management style: democratic, laissez-faire, authoritarian, and (c) level of
child-centered communication. The sample consisted of 57 mothers of children ages five
to eight years: 15 were African-American, higher educational level, 12 were
African-American, lower educational level, 15 were Caucasian, higher educational level,
and 15 were Caucasian, lower educational level. The means and standard deviations for
the study variables were computed for each of the four sub-sample groups. These appear
in Table 3. In this chapter, the results of the study are presented as they pertain to the
eight hypotheses posed.
102


156
Kiser, D.J., Piercy, F.P., & Lipchik, E. (1993). The integration of emotion in
solution-focused therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 1913). 233-242.
Klein, N.C., Alexander, J.F., & Parsons, B.V. (1977). Impact of family system
intervention on recidivism and sibling delinquency. Journal of Consulting and Clinical
Psychology. 45. 469-474.
Kluckhohn, F.R. (1958). Family diagnosis: Variations in the basic value of family
systems. Social Casework. 39. 63-73.
Kohlberg, L. (1969). Stage and sequence: The cognitive-developmental
approach to socialization. In D A. Goslin (Ed ), Handbook of socialization theory and
research. Chicago: Rand McNally.
Kohlberg, L. (1984). The psychology of moral development: Moral stages and
the life cycle. San Francisco. Harper and Row.
Kohn, M L. (1963). Social class and parent-child relationships: An
interpretation. American Journal of Sociology. 68. 471-480.
Kohn, M L. (1969). Class and conformity: A study in values. Homewood, IL:
Dorsey Press.
L'Abate, L. (1981). Skill training for couples and families. In A.S. Gurman &
DP. Kniskem (Eds), Handbook of family therapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
Lamb, W. (1986). Parent education. In R.F. Levant (Ed.), Psvchoeducational
approaches to family therapy and counseling. New York: Springer.
Lamb, J. & Lamb, W. A. (1978). Parent education and elementary counseling.
Vol.5. New York: Human Sciences Press.
Lambert, Shapiro, & Bergin. (1986). In Garfield and Bergin (Eds ), Handbook of
psychotherapy and behavior change
Laosa, L.M. (1981). Maternal behavior: Sociocultural diversity in modes of
family interaction. In R.W. Henderson (Ed ), Parent-child interactions: Theory, research,
and prospects. New York: Academic Press.


30
The bidirectionality and interplay of parent-child relations is now well
acknowledged (Bell & Harper, 1977 cited in Holden, 1990) as well as more complex
conceptualizations including transactional and systems theories. Belsky (1984) has
proposed that rather than viewing parenting as being guided by only one variable, the
influence may be due to a complex interplay among the individual's developmental history,
marital relations, work status, social network, and child characteristics in addition to the
parent's attitudes and personality. Although these variables have been shown to impact a
parent's childrearing ability as well as techniques (Dekovic & Gerris, 1992; Dix, 1991;
Simons, Whitbeck, Conger, & Chyi-In, 1991; Trickett, Aber, Carlson, & Cicchetti, 1991)
it seems imperative to consider the overall interaction of these and other variables that
define a family's image of themselves. According to Constantine (1986), a family's
definition of themselves not only involves their demographic description, but also the
value they place on the importance of member interaction, stability, autonomy, and
control. If a family's self-perception or paradigm defines their sense of self then a portion
of that image would include childrearing values. However, of the literature reviewed,
there was no indication of parenting being studied from a family image perspective nor
were any instruments located which assessed family paradigm in relation to parenting
preferences.


161
Patterson, G.R. (1982). Coercive family process. Eugene, OR: Castalia.
Patterson, G.R., Cobb, J.A., & Ray, R.S. (1973). A social engineering technology
for retaining the families of aggressive boys. In H E. Adams & I P. Unikel (Eds.), Issues
and trends in behavior therapy. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
Patterson, G.R., DeBaryshe, B.D., & Ramsey, E. (1989). A developmental
perspective on antisocial behavior. American Psychologist. 44(2). 329-335.
Pavenstadt, E.A. (1965). A comparison of the child-rearing environment of
upper-lower and very lower-lower class families. American Journal. 35. 89-98,
Perry, W.G., Jr. (1970). Forms of intellectul and ethical development in the
college years. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Piaget, J. (1963). The origins of intelligence in children. New York: Norton,
(originally published in 1926).
Pinderhughes, E. (1982). Afro-American families and the victim system. In M.
McGoldrick, J.K. Pearce, & J. Giordano, Ethnicity and family therapy. New York:
Guilford.
Pittman, J.F., Wright, C.A., Lloyd, S.A. (1989). Predicting parenting difficulty.
Journal of Family Issues. 10(2). 267-286.
Popkin, M.H. (1983). Active parenting. Atlanta, GA: Active Parenting.
Powell, D R., Zambrana, R., & Silva-Palacios, V. (1990). Designing culturally
responsive parent programs: A comparison of low-income Mexican and
Mexican-American mothers' preferences. Family Relations. 39. 298-304.
Radke, M.J. (1969). The relation of parental authority to children's behavior and
attitudes. New York: Greenwood Press.
Reisinger, J.J. (1982). Unprogrammed learning of differential attention by fathers
of oppositional children. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. 13.
203-208.


33
Many research findings indicated that parents from a lower socioeconomic class tend to
have poorer parenting skills and higher drop out rates and outcome levels related to parent
education programs than middle class parents (Clark & Baker, 1982; Dumas & Wahler,
1983; Furey & Basili, 1988; Johnson & Breckenridge, 1982; Trickett, et al, 1991; Wahler,
1980; Webster-Stratton, 1985). Due to this evidence, the appropriateness of existing
parent education programs for lower social class parents based on white middle-class
values has been questioned (Fine & Henry, 1989; Strom et al 1981).
Differences in parenting styles by social class noted in the literature depict
middle-class mothers as possessing an increased ability to positively communicate with
their children as compared to lower social status mothers (Strom et al, 1981), being more
tolerant (Maccoby & Gibbs, 1964), less controlling and more permissive, (Maccoby &
Gibbs, 1964; Strom et al, 1981), less directive (Sigel, 1982; Zegiob & Forehand, 1978)
and less severe in punishment (Heffer & Kelley, 1987; Maccoby & Gibbs, 1964; Strom et
al, 1981). Middle-class mothers seem more likely to use reasoning, psychological
methods of discipline, allow their children more freedom of choice and self-direction,
show egalitarian parenting styles, express positive affect toward their children, and
verbalize and support cognitive and academic growth (Gecas, 1979, Hess, 1970 both cited
in Patterson, DeBaryshe & Ramsey, 1989). Lower-class parents are more likely to use
physical discipline, be controlling of their child's behavior, exhibit authoritarian parenting


92
the family on specific developmental processes which may be fostered by family living. It
appears to comprise a set of value orientations including intellectual-cultural values,
active-recreational values, and moral-religious values. Bloom adds that the list of family
values which could be identified include political orientation, orientation toward kin,
family history, health, sexuality, and values associated with childrearing. The system
maintenance dimension yields information about the structure or organization within the
family and about the degree of control which is exerted by family members over each
other. Bloom suggests that the concept of control be expanded from the extent to which
the family is organized in a hierarchical manner, the rigidity of family rules and procedures,
and the extent to which family members order each other around to three relatively
independent components democratic family style, the extent to which decision-making
is based upon full participation of all family members; laissez-faire family style, the extent
to which rules governing family behavior fail to exist or to be enforced; and authoritarian
family style, the extent to which parents are the locus of rule making and punishment.
Bloom also identifies locus of control, the extent to which family fate is seen as a function
of circumstances beyond the family's control, and enmeshment, the extent to which family
members are seen as insisting on interdependence to the exclusion of individualiity.
Subjects are asked to respond in a 4-choice format, ("very untrue for my family,"
"fairly untrue for my family," "fairly true for my family," "very true for my family"). The


166
Webster-Stratton, C. (1985). Predictors of treatment outcome in parent training
for conduct disordered children. Behavior Therapy. 16. 223-243.
Webster-Stratton, C. & Hammond, M. (1990). Predictors of treatment outcome
in parent training for families with conduct problem children. Behavior Therapy. 21.
319-337.
Wyckoff, J.L. (1980). Parent education programs: Ready, set, go! In M.J. Fine
(Ed ), Handbook on parent education. New York: Academic.
Zegiob, L.E. & Forehand, R. (1978). Parent-child interactions: Observer effects
and social class differences. Behavior Therapy. 9, 118-123.


This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of
Education and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
May, 1997
Dean, College of Education
Dean, Graduate School


98
In an attempt to keep with the intended non-positivistic orientation of the scale a
scaling procedure called the Multiattribute Utility Technology (MAUT) (Edwards &
Newman, 1982) was chosen. The MAUT uses an interval level procedure for collecting
and organizing perceptually derived evaluative data. Subjects are instructed to place a
value of 10 by the group of regime attributes within a dimension that is most like their
family. The subjects are then instructed to comparatively assign a value ranging from 0 to
9 to the second group of regime attributes that was next most like their family, and so on.
Values are not considered mutually exclusive and may be repeated with the exception of a
10.
Data analysis is accomplished by the MAUT utilizing a technique of data
manipulation that transforms raw scores into coefficients. For each dimension, the four
raw scores are summed and transformed into decimals (coefficients) by dividing each raw
score by the summed score. After the procedure is repeated for all dimensions, the eight
groups of coefficients are interpreted to represent the quantitative assessment of the family
members' perceptions regarding the structural use of individual dimensions. The authors
report that they found that some families may prefer certain access or target dimensions
over others while other families may experience it differently, yet both share the same
regime structure. The Family Regime Assessment Scale was therefore modified to include
the access and target dimensions. The data generated by the Family Regime Assessment


9
Mother's race and educational level were selected as the independent variables for
this study based on this review of the literature. A preliminary survey was conducted
using social class as one of the independent variables, but it was determined that level of
education provided a clearer picture of the mother's status level. Using Hollingshead's
Four Factor Index of Social Status (1975) social class showed evidence of inconsistent
categorizations due to the occupational level not necessarily correlating with the level of
education.
Although this third perspective holds much promise for identifying the diverse
ways in which parents might effectively rear their young, there has been only limited
research exploring how a parent's view of family life is influenced by their cultural (i .e.,
racial) and educational status, and how this view of family life affects their childrearing
practice.
Theoretical Framework
A number of different typologies of family life have been proposed by family
theorists to describe the diverse ways in which families organize themselves, structure
their interactions, and give meaning to their lives together (Beavers, 1981; Olson,
Sprenkle, & Russell, 1979). These typologies have been used to classify families in terms
of a wide variety of characteristics (eg., structural patterns, degrees of functionality or
dysfunction, or patterns of communication). Constantine's (1986) theory of family


81
information gathered in the demographic interview schedule and then determined
according to years of formal education.
Race. The race of the mothers participating in this study were defined by their
self-identification This study focused on two groups: black African American, at least a
second generation in the United States and white Anglo American, at least a second
generation in the United States. The Census Bureau reports race as self-identified and
denoting no clear-cut scientific definition of "biological stock." Due to this manner of
determining racial categories, White, for example, is noted to include other entries such as
Canadian, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, and Polish. For this reason
the limitation of "at least second generation in the United States" was placed on the
sample to attempt to control for other cultural background influences.
Family paradigm preference. The family paradigm preference of the mothers
involved in this study was categorized into one of Constantine's (1986) four paradigms:
closed, random, open, or synchronous. This represents their image or view of the way in
which they feel their families should operate.
Dependent Variables
Parenting style. The parenting style is those means of discipline, including
behavior management and verbal negotiation, employed by the mothers
participating in this study.


27
synchronous paradigm, with its promotion of implicit and unstated expectations, and
indirect and covert control, lend themselves to an educational or teaching model
With the increasing support and need for the effectiveness of parent education, the
consensus is that parent education should now be examined by techniques and their effects
(Lambert, Shapiro & Bergin, 1986, Medway, 1989). It has also been suggested that
research focus on: the limitations of parenting programs (Graziano, 1983; Lamb, 1986);
the interaction of factors such as parent characteristics (Gordon & Davidson, 1981;
Martin, 1980; O'Dell, 1974; Tavormina, 1980); developmental stages (Dembo et al, 1985;
Levant, 1983; O'Dell, 1974; Tavormina, 1980); styles of parenting (Fine & Henry, 1989;
Harman & Brim, 1980; Medway, 1989), and the impact of parenting programs on family
functioning (Gordon & Davidson, 1981; Fine & Henry, 1989; Moreland, Schwebel, Beck,
& Wells, 1982). But again, the attempts to actually organize parenting groups to fit the
characteristics and needs of the parents have been limited. And yet, the parent's stage in
the family life cycle is known to affect the parent's choice of techniques (Carter &
McGoldrick, 1988) and that levels of parental flexibility and tolerance impact the parent's
ability to recognize a need for change (Tavormina, 1980). The impact of the program, as
well, was found to be dependent on parental beliefs, values, personal experiences and
expectations (Dembo et al, 1980). In an attempt to determine the superiority of model
type, Dembo, Sweitzer, and Lauritzen (1985) examined five comparison studies, but drew


31
Table 2 depicts the seven categories of parenting instruments used as the basis for
reviewing the evolution of the conceptualization of parenting and its assessment by the
Handbook of Family Measurement Techniques (Touliatos, Perlmutter & Strauss, 1990). A
total of 204 parenthood instruments, developed from 1936 through 1974, were abstracted
in Straus (1969) and in Straus and Brown (1978) as referenced in Touliatos and associates
(1990).
Relating Parenting to Family Background Characteristics
When examining a family and determining their organization, it appears helpful to
examine family background characteristics (i.e. social status, parent educational level,
marital status, and gender). This is the first perspective taken in studying parenting style.
Based on family demographics it conceptualizes a "right vs. wrong" ideal of parenting.
Social Class
Social class has been a popular means of studying differences in parenting styles.
Prior to the 1980s, most efforts to explain why parents rear their children as they do
focused on social class (Belsky, 1990). Researchers report that parents of differing social
status demonstrate different value systems, levels of interaction, and childrearing
techniques (Heifer & Kelley, 1987; Hess & Shipman, 1972; Schaefer & Edgerton, 1985,
Segal in Sigel, 1985; Simons, Whitbeck, Conger, & Chyi-In, 1991; Strom, Griswold &
Slaughter, 1981; Trickett, Aber, Carlson, & Cicchetti, 1991; Zegiob & Forehand, 1978).


13
The closed family is, in essence, the traditional American family. Family and family
identity are primary with individual needs met through loyalty and service to the family.
The random paradigm is the antithesis of the closed. In this family paradigm the
structure is changing and egalitarian. Roles are unassigned and undifferentiated,
boundaries are open, uncontrolled and erratic. For the random family, change, freedom
and individuality are of utmost importance. Truth is considered to be relative, transient,
and personal. Members of such families favor change, novelty, and originality over
stability and tradition. The individual is primary with the structure stressing creative
individuality and egalitarian autonomy. The collective family needs are met through
cooperative individual initiative and inventiveness.
The open paradigm presents a modem, communication-oriented, democratic
family. Structure in this family is adaptive and heterarchical; roles are alternated and
shared. Boundaries are defined, yet permeable and flexible. There is a balance between
stability and change and between individuality and group needs. Process is valued most
highly by this family Truth is pragmatic; while some tmths are absolute, many are
relative. It attempts to achieve flexibility that integrates change with stability, and to
incorporate the needs and interests of the individuals with those of the family as a unit.
This attempt to synthesize the opposing values and approaches of the closed and random
paradigms is achieved through a collaborative process of consensual negotiation, elevating


128
and were, therefore, expected to show some sort of significance. It follows that the open
paradigm, valuing communication, shared roles, and defined, yet flexible boundaries
would be positively correlated with the democratic family-management style. It is the lack
of significance among the other paradigms and family-management styles that is surprising
as it would have been expected that the democratic style would have been negatively
correlated with the random, closed, and synchronous paradigms. It was also expected that
the laissez-faire style would have been negatively correlated with the closed, open, and
possibly synchronous paradigms, while being positively correlated with the random
paradigm. The authoritarian style was expected to be negatively correlated with the open,
random, and synchronous paradigms, while positively correlated with the closed
paradigm.
Again, perhaps the small sample size contributed to the lack of findings.
Attempting to answer appropriately and in the manner thought to be expected may have
also affected the results. Perhaps as a result of having the sub-scales listed on the
instrument, mothers were wary of choosing anything but a democratic and what they may
have considered socially appropriate style. Baumrind (1971, 1972) upon dividing
parenting types into the categories of permissive, authoritative, and authoritarian found
that the cultural significance of parental behaviors labeled by the typology as authoritarian
were not captured within the global, unidimensional framework of the typology. For


68
process and determine solutions; divergence: corresponding to the random paradigm,
with a degree of reliance on completely different and independent action by individuals as
acceptable forms of group solution and activity; reflexivity: corresponding to the open
paradigm, with a degree of reliance on exploration and examination of family's own
structure and process for developing solutions and making decisions; and alignment:
corresponding to the synchronous family, with a degree of reliance on preexisting, tacit
agreement with a shared set of values, goals, and ideas to regulate process and define
solutions (Constantine, 1993).
An example of theory that is primarily dimensional while also including typological
features is the Olson Circumplex Model (Olson, Russel & Sprenkle, 1983; Olson,
Sprenkle & Russell, 1979). Dimensions are components argued to be basic aspects of the
variation in families and their process. The paradigmatic framework provides conceptual
connections between the dimensions in Olson's model, that of cohesion and adaptability,
and the family types representative of the family paradigms. For example, the closed
family paradigm corresponds with a low level of adaptability and a high level of cohesion
creating structural connectedness, which may become rigid enmeshment during times of
stress.
In comparison, the absence of dimensional features has been noted as a limitation
of the paradigmatic framework (Broderick, 1986). With the addition of a fourth family


53
models rather than educational reading material, they want participation by extended
family members, rapport with staff members is extremely important, program content
should emphasize the child and his/her future, and that all of these were more imperative
when working with the Mexican immigrants than when serving the Mexican Americans.
A study of parent child development centers, conducted by Andrews, Blumenthal,
Johnson, Kahn, Ferguson, Lasater, Malone and Wallace (1982) also recognized the role of
culture in the evolution of parenting practices and emphasized letting parents make
informed choices regarding children. Importantly, and in support of this paper's focus,
was the perspective of these authors to avoid holding a single standard of parenting as
absolute and correct.
This review of the literature found countless research articles which included even
more numerous citations in support of a need to consider cultural orientation when
studying parenting beliefs as well as techniques. Ethnicity is an important mediator of
culture and a long neglected variable in family therapy (McGoldrick, Pearce, & Giordano,
1983). It contributes both paradigmatic preferences and nuances. Nucci's (1994) study
on U S. white middle-class mothers showed that research on parental authority has
historically tended to frame the issue as a question of degree along a single dimension such
as Baumrind's (1971) division of parenting types into the categories permissive,
authoritative, and authoritarian. Application of this typology to members of social class


117
Table 10
Regression Analysis to Assess Frequency of Authoritarian Family-Management Style Due
to Family Paradigmatic Preference
Source
of Variation
df
Type III
Sums of Squares
F
Closed
1,49
7.9800
2.16
Random
1,49
8.9464
2.42
Open
1,49
.8359
.23
Synchronous
1,49
2.6712
.72
Educational level
1,49
1.8834
.51
Race
1,49
2.3782
.64
Educ x Race
1,49
15.2055
4.12 *
*p< 05
Because no significant difference in preference for an authoritarian
family-management style was evidenced among mothers differing in family paradigmatic
preference, Hypothesis Seven failed to be rejected.
Hypothesis Eight
After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference will demonstrate no differences in levels of child-centered
communication as measured by the Person-Centered Communication Assessment.


123
strongly associated with parental educational level (Dekovic & Gerris, 1992; Schaefer &
Edgerton, 1985; Segal, 1985). Parents with a higher educational level tended to reason
about childrearing issues at more complex levels and according to their self-reports they
tended to endorse an authoritative, rather than authoritarian, pattern (Dekovic & Gerris,
1992). Furthermore, these findings contradict research documenting that the manner in
which cultural groups approach communication, autonomy, discipline, competition, and
control influences parenting styles (Fantini & Cardenas, 1980; Ivey, 1986, McGoldrick,
1989; Sue, 1981) and that ethnicity is an important mediator of culture, contributing both
paradigmatic preferences and nuances (McGoldrick, Giordano & Pearce, 1983). Each
culture, drawing on its own symbolic traditions, supplies models for parental behavior that
when implemented under local conditions become culture-specific styles of parental
commitment (LeVine & White, 1987).
One possible reason for the failure to find significant differences in paradigmatic
preference in this group of women may be due to the small sample size. According to the
chi-square analyses conducted, the four cells representing the four paradigms, were fairly
evenly filled, however, numbers were small. Another possible reason may lie in the
decision to administer only the "real" portion of the questionnaire. By administering the
instrument in this manner, the subjects were only given an opportunity to respond as they
really see themselves and did not, additionally, report how they would like to ideally see


112
(closed; random; open; synchronous) on family-management style as measured by scores
derived from the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning. Scores ranged
from 0 to 3 with 3 indicating that statement as true for the family. Statements described a
democratic family-management style. Analyses were conducted testing interaction effects
between educational level and race.
The results of the analysis of the mothers' perceptions of their democratic family
management style are presented in Table 8. As the data in this table depicts, no significant
differences were found with democratic family-style and closed (F=.57, df=l,49,
p=.4523), random (F=.76, df=l,49, p=3875), or synchronous (F=1.15, df=l,49, p=.2878)
paradigms, however, the open paradigm was found to be significantly related to the
democratic family-management style (F=5.73, df=l,49, p=.0205) with mothers ascribing
to this paradigm reporting a preference for a democratic family-management style. No
significant differences were evidenced between this family style and mother's educational
level (F=1.18, df=l,49, p=.2830) or mother's race (F=1.51, df=l,49, p=.2243), however,
an interaction effect between African-American, higher educated mothers and a
democratic style points to the need for further research in this area (F=2.95, df=l,49,
p=,0923).


APPENDIX E
INFORMED CONSENT


109
level of behavioral interaction and involvement as measured by the Parenting Preferences
Inventory.
Table 6
Regression Analysis to Assess the Difference in Level of Verbal Interaction Due to Family
Paradigmatic Preference
Source
of Variation
df
Type III
Sums of Squares
F
Closed
1,50
7.8819
.19
Random
1,50
8.7123
.21
Open
1,50
42.3523
1.03
Synchronous
1,50
18.3224
.45
Educational level
1,50
54.3406
1.33
Race
1,50
182.5909
4.46 *
*p<05
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a regression analysis which assessed the
effects of educational level (level 1, high school diploma or less; level 2, at least one year
of college ), race (African-American; Caucasian), and family paradigmatic preference
(closed, random, open, synchronous) on the child-management value for level of behavior
interaction and involvement as measured by scores derived from the Parenting Preferences
Inventory. Scores ranged from 0 to 6, with 6 representing a high degree of agreement


TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
LIST OF TABLES viii
ABSTRACT ix
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
Scope of the Problem 4
Theoretical Framework 9
Need for the Study 15
Purpose of the Study 16
Research Questions 17
Definition of Terms 18
Organization of the Study 22
2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 23
Theories of Parenting and Parenting Education Programs 23
Overview of Parenting Assessment Instrument Development 28
Relating Parenting to Family Background Characteristics 31
Relating Parenting to Parental Cognitive Level 40
Relating Parenting to the Nature of the Family Context 46
Conclusion 75
3 METHODOLOGY 78
Statement of the Purpose 78
Hypotheses 78
Design of the Study 80
vi


126
stated that African-American family members tend to internalize feelings (Pinderhughes,
1982), were significantly less likely to express or state feelings and thoughts directly and
clearly, less apt to respond openly and receptively to efforts of family members to
interrupt or make personal statements, and likely to show a more consistent, less varied
range of feelings in their various interactional exchanges as well as less encouraging of
dependency needs in their children (Hines & Boyd-Franklin, 1982). No significant
difference was found in relation to level of education and family paradigmatic preference.
As stated earlier, research has supported the relationship of educational level and style of
parenting, with poorer child management skills (Patterson, Cobb, & Ray, 1972)
determined to be related to lower levels of education (Maijoribanks, 1991).
Again, the small sample size may contribute to the lack of significant difference
evidenced, as well as the limited representation in range of maternal educational levels.
Another possible explanation for the lack of differences found may be the attempt on the
part of the participants to "fake good" with regards to what appears to be positive in
society's eyes regarding amount of child-parent interaction. This inventory was created
with the hopes of discouraging a good-bad mode of thinking, but it is possible that some
mothers may have construed certain statements as such. Overall scores for the verbal
interaction sub-scale ranged from 34.00 to 67.00 with a mean of 54.49 and a standard


157
Lau, S., Cheung, K., Cheung, P., Lew, W., & Bemdt, T. (1990). Relations
among perceived parental control, warmth, indulgence, and family harmony of Chinese in
mainland China. Developmental Psychology. 26(4). 674-677.
Leggett, S. (1982). The eifects of a parent education program on parent attitudes
and management skills and on the self-concept and behavior of their learning disabled
children. Unpublished dissertation, University of Florida.
Leifer, M. & Smith, S. (1990). Towards breaking the cycle of intergenerational
abuse. American Journal of Psychotherapy. XLIV(l). 116-128.
Levant, R.F. (1983a). Major contributions toward a counseling psychology of the
family: Psychological-educational and skills-training programs for treatment, prevention,
and development. The Counseling Psychologist, 11(3). 5-27.
Levant, R.F. (1983b). Client-centered skills-training programs for the family: A
review of the literature. The Counseling Psychologist. 11(3), 29-46.
Levant, R.F. (1986). An overview of psychoeducational family programs. In R.F.
Levant (Ed ), Family therapy and counseling. New York: Springer Publishing
LeVine, R.A. (1974). Parental goals: A cross-cultural view. Teachers College
Record. 76(2), 226-239.
LeVine, R.A. (1980). A cross-cultural perspective on parenting. In M. Fantini &
R. Cardenas (Eds ), Parenting in a multicultural society. New York: Longman, Inc.
LeVine, R.A. (1988) Human parental care: Universal goals, cultural strategies,
individual behavior. In W. Damon, R.A. LeVine, P.M. Miller, & M.M. West (Eds.),
Parental behavior in diverse societies. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
LeVine, R.A., & White, M. (1987). Parenthood in social transformation. InJ.
Lancaster, J. Altmann, A. Rossi, & L. Sherrod (Eds ), Parenting across the life span.
Hawthorne, NY: Aldine.
Loevinger, J. (1966). The meaning and measurement of ego development.
American Psychologist. 21. 195-206.
Loevinger, J. (1980). Ego development. San Francisco. Jossey-Bass.


113
Table 8
Regression Analysis to Assess Frequency of Democratic Family-Management Style Due
to Family Paradigmatic Preference
Source
of Variation
df
Type III
Sums of Squares
F
Closed
1,49
2.7133
.57
Random
1,49
3.5934
.76
Open
1,49
27.0979
5.73 *
Synchronous
1,49
5.4597
1.15
Educational level
1,49
5.5699
1.18
Race
1,49
7.1605
1.51
Educ x Race
1,49
13.9355
2.95
*p<05
In summary, mothers reporting an open paradigmatic preference also report the
use of a democratic family-management style, thus, the findings from this sample of
women support the decision to reject Hypothesis Five.
Hypothesis Six
After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference will demonstrate no difference in family-management style as


90
The Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning
Measurement of family functioning was assessed through the administration of the
Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning developed by Bernard Bloom
(1985). According to Bloom, this instrument was developed in an attempt to create an
improved self-report measure of family functioning, by starting with an already created
scale, maximizing its psychometric robustness while minimizing its length, and then
determining by means of cluster analytic, factor analytic, and correlational techniques,
whether subsequently examined scales included dimensions of family functioning not
identified by the scales previously assessed.
Four scales were serially assessed. The Family Environment Scale developed by
Moos and Moos (1981) assesses the social climate of families. It focuses on the
interpersonal relationships among family members, on personal growth dimensions, and on
efforts at family system maintenance. The Family-Concept Q Sort developed by van der
Veen (1965) assesses member's concepts of their family with regards to functioning. The
Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales developed by Olson, Sprenkle, and
Russell (1979) is based on their identification of cohesion, (the emotional bonding
members have with one another and the degree of individual autonomy a person
experiences in the family system), and adaptability, (the ability of a family system to
change its power structure, role relationships, and relationship rules in response to


4
author focused exclusively on the paradigmatic preferences of mothers as an initial step in
studying the relationship between childrearing practices and family image.
Scope of the Problem
Childrearing practices have been questioned, debated, and obsessed upon by social
scientists, educators and community leaders for over half a century (Carlson, 1985). As
social institutions in the United States (e g., day care and the schools) assume greater
responsibility for childrearing, increasing attention is being paid to determining what might
be the best way to rear children to be successful in society. Hand-in-hand with the
increase in institutional involvement in childrearing has come the recognition that there are
conflicting points of view as to how best to rear a child (Carlson, 1985, Dembo, Sweitzer,
& Lauritizen, 1985; Gfellner, 1990). It is becoming increasingly evident that different
subgroups of society, each operating with their own set of values, rules and expectations,
may each have their own ideas about the "correct way" to rear a child (Ivey, 1988; Strom,
Griswold, & Slaughter, 1981).
Is there only one correct method? This question has been raised only recently in
designing research and interventions on childrearing. Embracing the perspective that there
was a single correct way to rear a child, researchers in the 1960s and 1970s often
conceptualized parenting styles in terms of unidimensional constructs: love versus
hostility or autonomy versus control (Baumrind, 1967, 1971, 1972; Becker, 1964; Kegan


72
systems theoretical arguments regarding the relationship of individual to collective action
and its regulation in systems, in a series of papers by Constantine (1977, 1983, 1984a).
The fourth paradigm, the synchronous paradigm, encourages harmony, tranquility, and
mutual identification. These families are "coincidence-oriented" meaning they simply
expect there to be a consensus of goals and world views among members. There is no
conflict between the individual and the group as neither comes first. There is a
non-intellectual sense of unity and harmonious agreement. Their motto: "harmony
through perfection and identification."
Including the synchronous paradigm with Kantor and Lehr's types accounts for all
four extremes identified in the Olson Circumplex Model and results in a reasonable
correspondence (Constantine, 1986) with the four family paradigms derived by Reiss
(1971, 1981).
Families differ in the setting of priorities and deciding between competing goals.
Their paradigm offers them the guidelines on which to build and by which they view the
world. A family operating within a closed paradigm sees the random and open families as
chaotic, and views the synchronous as utopian. A random family sees the closed and open
as authoritarian. An open family sees the closed and random as alternatives to be used or
mixed as needed (Constantine, 1986). Therefore, therapy (or parent training) that


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Theresa Thweatt Rulien was bom in Jacksonville, Florida, where she lived until
moving to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida. She received her Bachelor of
Arts in psychology from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1982 and her Master
of Education and Specialist in Education in counselor education in 1985.
Theresa began her doctoral studies in 1986 while beginning her career as a child
and family therapist at Mental Health Services, Inc., in Gainesville. She continued there in
the Children's Program until 1991 at which time she transferred to the Alachua Regional
Juvenile Detention Center where she remained into 1992.
Theresa and her husband, Joe, presently reside in Jacksonville with their three
children. Caitlin, age 8; Dustin, age 3; and Dillin, age 11 months. She is presently
employed by Psychological Associates, a division of the Baptist/St. Vincent's Health
System, as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Licensed Marriage and Family
Therapist.
167


46
child-focused goals and subgoals, and plans for action which reflect thought about
parental roles appropriate for the situational and response to cues from the child, and (d)
action which provides opportunities for the child to be self-directive in the situation," (pg.
11). Main and Goldwyn, 1984 cited in Crowell and Feldman (1991) stated that a mother's
attachment level is believed to be associated with her ability to read, understand, and
respond to her child's behavior and needs. Sumlin (1979) as cited in Leggett (1982),
however, reached the conclusion that attitudinal changes regarding parenting may not be
equated with cognitive changes.
A number of studies confirmed the usefulness of coordinating learner
characteristics with educational approaches (Solomon, 1980 cited in Leggett 1982). Hunt
(1970) cited matching by Internal Control (Rotter, 1966), Ego Development Scale
(Loevinger, 1966) and Model Maturity Scale (Kohlberg, 1964). "If you wish to help
students to learn you must know something about the underlying cognitive processes, and
you also need to have some psychological insight into the individuals you want to help,"
(Howe, 1987, p. 145).
Relating Parenting to the Nature of the Family Context
The third perspective for studying parenting, as defined for the purpose of this
paper, is a focus on the nature of the family. This includes the effects of race, contextual
differences, and the orientation/organization of the family.


15
in this study that (a) the family's paradigm would influence the style of childrearing
implemented; (b) there would be a variety of different acceptable patterns of childrearing
demonstrated just as there are a variety of different acceptable family paradigms available;
and (c) the types of interactional skills developed by parents would be related to the type
of family paradigm valued.
Need for the Study
Because most research on childrearing practices and attitudes among individuals of
varying ethnic and economic groups has focused on examining differences from one
valued standard of childrearing practice, very little is known as to whether there are
predictable differences among parents in different sociocultural contexts concerning how
they think family life should be structured. Even less is known as to whether these
differing paradigms of family life are related to specific childrearing practices and
competencies.
Family paradigmatic theory posits that how one thinks is considered to be critical
in the development of specific types of parent-child interaction. Thus, gaining an
understanding of a parent's family paradigmatic preference seems extremely relevant to
understanding parents' ideas about and practices of childrearing. Further exploration of
parental differences in family paradigmatic preference is needed to increase understanding
of the wide variety of responses parents have to the task of rearing children. Not only


26
people are basically good and will do the right thing, needing only support to make their
own choices. People are seen as responsible for their own decisions and are seen as
capable of changing. The goal of this approach is an increase in the expression of feelings
with a need for two-way communication. Few limits are placed on the child, due to the
belief that when children are accepted by their parents, their self-esteem/concept and
self-confidence will be high and they will be able to solve their own problems or
appropriately seek assistance. Techniques focus on the acceptance and reflection of
children's and parents' feelings to develop competent and well-adjusted children. The
child's behavior is affected through the parent-child interaction (Tavormina, 1980). The
Parent Effectiveness Training (PET) program (Gordon, 1970, 1976) is the most widely
known of the client-centered approaches and shows support for its use as a preventive
intervention (Cedar & Levant, 1990). The client-centered/humanistic approach to parent
education, with its focus on the expression of feelings and the importance of
communication, defines an open family paradigm.
While the three major theories in use in the parent education field appear to
support only two of the family paradigms proposed by Constantine, it should be noted that
the closed and open paradigms are the only images of family life that define themselves by
a value system capable of being taught by means of an educational program. Neither the
random paradigm, with its values on laissez-faire parenting and anarchic control, nor the


87
Subjects are asked to respond to seven hypothetical situations which describe
typical parent-child communication exchanges. Five of the situations describe
circumstances requiring the mother to regulate or discipline her child's behavior. Two of
the situations present circumstances requiring the mother to provide comfort or emotional
support to her child Mothers are asked to state explicitly what they would say in each
situation. Probe questions or role-playing (with the interviewer playing the role of the
child) are used as needed to encourage mothers to respond fully and to provide actual
messages rather than abstract discussion.
Individual differences in the person-centered quality of the mother's
communication is assessed by the use of two parallel six-level hierarchical coding systems.
The specific aspect of person-centered communication focused on is the extent to which
mother's regulative and comforting strategies encourage the child to reflect upon and
reason through relevant behaviors, feelings, and circumstances. Regulative strategies are
scored by the degree to which the mother encourages the child to modify his/her behavior
as a function of reflecting on and reasoning through the nature and consequences of
his/her inappropriate behavior. Comforting strategies are scored by the degree to which
the mother's response grants legitimacy to the child's feelings and encourages him/her to
reflect upon and seek an understanding of his/her feelings as related to the circumstances.
The seven individual situation scores are scored within the appropriate hierarchical coding


152
Gelman, R. (1985). The developmental perspective on the problem of knowledge
acquisition: A discussion. In S.F. Chipman, J.W. Segal, & R.Glaser (Eds.), Thinking and
learning skills Yol. 2: Research and open questions. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Assoc.
Gfellner, B.M. (1990). Culture and consistency in ideal and actual child-rearing
practices: A study of Canadian Indian and White parents. Journal of Comparative Family
Studies. 21(1), 413-423.
Gill, D.G. (1970). Violence against children: Physical child abuse in the United
States. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice. Cambridge. Harvard University Press.
Gilligan, C., Ward, J., & Taylor, J., with Bardige, B., (Eds.). (1988). Mapping
the moral domain: A contribution of women's thinking to psychological theory and
education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Goetting, A. (1986). Parental satisfaction: A review of the literature. Journal of
Family Issues. 7, 83-109.
Goldberg, W.A., & Easterbrooks, M.A. (1984). Role of marital quality in toddler
development. Developmental Psychology. 20. 504-514.
Goodnow, J.J. (1985). Change and variation in ideas about childhood and
parenting. In I.E. Sigel (Ed ), Parental belief systems. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Assoc.
Goodnow, J.J. & Collins, W.A. (1990). Development according to parents: The
nature, sources, and consequences of parents' ideas. Hillsdale, NJ.: Lawrence Erlbaum
Assoc.
Gordon, I. (1980). Significant sociocultural factors in effective parenting. InM.
Fantini & R. Cardenas (Eds ), Parenting in a multicultural society. New York: Longman.
Gordon, S B., & Davidson, N. (1981). Behavioral parent training. In A S.
Gurman & D P. Kniskem (Eds.), Handbook of Famillv Therapy. New York:
Brunner/Mazel.


134
parenting ideals and behaviors. A broader range of educational levels would also prove
beneficial to achieve a better understanding of differing values based on educational
extremes. A more extensive study focusing on other races would prove interesting as well
as useful in addressing the needs of other populations.
In considering parallel avenues of research, it would prove interesting to not only
focus on the manner in which family paradigmatic preferences may affect parenting
behavior, but also how parenting behavior may shape a person's paradigmatic preference.
Implications of the Study
Very little is known as to whether there are predictable differences among parents
in different sociocultural contexts concerning how they think family life should be
structured. Even less is known as to whether these differing paradigms of family life are
related to specific childrearing practices and competencies. Family paradigmatic theory
posits that how one thinks is considered to be critical in the development of specific types
of parent-child interaction. Gaining an understanding of a parent's family paradigmatic
preference is relevant to understanding parents' ideas about and practices of childrearing
and, therefore, understanding the wide variety of responses parents have to the task of
rearing children. That these responses are related to different family paradigms and that
all are equally functional encourages the challenging and revision of current underlying
assumptions and methodology. Information regarding family structure and resulting


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127
deviation of 6.49. Scores for the behavioral interaction sub-scale ranged from 58.00 to
90.00 with a mean of 74.28 and a standard deviation of 7.08.
Hypotheses Five. Six, and Seven
In Hypotheses Five, Six, and Seven the possible differences in the frequency with
which mothers differing by family paradigmatic preference demonstrate preferences for
particular family-management styles were investigated. Significant differences were not
found for any of the family-management styles in relation to the family paradigms except
for a portion of Hypothesis Five in which mothers expressing a preference for an open
family paradigm were found to report a democratic family-management style. Thus, one
can conclude that for this study sample the hypotheses that family-management styles and
family paradigmatic preference are related were not supported to the extent expected
This limited degree of significance was unexpected since this instrument was designed to
yield information about the structure within the family and about the degree of control
which is exerted by family members over each other. The definitions of the three
family-management styles assessed: democratic, (i.e., the extent to which decision-making
is based upon full participation of all family members); laissez-faire, (i.e., the extent to
which rules governing family behavior fail to exist or to be enforced); and authoritarian
style, (i.e., the extent to which parents are the locus of rule making and punishment), are
considered to be highly correlated with the family paradigms: open; random; and closed


52
conceptual differentiation between children's areas of personal choice and matters of moral
and social regulation and prudence. Prudential issues (Nucci 1994) refer to children's
actions that result in, or have the potential to result in, harm to the children. Children play
an active role in the feedback through requests and resistance (Radke-Yarrow & Gimius
Brown, 1981 cited in Nucci 1994). Depending on the cultural view of such resistance a
child may or may not be seen as a problem. Super and Harkness (cited in Richman, Miller
and Solomon, 1988) suggested that the notion of "difficult" temperament represents an
interaction between certain characteristics of the infant and characteristics of the cultural
context.
Nwachuku and Ivey (1991) pointed to examples from previous microskill
multicultural studies by Ivey (1988) which consistently support cultural differences. For
example, with an African American or Lebanese client, it may be more helpful to focus on
relationships or on the family rather than use the typical person-centered approach through
"I" statements. This realization would be imperative in designing a parenting program, for
this clientele, to which they would be receptive.
Another example of the importance of fitting the program's style and information
to the cultural priorities of the parents/families was found in a study on Mexican and
Mexican American parents (Powell, Zambrana, & Silva-Palacios, 1990). It was found that
these mothers prefer group and home visiting formats, that they need experienced role


7
content and the structure of thinking regarding childrearing tasks. The associations
among the structure of parental beliefs and parental communication characteristics
(Applegate, Burleson, Burke, Delia & Kline, 1985), parental concepts of child
development (Sameroff & Feil, 1985), parent-child relationships (Newberger, 1980), and
parental behaviors (Dekovic & Gerris, 1992) have been examined. However, these
models of parental reasoning complexity, with their emphases on developmental
hierarchies and low to high levels of cognitive complexity, still have an inherent "right
versus wrong" quality to their descriptions of parental thinking.
Recently, the need for understanding and appreciating the diversity in childrearing
practices of individuals has resulted in a third approach to exploring parents' ideas about
childrearing. This perspective focuses on understanding the world view of the parent. It
underscores the normalcy of differing modes of childrearing which evolve as a result of a
parent's social context, family organization, and cultural heritage. Based on the premise
that there is more than one way to effectively rear children, this approach seeks to
determine whether different childrearing practices are associated with particular normative
assumptions, world views and frames of reference. This conceptual approach is illustrated
by the thinking of Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger and Tarule (1986):
Our basic assumptions about the nature of truth and reality and the origins of
knowledge shape the way we see the world and ourselves as participants in it.
They affect our definitions of ourselves, the way we interact with others, our
public and private personae, our sense of control over life events, our views of
teaching and learning, and our conceptions of morality, (pg. 3).
A


70
If the family's regime is successful in translating its paradigm into process the family
succeeds at being itself. However, not all regimes are compatible with all paradigms. It is
possible for a family to be guided by one concept of family, yet be unable to put this into
practice either because its organization as a family is incompatible with its paradigm or
because its organization is ineffective at generating the desired behavior. A family's
greatest strength is also its greatest flaw when the family remains true to its paradigm. A
mismatch between paradigm and regime creates stress. Different members may hold
competing paradigms and subsystems may operate under different rules. For example,
family images are often shaped more by some members' personal images than by others'.
These are the "architects" of the family system. Because collective family images emerge
in an historical process, the parents are most likely to be the architects (Satir, 1972),
however, this may not always be the case. In a study reviewed by Tolan, Cromwell, and
Brasswell (1986), it was found that in families of delinquents, the delinquent child was
often more influential than one or both parents on the tenor and direction of family
interactions. No matter what the family's paradigm, delinquency is a sign of family stress.
Johnson (cited in Tolan et al 1986) also explained that delinquency serves as a family
homeostatic device that signals a failing family system.
Family paradigms are distinguished by finer gradations and variations and
combinations. Because of the fundamental distinctions the paradigm establishes the range


17
function of a mother's parenting experience, so that having more than one child could
presumably affect her preference, this author focused on the effects of educational level
and race as an initial step. Second, the author compared the childrearing practices and
style of parent-child communication of mothers differing in family paradigmatic
preference. Third, the author investigated the frequency with which mothers differing in
educational level and race were characterized by differing family paradigmatic preferences.
Research Questions
The following research questions were posed in this study:
1. What are the differences in family paradigm preferences of mothers belonging
to lower and higher educational levels?
2. What are the differences in family paradigm preferences of mothers belonging
to Black African American and White Anglo American racial groups?
3. After adjusting for educational level and race, what are the differences in
child-management values demonstrated by mothers differing in family paradigm
preferences?
4. After adjusting for educational level and race, what are the differences in
family management styles demonstrated by mothers differing in family paradigm
preferences?


29
children's personalities. His ideas regarding these stages and the potential for fixations
encouraged exploration in research into the role parents play in their children's
development. His contributions did not actually spell out the impact of parents, but
consisted in outlining some of the human dynamics which operate. Individuals such as
Ernst Jones and Karen Homey began filling in Freud's outline (Holden, 1990).
Freud's work was influential in prompting physicians to become more attentive to
parents and their childrearing practices. The impact of the family environment became an
area of interest for study. This translated into research, by Allport, in efforts to study the
construct of attitudes (Holden, 1990). This was the origin of the parental childrearing
attitude questionnaires, as it was believed that the family atmosphere to which the child
was exposed could be assessed by the parental attitudes. This model of parent-child
interaction was simple, but inaccurate. Parental behavior was determined by assessing
parental attitudes due to the (misconception) that parental behavior was simply a direct
reflection of global attitudes of warmth, control, or punitiveness (Holden, 1990).
Some investigators, such as Koch, did not subscribe to such assumptions and
began recognizing the problems in the accuracy of the assessments (Holden, 1990). Other
researchers recognized that children's perceptions were also important. A number of
instruments assessing children's perceptions of their parents were available by the end of
the 1930s (cited in Holden, 1990).


147
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development project, I: Stability and change in mother-infant and father-infant interaction
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Blechman, E.A. (1982). Are children with one parent at psychological risk? A
methodological review. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 44. 179-195.
Bloom, B. (1985). A factor analysis of self-report measures of family functioning.
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Budd, L.S. (1990). Living with the active alert child. New York. Prentice Hall.
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Bugental, D.B. & Shennum, W. A. (1984). "Difficult" children as elicitors and
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Burgess, R.L., & Youngblade, L.M. (1988). Social incompetence and the
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20
Open family paradigm models a modem, communication-oriented, democratic
family with shared roles and defined, yet flexible boundaries. It is one of the classifications
established by the Family Regime Assessment Scale.
Synchronous family paradigm blueprints a quiet, harmonious family relying on tacit
understanding and unstated mies rather than utilizing communication and negotiation
Roles are static and boundaries rigidly defined, but not actively controlled. It is one of the
classifications established by the Family Regime Assessment Scale.
Regime is the organization or structure by which the paradigm can be translated
into observable behavior.
Child-centered communication refers to communication and strategies (both
regulative and comforting) used by the parent to give legitimacy to a child's feelings and
encourage the child to reflect on and reason through the nature and consequences of
his/her behavior. This variable was measured by the Person-Centered Communication
Assessment (Applegate, et al, 1985).
Educational level refers to the number of years of formal education a mother has
received, according to the categories used by Hollingshead (1975) in his index, and
resulted in a classification of lower and higher level education. Lower level consisted of
mothers with a high school education or less. Higher level consisted of mothers having
attended at least one year of college.


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10
paradigms was chosen for this study because it is more inclusive than many existing family
typologies, it includes all internal aspects of family life, including structural, psychological
and philosophical contexts, and it provides an integrative framework for understanding the
diverse ways in which families might organize themselves and function successfully.
Basing his paradigmatic model on Reiss' (1981) notion of the family paradigm,
Constantine (1993) described family paradigms as stable, implicit, overarching guides to
family life which consist of the family's repertoire of understandings, shared assumptions,
and traditions. He stated:
The paradigmatic framework encompasses three central ideas: (a) there is more
than one way that families can organize themselves and function effectively; (b)
families can be understood at more than one level of analysis; and (c) there are
relationships between how families construct their realities and how they function
and are organized (pg. 46).
Although the typology is conceptual, it is grounded in research and agrees with other
empirically based models (Constantine, 1980, 1983). Its practical value also has been
demonstrated in marriage and family therapy (Budd, 1990; Burr, Day & Bahr, 1989;
Constantine, 1986, 1987; Constantine & Israel, 1985; Nugent & Constantine, 1988). The
family paradigm framework distinguishes three levels of analysis by which families can be
characterized: (a) paradigm (world view, model); (b) regime (organization, structure);
and (c) process (behavior, interaction) Paradigms are reflected in process through
regimes, the regulatory mechanisms that generate patterned collective behavior. The
paradigm is the most abstract level and most difficult to assess; process is the most


hesitating to lovingly remind me to get to work. I thank my in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Jack
Rulien (Maureen), for babysitting and for understanding when I couldn't make it to a
family function.
I especially wish to acknowledge my husband, Joey, and our three children, Caitlin,
Dustin, and Dillin, for their patience at having me in school the entire time any of the four
have known me. Their belief in me kept this a worthwhile goal. And to my parents, Dr.
and Mrs. Robert Thweatt (Doris), I can not even begin to express my gratitude for their
love, support, and faith in me. Without their parenting, urging, empathy, editing, advice,
wisdom, and constant willingness to keep my children "just a few more hours" I would not
have even come close to achieving this goal.
v


42
Consistent with Piaget's concepts, these developmental stages are arranged in
hierarchical order Development in each stage is demonstrated by a gradual increase in the
complexity of information processing and an increase in accessing capacity (Rozin, 1976
cited in Gelman, 1985).
Parenting Cognitions
Knowing the parents' level of reasoning might not enable us to predict a single
action of a parent, which is inherently difficult to predict without taking into
account the context in which the act takes place. But it might help account for the
variation in more global categories of parental behavior (i.e. the parents'
childrearing style), better than some specific parental beliefs (Sigel 1986).
Studying the parental reasoning complexity may be worthwhile for expanding our
knowledge about parental functioning, and in addition it can also enrich our
clinical understanding and serve as a basis for educational (preventive) or clinical
intervention for parents. In planning and evaluating efforts to improve pure
parenting skills or disturbed parent-child relationships, level of reasoning might be
a useful criterion for observing whether or not a change took place in the parents'
deeper understanding of the parent-child relationship, (Selman,1976 cited in
Dekovic & Gerris 1992, pg. 684).
Studies of parenting cognitions have been diverse. A summary by Goodnow and
Collins (1990) listed a number of domains of parenting beliefs they characterized as
dealing with directions of and conditions of development. Directions included parents'
goals, starting points (expectations), and beliefs about child development. Conditions
included ideas regarding the effects of internal and external events, the influence and
responsibility of parents, and methods parents use to achieve goals. Researchers have
primarily focused on the effects of these cognitions on parenting behavior and child
outcomes (Sigel, McGillicuddy-DeLisi & Goodnow, 1992). Dekovic and Gerris (1992)


39
parenting practices, (coercion and hostility), while a man committed to such a value
orientation could simply disengage from the parenting process. Compared to mothers,
fathers have a great deal of cultural license regarding the manner in which they play the
parenting role and so are more likely to engage in nurturing activities when they believe
that such behaviors will make an important difference in the life of the child (Simons et al
1990). McBride (1990) determined in his review of the literature, that the degree of
paternal involvement is related to the father's perceived sense of competence rather than
his level of skill and knowledge. There was also some indication that patterns of fathering
were more systematically related to patterns of marital interaction and satisfaction than
was mothering (Belsky, Gilstrap & Rovine, 1984; Goldberg & Easterbrooks, 1984 both
cited in Belsky 1990).
Marital Status
Research supports that marital relations influence the quality of parenting (Belsky,
1981, 1990; Dix, 1991). Segal (1985) found that obedience and sibling competition
tended to occur more frequently in single-parent families. Members of these families also
tended to suffer from social isolation, social status disadvantage and high levels of
negative stress (Blechman, 1982).
Parents attempting to raise their children with little to no support from a partner,
whether separated or together, reported having more difficulty than parents who were


96
(Constantine, 1986; Kantor & Lehr, 1975). The use of one sub-scale was endorsed by Dr.
Imig, as the two scales are independent of one another in their reliability testing.
There is growing recognition among scholars that the prevailing positivistic modes
of inquiry are unlikely to provide the understanding necessary to effectively enhance the
quality of family life. It is, therefore, important to recognize that the dialectical logic
underpinning the construct of family paradigm represents a non-positivistic approach to
the conceptualizations of families. The essence of positivism rests on the presumption of
objectivity and that there is one paradigmatic interpretation of reality. The dialectical
notion of family paradigm as represented by unified family process theory (Constantine,
1986, 1987) specifies that there are four uniquely different and stereotypically distinct
ways of understanding and therefore creating four different realities closed, random,
open, and synchronous structures. The closed perspective uses attenuating feedback and
explicit hierarchical organization to achieve continuity and stability. Random uses
amplifying feedback and horizontal organization to achieve innovation and change. Open
synthesizes both attenuating and amplifying feedback, and vertical and horizontal
organization to achieve an adaptive form of practicality. Synchronous relies on
consentaneity, identification and implicit coordination to achieve a harmonious sense of
flow and perfection.


48
In Hoffman's (1986) study of cross-cultural differences in childrearing he cited
numerous authors' differing answers to the variations. LeVine's 1974 research reported
that the differences in childrearing patterns evolved in response to environmental risks
threatening the child's survival and self-maintenance. Kohn (1969) stated that
occupational roles affect an adult's attitudes and values and thus influence his/her role as a
parent. Hoffman cited Barry, Bacon and Child (1967), Barry, Child and Bacon (1959),
and Hoffman (1974, 1984, 1986) in reporting that parents rear their children so as to
encourage the development of those qualities and attitudes needed for their expected
roles, which differ from society to society. Therefore, to define an effective parent
requires some notion of the goals of parenting (Gordon, 1980). LeVine stated that
obedience is a necessary trait for surviving economically as an adult in a rural society, and
Kohn reported that professional and managerial parents see initiative and independence as
paying off, while blue-collar parents see obedience and sticking to the rules as most
important. Their positions are supported by the Cross-National Value of Children study
of 1973 involving eight countries. As well as the study by Harkness and Super (1992)
supporting cross-cultural differences resulting from the fact that adult beliefs about the
nature of children or about the world in general differ from group to group, and these
beliefs affect parenting behavior. Gfellner (1990) also cited a 1986 Super and Harkness
article stating that the psychology of caregivers refers to parents' beliefs and values or


121
comforting communication, there were differences demonstrated by educational level with
the higher educated mothers reporting they were more likely to practice comforting
parent-child communication (F= 2.87, df=l,51, p=0962).
Summary
Chapter 4 contained a discussion of the analyses and results involved in this
research. The outcome of the findings was examined in light of the decision rule to reject
or fail to reject the null hypotheses. The statistical evidence derived from the analyses
resulted in the decision to reject Hypothesis Five.


CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY
Statement of the Purpose
The purpose of this study was to determine whether women differing in terms of
their family paradigmatic preference would differ in their parenting practices and
parent-child communication. Women's family paradigm preferences were classified into
one of Constantine's family paradigms. Differences among the paradigm groups were then
examined in terms of (a) parental discipline practices; and (b) style of parent-child
communication. In addition, differences in race and educational level among participants
in different paradigms were explored.
In this chapter, the research hypotheses, design of the study, population, sampling
procedures, subjects, and data collection are described. The instrumentation, data
analysis, and methodological limitations are also discussed.
Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses were examined in this study:
Hypothesis One: Mothers differing in educational level demonstrate no differences
in family paradigmatic preferences as measured by The Family Regime Assessment Scale.
78


94
Style had a Cronbach Alpha of .79, .83, and .65 in each of the three studies respectively
and an average inter-item correlation of .44, .50, .28 respectively; Laissez-Faire Family
Style had a Cronbach Alpha of .72, .68, .71 in each of the three studies respectively and an
average inter-item correlation of .34, .30, .34 respectively; and Authoritarian Family Style
had a Cronbach Alpha of .69, .66, .40 in each of the three studies respectively and an
average inter-item correlation of .31, .28, .13 respectively. As noted, the independence of
the sub-scale analyses allows the use of any number of the sub-scales without the necessity
of administering the entire instrument. Results of the rotated varimax factor analysis
showed a total of 13 factors with eigenvalues in excess of 1.00, together accounting for
88.4 percent of the communality. Because several of the scales were highly
intercorrelated and appeared to be part of the same general factor, a second-order factor
analysis of the 15 scale scores was computed, finding two-second order factors. Although
the components of the second factor differed in between Study III and IV, the first factor
included heavy loadings of the Cohesion, Expressiveness, and Family Idealization scores in
both samples. In examining the scales that are highly correlated with the measure of
family idealization, it was found that idealized families are characterized by high cohesion
and expressiveness, very little conflict, a high active-recreational orientation, high
sociability, an internal locus of control, a sense of engagement with one another, a
democratic family style, and an absence of a laissez-faire approach to life.


160
Moss, H A. & Jones, S.J. (1977). Relations between maternal attitudes and
maternal behavior as a function of social class. In P.H. Leiderman, S.R. Tulkin, & A.
Rosenfeld (Eds.), Culture and infancy. San Diego: Academic Press.
Newberger, C M. (1980). The cognitive structure of parenthood: Designing a
descriptive measure. In R.L. Selman & R. Yando (Eds ), Clinical-developmental
psychology. New directions for child development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Nucci, L.P. (1994). Mothers' beliefs regarding the personal domain of children.
New Directions for Child Development. 66. 81-97.
Nucci, L.P. & Weber, E.K. (in press). Social interactions in the home and the
development of young children's conceptions of the personal. Child Development.
Nugent, M.D. & Constantine, L.L. (1988). Marital paradigms: Compatibility,
treatment, and outcome in marital therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 14,
351-369.
Nwachuku, U.T. & Ivey, A.E. (1991). Culture-specific counseling: An
alternative training model. Journal of Counseling and Development. 70( 1), 106- 111.
O'Dell, S.L. (1974). Training parents in behavior modification: A review.
Psychological Bulletin. 81, 418-433.
O'Dell, S.L., O'Quin, J., Alford, B.A, O'Briant, A.L., Bradlyn, A S., & Giebenhain,
J,E. (1982). Predicting the acquisition of parenting skills via four training methods.
Behavior Therapy. 13, 194-208.
Oichi, W.G. (1981). Theory Z. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Olson, D.H., Portner, J., & Bell, R.Q. (1982). FACES II: Family adaptability and
cohesion evaluation scales. Family Social Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MI.
Olson, D.H., Russell, C.S. & Sprenkle, D.H. (1983). Circumplex model of
marital and family systems: VI. Theoretical update. Family Process. 22. 69-83.
Olson, D.H., Sprenkle, D.H., & Russell, C.S. (1979). Circumplex model of
marital and family systems: I. Cohesion and adaptability dimensions, family types, and
clinical applications. Family Process. 18, 3-29.


64
interactions (Hauser, Powers, Noam, Jacobson, Weiss & Follansbee, 1984). Pittman,
Wright and Lloyd (1989) in their review of the literature, however, determined that the
research findings about the effects of background characteristics such as income,
employment and number of children on parental attitudes were inconsistent. Baumrind
(1993) also found this, but questioned the reliability of the childrearing assessments.
Radke (1969) reported a need for the education of parents in the
authority-discipline area of home relations. Parents still failed to recognize that children
were entitled to respectful treatment as demonstrated in children's descriptions of
punishments, in the substantial proportion of parents described as showing anger in
discipline, and in the overwhelming proportion of discipline procedures depending on
sheer power of the adult or undermining the child's power. There was no stimulation for
growth of self-dependence in the child. Because they fail to recognize that the child also
strives for power, these techniques frustrate and the probable outcome is aggression and
further attempts to gain power (Radke 1969; Strom, Barros & Strom, 1990).
A child's behavior standards correspond closely to the standards required by the
parents, and a child emulates by his own behavior with other children the behavior of the
parent. Radke (1969) gives the following example. If there is an autocratic, restrictive
and severe disciplinary atmosphere at home then the child is viewed as more unpopular
with other children. They are seen as inconsiderate, emotionally unstable, frequently


155
Howe, M.J.A. (1987). Using cognitive psychology to help students learn how to
learn. In J.T.E. Richardson, M.W. Eysenck, & D.W. Piper (Eds ), Student learning:
Research in education and cognitive psychology. England: The Society for Research into
Higher Education and Open University Press.
Hunt, D.E. (1970). A conceptual level matching model for coordinating learner
characteristics with educational approaches. Interchange. 1(3), 68-82.
Imig, DR (1993). Family stress: Paradigms and perceptions. Family Science
Review, 6(3,4), 125-136.
Imig, D.R. & Phillips, R.G. (1992). Operationalizing paradigmatic family theory:
The family regime assessment scale (FRAS). Family Science Review. 5,
Ivey, A.E. (1986). Developmental therapy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Ivey, A.E. (1988). Intentional counseling and interviewing. Montery, CA:
Brooks/Cole.
Ivey, A.E. (1991). Developmental strategies for helpers. Pacific Grove, CA:
Brooks/Cole.
Johnson, D.L., & Breckenridge, J.N. (1982). The Houston Parent-Child
Development Center and the primary prevention of behavior problems in young children.
American Journal of Community Psychology. 10. 305-316.
Kantor, D. & Lehr, W. (1975). Inside the family. San Francisco. Jossey-Bass.
Kegan, J. & Moss, H.A. (1962). Birth to maturity. New York. Wiley.
Keller, H., Miranda, D., & Gauda, G. (1984). The nature theory of the infant and
some maternal attitudes in a two-country study. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.
15, 165-179.
Kelly, G. A. (1955). The psychology of personal constructs. New York: Norton.
Kim, Y.S.E. (1987). Korean families and family therapy. New York: Verlag
Peter Lang.


129
example, parental actions that fit within the authoritarian pattern within white families did
not result in an authoritarian "syndrome" among African-American girls, but instead
fostered toughness and self-sufficiency and was perceived as "nurturant care-taking." It
would have been expected, therefore, to have seen this relationship, however, if a mother
perceived "authoritarian" as negative and was able to note items with an authoritarian
flavor, then she may have not answered in a straightforward manner.
Poorer child management skills (Patterson, Cobb & Ray, 1972) were determined
to be related to lower levels of education which lends support to the post-hoc analyses
resulting in the finding of a significant relationship between Caucasian lower-educated
mothers and a laissez-faire family-management style, but which does not necessarily
support the finding that Caucasian higher-educated mothers prefer an authoritarian family
style.
Hypothesis Eight
In Hypothesis Eight the frequency with which mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference demonstrated differences in level of child-centered
communication was investigated. No significant differences were found Thus, for this
study sample it can be concluded that the data did not support that family paradigmatic
differences affect levels of child-centered communication. This is surprising due to the
aforementioned defining characteristics of each of the paradigms which focus on the


91
situational and developmental stresses), as the two most fundamental dimensions of family
functioning. The Family Assessment Measure developed by Skinner, Steinhauer, and
Santa-Barbara (1983) consists of three separate scales which measure (a) the family as a
whole, (b) the relationships between dyads, and (c) the relationships of the respondent to
the entire family. By the end of the fourth study, a 75-item instrument had been
constructed. Within each study the instrument responses were analyzed by means of
cluster analysis and those items loading highest were selected. The shortened scales were
then examined in terms of their reliability (Cronbach alpha), their average inter-item
correlations, and their correlations with the original scales.
Moos has suggested that family functioning can be thought of in terms of three
major dimensions. The relationship dimension is defined as the extent to which family
members feel they belong to and are proud of their family, the extent to which there is
open expression within the family, and the degree to which conflictual interactions are
characteristic of the family. The results of Bloom's studies suggest that other components
constitute part of the relationship dimension including family sociability, the extent to
which family members seek and derive gratification from social interactions with others;
family idealization, the extent to which the family is prized by its members; and
disengagement, the extent to which family members fail to be drawn to each other or to be
interdependent. The personal growth dimension is indexed by the level of emphasis within


40
supportive of each other (Belsky, 1981; 1990; Gordon & Davidson, 1981; Marr &
Kennedy, 1980; Simons et al, 1990). Leifer and Smith (1990) indicated that mothers who
were able to break the abusive cycle were more likely to have established emotionally
supportive relationships during childhood and/or with a current mate or to have
participated in therapy.
With regards to parent education, Webster-Stratton (1985) reported evidence of
lower success rates for single-parent families. Horton (cited in Coplin & Houts 1991)
stated that if parents do not attend together, the non-attending parent will adopt the new
strategies if the initial strategies are similar However, if one parent opposes the change,
new skills can be undermined (Forehand & McMahon, 1981).
The sample in the present study is grouped by race and educational level.
Although the literature noted a difference in middle-class parenting techniques and values,
(Hefifer & Kelley, 1987; Maccoby & Gibbs, 1964; Sigel, 1982; Strom et al, 1981) this
investigator proposed that it is the family's image and definition of itself, encompassing
race and educational level, but also involving issues of control, stability, interaction, and
autonomy that actually influences the parenting preferences.
Relating Parenting to Parental Cognitive Level
The exclusive interest among developmental psychologists in the influence of overt
parenting practices and behaviors on child development has given way, in recent
years, to a broader interest in the experience of parenting. After nearly a half
century of research, developmental psychologists have discovered that parents,


106
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a series of four different two-way
analyses of variance which assessed the effects of race (African-American; Caucasian) on
the variability of family paradigmatic preference as measured by scores derived from The
Family Regime Assessment Scale. Scores ranged from 0 to 10, with 10 representing that
statement most accurately describing the participant's family. Analyses were conducted
testing interaction effects between educational level and race.
The results of the four separate two-way analyses of variance assessing the effect
of race on the mothers' family paradigm preferences are presented in Table 5. Only main
effects are presented as no interactions were found. As the data shows, no significant
differences in family paradigmatic preference, closed (F=.89, df=l,54, p=.3493), random
(F=.00, df=l,54, p=9540), open (F=. 14, df=l,54, p=.7124), and synchronous (F=. 17,
df=l,54, p=6801) were reported by women differing in race.
A chi-square analysis was also performed to determine whether family
paradigmatic preferences differed by race. No significant differences were found.
Because no significant differences in family paradigmatic preference based on
mother's race were found, Hypothesis Two failed to be rejected.
Hypothesis Three
After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference will demonstrate no differences in child-management values for


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18
5. After adjusting for educational level and race, what are the differences in
levels of child-centered communication demonstrated by mothers differing in family
paradigm preferences?
Definition of Terms
For the purpose of this study, key constructs and terms were defined as follows:
Child-management value is defined as the sense of importance attributed by the
mother to the two variables: level of behavioral interaction and involvement, and level of
parent verbal interaction and encouragement of expressiveness. It was measured by the
Parenting Preferences Inventory.
Level of parent behavioral interaction and involvement is defined as the degree of
parental "hands-on" involvement in the day to day decision making and teaching of the
child as measured by the Parenting Preferences Inventory.
Level of parent verbal interaction and encouragement of expressiveness is defined
as the degree to which the mother encourages verbal interaction between herself and her
child to elicit expression of thoughts and feelings as measured by the Parenting
Preferences Inventory.
Race reflects self-identification and, following the guidelines of the U S. Census
Bureau, "does not denote any clear-cut scientific definition of biological stock." The
categories of race used for purposes of census include both racial and national origin or


14
communication to a high art Both stability and change are valued insofar as they enhance
the family's ability to solve problems and adapt to challenges (Constantine, 1988).
The synchronous paradigm, the antithesis of the open paradigm, blueprints a quiet,
harmonious family relying on tacit understanding and unstated rules rather than utilizing
communication and negotiation. Roles are static and implicitly understood rather than
assigned. Boundaries are rigidly defined, but not actively controlled. The synchronous
family emphasizes neither change nor stability. Group concerns transcend individual
needs. Truth is viewed as enduring and eternal. These families seek a perfection in which
no one needs to be told what to do. Fairly uncommon in the United States (Budd, 1990;
Constantine & Israel, 1985), the synchronous paradigm appears more frequently in Japan
and other Asian countries and is a recognized form of organization manifest in Japanese
management style (Constantine, 1991; Oichi, 1981).
Constantine's paradigms are based on family strengths and he, like Olson and his
colleagues (1983), has made the assumption that any family paradigm is workable if
affirmed and desired by family members. Constantine (1986, 1993) also has
acknowledged that relatively few families are paradigmatically pure, that is, totally closed,
completely random, absolutely open, or completely synchronous. However, families can
be characterized as being more closely related to one paradigm than the other three, for
example, more synchronous than open, random, or closed. Consequently, it was assumed


62
sense of competence and mastery and may increase its vulnerability. For both mother and
infant, one key factor influencing coping capacity and the sense of self-efficacy is the
predictability of events and the relationship of their own actions to outcomes. A setting
that does not permit anticipation and strategic response to environmental events may
result in negative consequences, with evidence that chaotic, unstable environments alter
mother-infant dyadic interaction and can be the source of developmental pathology
(Pavenstadt 1965; Turnbull, 1973 cited in Rosenblum & Paully 1984). The most critical
predictors of the home environment are the maternal characteristics; age, education,
ethnicity, and initial self-esteem and locus of control (Menaghan & Parcel, 1991).
Support is also seen as relevant in predicting parenting difficulty. Mothers with
fewer social supports and more family stressors expressed less nurturant and more
restrictive attitudes regarding their children, therefore behaving in more hostile and
restrictive ways with them, while social support from both relatives and friends,
particularly when children are young, has been found to be important to parental
satisfaction, parental confidence, and positive parenting behavior (Pittman, Wright &
Lloyd 1989; Belsky, 1984). Social support functions in three general ways by providing
(a) emotional support, (b) instrumental assistance, and (c) social expectations (Belsky
1984).


55
country comparative study (Korean Gallup Research Center 1983 cited in Kim 1987)
Korean children believed their parents to be too strict, and Korean teens reported the least
family life satisfaction among adolescents of 11 countries. Kim described the Korean
family by Minuchin's definition of enmeshed, most obvious in the parents' overinvolvement
in their children's education, career, and marriages. Stating they have a greater degree of
mutual care than of communication he believes there is potential for better relationships
among family members with education in communication skills.
In their interactional assessment of white, black, and Mexican American families,
Hampson, Beavers, and Hulgus (1990) also indicated the need to not pathologize differing
family styles. They reported that their findings are consistent with and supportive of the
hypothesis that any differences found between ethnicities are likely to be differences in
style of structure or interaction rather than differences in competence or health. They
cited Henggeler and Tavormina (1980) as depicting an alternative for interpreting ethnic
family differences as not deficits or methodological shortcomings, but "socio-cultural
differences in behavior, without any necessary implications of psychopathology."
Comparisons reported by Hampson and associates (1990) focused on cultural
differences. Black families were noted as having consistent themes of strong kinship
bonds and extended family ties (Hines & Boyd-Franklin, 1982). Relatives expect and
accept reliance on one another, so that various people interchange roles, jobs, and family


Informed Consent
You are being asked to participate in a research study focusing on the ideas mothers
have about parenting and family life. Participation involves an interview, lasting
approximately one hour, during which you will be asked to respond to some questions
regarding parenting and family. The interview is both oral and written. You do not have
to answer any question you do not wish to answer. The oral portion of the interview will
be audio taped with your permission. Only the research team will have access to this
tape. It will be transcribed, your name removed, and, upon completion of this study,
erased.
Your participation in this study poses no risks to you or your family and all information
gathered will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. There are no
immediate benefits to you or compensation awarded for your participation. There are
no known risks related to your participation. You may withdraw from the study at any
time. If you have any further questions regarding your participation you may contact
the principal investigator. Any questions or concerns regarding your rights as a
participant should be directed to the UFIRB office at Box 112250, University of Florida,
Gainesville, FL 32611-2250.
The interview purpose and process/commitment has been explained to me to my
satisfaction. I may withdraw my consent for participation at any time. I voluntarily
agree to participate in this study and have received a copy of this consent form.
Participant
Date
Theresa Thweatt Rulien Date
Principal Investigator
University of Florida Graduate Student
(904) 731-4070
(904) 739-2777
Dr. Ellen Amatea
Faculty Supervisor
144


84
Subjects
The sample consisted of 57 mothers representing four different groups: (a) lower
educational level (high school graduate or less) white Anglo American, second generation;
(b) higher educational level (at least one year of college) white Anglo American, second
generation; (c) lower educational level (high school graduate or less) black African
American, second generation, and (d) higher educational level (at least one year of
college) black African American, second generation.
Demographic information regarding the mother's race, marital status, educational
level, and occupation along with source of additional income and that person's educational
level and occupation was gathered. Twenty-seven African-American mothers were
interviewed of which 15 were higher educational level and 12 were lower educational
level. Thirty Caucasian mothers were interviewed of which 15 were higher educational
level and 15 were lower educational level. All mothers were involved in significant
relationships, but classified themselves differently. Of the African-American mothers 20
were married, 3 were single, 3 were separated, and 1 was divorced. Of the Caucasian
mothers 28 were married, 1 was single, and 1 was divorced. Occupational levels were
determined according to criteria of the Four Factor Index of Social Status by Hollingshead
(1975). In the African-American sample 1 mother was not employed, 1 was employed at
a menial service or unskilled worker level, 12 were employed at a semiskilled, skilled or


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Unfortunately it is impossible to acknowledge every person who has contributed in
some way to the completion of this dissertation, but I sincerely appreciate the countless
acts of kindness, support, and empathy that allowed me to continue with this phase of my
life. Specifically I want to thank Greg Dionne and Jeanne von Genk for their courage and
willingness to tutor me through the basics of computer literacy. Without their patience I
would have continued handwriting this study. I also want to graciously extend my
appreciation and admiration to Michael Lanier and Dr. Thom Borowy for their expert
advice as well as their ongoing support and empathic understanding when I was sure I
would never make it. The supportive guidance of my doctoral committee, Dr. Larry
Loesch, Dr. Joe Wittmer, and Dr. David Miller, is gratefully acknowledged, and especially
that of my chairperson, Dr. Ellen Amatea, who pleaded, pushed and never let me feel
defeated.
Without family this would have been an impossible task. I thank my aunt, Mary
Evelyn Albertson, for the use of her printer when I had none, and to my great aunt,
Elizabeth "Jodie" Allen, for the neverending words and Bible verses of support and
encouragement, and her "magical" way of knowing when I needed to receive a letter or
phone call. And to Mr. Mclver Brooks, who isn't really family, but should be, for never
IV


66
Constantine (1986) suggested that families have distinct, stable styles of
functioning based on fundamentally different paradigms. He defined paradigm as a model
of both the actual and the ideal; a way of seeing and knowing; a world view. In this way,
a family's paradigm is their organization. It is an image and a point of reference for
checking the family's realization of its own concept of itself. Furthermore, it puts
boundaries around a family's understanding, shaping what they can see and do and the
manner in which they view their environment. For this reason, it seemed imperative that
attitude assessment of target populations be a necessary first step in the design and
implementation of an intervention program (Meichenbaum, 1985; Strom, Barros & Strom,
1990). Although the use of specific techniques of discipline may vary, a study by Roberts,
Block and Block (1984) indicated that parents have fundamental, pervasive, and enduring
childrearing orientations that color their use of specific discipline techniques. These
authors also cited other researchers for further support of the viewpoint that parents have
coherent and long-lasting underlying childrearing philosophies. The overall picture that
emerges from the data is one of considerable continuity in the general attitudes, values and
goals of the parents. Likewise the family paradigm appears to be a central and stable
feature of a family. Family paradigms therefore seems a very natural way to study
parenting beliefs and styles.


76
psychological adjustment. Destructive practices involve hostility, rejection, and coercion
and are associated with delinquency, psychopathology, academic failure, and substance
abuse. The use of these two terms in the description of parenting styles would appear to
blend well with the family paradigmatic view by not incorporating a single right definition
of parenting, but still acknowledging some fairly agreed upon desired outcomes for our
children. The constructive parenting characteristics are in support of Garbarino, Sebes
and Schellenbach (1984) low-risk families characterized by a flexibly connected family
system, a disavowal of coercion, and a more supportive, less punishing style of parenting.
The destructive parenting practices support their definition of high-risk families
characterized by chronic internalized developmental problems, positive values and
attitudes concerning coercion, and a chaotically enmeshed interpersonal system.
It is of specific interest to this researcher to acknowledge the limitations cited in
the literature as to the lack of attention given to the specific and unique characteristics of
parents as learners. In a review of the parenting literature conducted by Lamb (1986), not
a single article focused on the need to match parental characteristics to the parent
education model utilized. Rather, it was found that parenting programs are often
organized based on the characteristics of the children of involved parents: by
developmental stages (Croake, 1983; Forehand & Long, 1988; Tavormina, 1980); types
of problems (Gordon & Davidson, 1981; Levant, 1983; Robin et al, 1977); or severity of


LIST OF TABLES
Table page
1. Defining features, strengths, and limitations of family paradigms 12
2. Parenting instruments 32
3. Sample means and standard deviations of dependent variables by race and
educational level 103
4. Analysis of variance to assess differences in family paradigmatic preference
due to mother's educational level 105
5. Analysis of variance to assess differences in family paradigmatic preference
due to mother's race 107
6. Regression analysis to assess the difference in level of verbal interaction
due to family paradigmatic preference 109
7. Regression analysis to assess the difference in level of behavioral interaction
due to family paradigmatic preference Ill
8. Regression analysis to assess the frequency of democratic family-management
style due to family paradigmatic preference 113
9. Regression analysis to assess the frequency of laissez-faire family-management
style due to family paradigmatic preference 115
10. Regression analysis to assess the frequency of authoritarian family-management
style due to family paradigmatic preference 117
11 Regression analysis to assess the frequency with which mothers use
person-centered communication due to family paradigmatic preference 119
Vlll


5
& Moss, 1962; Maccoby & Martin, 1983; Schaefer, 1961; Sears, Maccoby & Levin,
1957). Baumrind (1967, 1971, 1972), for example, identified three basic styles of
childrearing: authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative. According to Baumrind,
authoritative parents produce competent, well-adjusted children with high self-esteem
through clear, open communication. They also encourage independence while setting
age-appropriate limits. The authoritarian style, based on dominating control, was found to
be associated with poor social development and adjustment in children and adolescents
(Lau, Cheung, Cheung, Lew, & Berndt, 1990). In this study, children perceived an
increase in parental warmth and family harmony with a decrease in dominating control.
In the 1980s and 1990s with the growth of the family therapy movement, efforts
shifted to identifying how families function in rearing children. Attention has broadened to
examine how a family, not just a parent, might structure themselves to conduct
childrearing functions. Thus, the need for family communication, clarity of generational
boundaries, and unity in parental decisionmaking was emphasized (Minuchin, 1974;
Minuchin & Fishman, 1981; Satir, 1972). In addition, different models of healthy family
functioning were proposed by family systems theorists (Beavers & Hampson, 1990; Olson,
Portner & Bell, 1982, Stinnert & DeFrain, 1989). However, inherent in many of these
family models was a continuum from healthy to pathological; there were right versus
wrong ways of organizing as a family and rearing children.


56
functions. There is a high degree of role flexibility and adaptability. This boundary
flexibility may look more like chaos to the outside observer accustomed to more
predictable patterns of a nuclear household. The church is a major source of socialization
and prestige, hence, ministers are more often sought in times of need than are mental
health professionals (Hines & Boyd-Franklin, 1982). An egalitarian power structure has
evolved earlier than in many Anglo families and there is also a higher rate of
"father-absent" homes. Members tend to internalize feelings (Pinderhughes, 1982) and
their research supported that Black families were rated as significantly less able to express
or state feelings and thoughts directly and clearly, less apt to respond openly and
receptively to efforts of family members to interrupt or make personal statements
(permeability), and to show a more consistent, less varied range of feelings in their various
interactional exchanges. Black families were also less encouraging of dependency needs in
their children. The Mexican American family's kinship network was described as
extremely important with affiliation and cooperation stressed, while overt confrontation
and competition discouraged. The focus on relationships is viewed as more important
than task or role performance (Eshleman, 1985 cited in Hampson et al 1990). A high
degree of cohesion and hierarchical organization is normal. Interaction is characterized by
generational interdependence and involvement, and internal control (Falicov 1982).
Respect is significant and autonomy is less important than dignity. The Mexican American


89
indicating that construct abstractness is the most important aspect of construct system
development contributing to person-centered communication. The three indices of
person-centered parental communication were positively intercorrelated at highly
significant levels for both regulative and comforting strategies, indicating that a
considerable degree of coherence exists in the quality of communicative strategies used
across communicative functions, and justifying summing across them to form a single
index of person-centered parental communication. There were also significant
associations between the two indices of socioeconomic status and both the construct
system and communicative behavior indices. Even when the influence of socioeconomic
status was partialed out, the construct system indices generally remained significant
predictors of person-centered communication. Finally, the results of the path analysis, for
assessment of the extent to which the impact of social class on person-centered
communication is mediated by the interpersonal construct system, support the notions that
(a) the level of construct system development is a direct determinant of
person-centeredness in parental communication patterns, and (b) the effect of social-class
on parental communication patterns is mediated through the interpersonal construct
system.


APPENDIX D
TELEPHONE CONTACT
Hello,
My name is Theresa Rulien. I have a daughter attending San Jose Elementary as
well as two younger sons. I am also a University of Florida doctoral student currently
working on my dissertation. My area of interest is parenting and my study focuses on the
different ideas about parenting and family life that people hold
I would like the opportunity to speak with mothers about their ideas on parenting
and what works in their families. I am calling to see if you would be willing to meet with
me for approximately one hour to answer some questions about your ideas on parenting.
[Any questions or concerns would then be addressed. If the mother agrees to interviewed,
criteria for participation, as defined in the Sampling Procedures, would be established. If
criteria is met an interview would be scheduled ]
142


83
Sampling Procedures
The administrators of three different public elementary schools in Duval County
were contacted and asked to (a) provide a classroom roll, including parents' names and
telephone numbers for the kindergarten, first, and second grade classes to the researcher;
or (b) send a letter to parents written by the investigator which briefly explained the
purpose of the study and requested parents to call if willing to participate (Appendix C).
All parents responding from the groups receiving one of the letters were contacted to
participate in the study. Of the parent names provided through classroom lists, attempts
were made to equally fill each of the four groups by locating areas of residence through
matching names with the telephone book. Mothers were interviewed until the minimum
criteria of 12 subjects per group was achieved. The researcher contacted mothers by
phone and explained the purpose of the study, the procedure, and the time commitment
(Appendix D). Upon determining that the mother met criteria for participation in the
study she was invited to participate. Criteria included (a) having at least one child
between the ages of five years and eight years, living in the home, who was the mother's
natural (biological) child; (b) be either white Anglo American of at least a second
generation or black African American of at least a second generation; and (c) having two
adults, acting as parental figures, living in the home together for at least three years.


79
Hypothesis Two: Mothers differing in race demonstrate no differences in family
paradigmatic preferences as measured by The Family Regime Assessment Scale.
Hypothesis Three: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers
differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in
child-management values for level of verbal interaction and expressiveness as measured by
the Parenting Preferences Inventory.
Hypothesis Four: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers
differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in
child-management values for level of behavioral interaction and involvement as measured
by the Parenting Preferences Inventory.
Hypothesis Five: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers
differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in
family-management style as measured by the Democratic sub-scale of the Colorado
Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning.
Hypothesis Six: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing
in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in family-management style
as measured by the Laissez-Faire sub-scale of the Colorado Self-Report Measure of
Family Functioning.


103
Table 3
Level
African-American
White Anglo-American
lo educ. level / hi educ. level
lo educ. level / hi educ. level
n=12 n=15
n=15 n=15
Closed
M
3.67
3.33
2.94
3.46
SD
.98
1.23
1.39
.97
Random
M
3.58
3.87
3.65
3.77
SD
1.38
.99
1.11
.73
Open
M
4.67
4.80
4.41
4.92
SD
.49
.56
1.00
.28
Synchronous
M
1.83
1.60
1.59
1.62
SD
1.11
.99
1.12
.96
Behavioral
management
M
79.00
74.27
73.06
71.54
Verbal
SD
7.35
6.58
5.44
7.88
management
M
58.08
54.80
53.00
52.77
SD
6.36
3.71
6.59
8.13
Democratic
M
9.33
9.93
9.29
8.31
SD
2.77
1.16
2.44
2.32
Laissez-faire
M
3.75
4.07
4.59
3.38
SD
1.42
1.44
1.62
1.33
Authoritarian
M
8.83
8.07
8.41
9.54
SD
2.08
1.75
2.06
1.71
Parent-child
Regulative
M
27.75
28.87
26.47
27.38
SD
4.22
5.18
6.24
5.14
M
19.17
19.73
18.41
18.08
SD
3.33
4.32
4.73
4.03
M
8.58
9.13
8.06
9.31
SD
1.83
1.55
2.19
1.84
Comforting


164
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108
high verbal interaction and expressiveness and half were reversed, so that a score of 6
corresponded with low verbal involvement. Analyses were conducted testing interaction
effects between educational level and race.
The results of the analysis of the mothers' perceptions of their involvement with
their children are presented in Table 6. Only main effects are reported as no interaction
effects were found. As the data in this table depicts, there were no significant differences
in encouragement of verbal expressiveness reported by women differing in family
paradigmatic preference, closed (F=. 19, df=l,50, p=.6627), random (F=.21, df=l,50,
p=.6465), open (F=1.03, df=l,50, p=.3140), and synchronous (F= 45, df=l,50, p=.5065).
No significant differences were found in mothers' educational level (F= 1.33, df=l,50,
p=.2547), however, significant differences were reported by women differing in race
(F=4.46, df=l,50, p=.0397), with African-American mothers reporting a higher
child-management value for verbal interaction and expressiveness.
Because no significant differences in child-management values for verbal
interaction and expressiveness were evidenced among mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference, Hypothesis Three failed to be rejected.
Hypothesis Four
After controlling for educational level and race, mothers differing in family
paradigmatic preference will demonstrate no differences in child-management values for


163
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brain-injured children in the use of operant conditioning procedures. Behavior Therapy. 1,
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139
0123456 4. Iam involved in my child's decisions.
0123456 5.1 expect my child to make his own decisions.
0123456 6. I explain to my child why he/she is being punished.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. I warn my child that I will punish him if he/she misbehaves to
prevent him/her from acting badly.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 8. When my child is out playing, I check closely on where my child
is and what he/she is doing.
0123456 9. I use punishments involving restrictions and time out.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 10. I give my child a lot of praise and attention when I see him/her
doing something good.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 11.1 set limits with my child (e g., when I expect him/her to be
home, where he/she can go) to help him/her stay out of trouble.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 12. I expect my child to pick out his/her own clothes without
assistance.
0123456 13.1 allow my child the final decision if it pertains to him/her.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 14. I let my child express his/her feelings about being punished or
restricted.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 15 .1 make clear rules I expect my child to follow without any
argument.
0123456 16. I feel that my child should be able to set his/her own bedtime
0123456 17.1 expect my child to do what I tell him/her
0123456 18.I encourage my child to share his/her toys when playing with
others


153
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Journal of Genetic Psychology. 137. 211-222.


FAMILY PARADIGMATIC PREFERENCES AND CHILDREARING PRACTICES
OF
MOTHERS DIFFERING BY RACE AND EDUCATIONAL LEVEL
By
THERESA THWEATT RULIEN
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
1997


73
recognizes only a single ideal for family living may try to push families into becoming what
they are not, rather than becoming better at what they are.
All paradigms are considered equal in their capacity to serve as effective models
for successful family functioning. Each vector represents purity rather than extremeness
so that all points within the tetrahedron represent workable family configurations. Most
other models define a single ideal of family life (Beavers, 1981, Olson et al, 1983). The
extremes on the dimensions of cohesion and adaptability in the Olson Circumplex Model
can be shown to describe extreme patterns associated with each of the four paradigms.
These extremes would correspond to the most probable direction of failure for a family
and is referred to as an "error of substantiation," a family becoming an exaggerated
version of its own paradigm (Kantor & Lehr, 1975). The degree of a family's enablement
was observed to not be dependent on a family's style (Kantor & Lehr, 1975). They argued
that it must be assessed independently based on the family's ability to function as a system.
Any form of family can therefore succeed and any can fail. However, what is functional
for one family may not be for another. The paradigmatic framework distinguishes a
family's organization or regime from its behavior or process. In the most straightforward
situation, a family's regime is successful in translating its paradigm into process; the family
succeeds at being itself. Not all regimes, however, are compatible with all paradigms and
it is possible for a family to be guided by one concept of family, yet be unable to put it into


137
partial college (at least one year) or specialized training
standard college or university graduation
graduate professional training (graduate degree)
7. Mother's Occupation
8. Occupation of Partner
9. Educational Level of Partner:
less than seventh grade
junior high school (9th grade)
partial high school (1 Oth or 11th grade)
high school graduate (whether private, parochial, trade, or public school)
partial college (at least one year) or specialized training
standard college or university graduation
graduate professional training (graduate degree)
10. Number of Children Living in the Home and their Ages


77
problems (Alexander et al, 1976; Gordon & Davidson, 1981; Graziano, 1986; Klein et al,
1977). Numerous other researchers have cited the need for a thorough examination of the
interaction between the characteristics of the parent and the parent education experience
(Fine & Henry, 1989; Gordon & Davidson, 1981; Graziano, 1983; Lamb, 1986; Levant,
1986a; Levant 1986b; Medway, 1989; Moreland et al, 1982; Tavormina, 1980).


99
Scale can be ordered in a hierarchical manner and then reviewed by quartile percentages to
determine the relative priority given to each (Imig, 1993).
Since Constantine (1987, 1993) and Imig (personal communication November,
1996; December, 1996; and February, 1997) have hypothesized that families rarely
perceive themselves as being exclusively one of the four paradigms, the Family Regime
Assessment Scale generates cluster scores, a series of four numbers, each of which
corresponds to one of the four paradigms. Taken together, the four numbers represents
the family's members' address, or location, on the three-dimensional tetrahedron. The
cluster scores are based on the coefficients of the raw scores as follows: <.10=0;
.10 29=1; .30.49=2; .50- 69=3; ,70-.80=4; and .90-1.00=5.
Parenting Preferences Inventory
The measurement of preferences for use of behavioral and verbal interaction as a
means of child-management was assessed through the use of the Parenting Preferences
Inventory. This instrument was developed by the researcher to assess the mother's
child-management values as determined by her prescribed use of (a) behavioral interaction
and belief in the need for involvement in the management of her child, and (b) verbal
interaction and belief in encouragement of expressiveness.
The 30 item instrument consists of 16 statements describing either high or low
parental behavioral involvement and interaction with regards to child-management and 14


118
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a regression analysis which assessed the
effects of educational level (level 1, high school diploma or less; level 2, at least one year
of college), race (African-American; Caucasian), and family paradigmatic preference
(closed; random; open; synchronous) on self-enhancing parent-child communication as
measured by the Parent-Child Communication Assessment. Scores ranged from 1 to 6,
with high scores indicating a high effort on the part of the mother to encourage reflection
in her child. Analyses were conducted testing interaction effects between educational
level and race.
The results of the analysis of the mothers' self-enhancing parent-child
communication are presented in Table 11. As the data in this table depicts, no significant
differences were found in parent-child communication reported by women differing in
family paradigmatic preference, closed (F= 20, df=l,50, p=.6549), random (F= 1.51,
df=l,50, p=.2243), open (F=.23, df=l,50, p=.6350), and synchronous (F=.27, df=l,50,
p=.6066). No significant differences were reported by women differing in educational
level (F=. 19, dfM,50, p=6678) or race (F-.67, dfM,50, p=4175).
Because no significant differences in self-enhancing parent-child communication
were evidenced among mothers differing in family paradigmatic preference, Hypothesis
Eight failed to be rejected.


47
Race
The decision to name this variable "race" has involved careful deliberation. The
research contains an overlapping use of terms (i.e., culture, race, ethnicity, sociocultural)
referring to the same categories. The U S. Census Bureau uses the label "race", but
acknowledges that this includes both racial and national origin or sociocultural groups. In
an attempt to include all pertinent information, research involving any of the
aforementioned terms was reviewed for relevancy.
The understanding of parenting requires that we go beyond mother-child
interaction and consider wider familial and cultural variables (Belsky, 1980 as cited in
Dowdney & Pickles, 1991). Cultures and communities deliver many messages about
parenting. Bronfenbrenner (1977) pointed out the importance of the broader community
or macrosystem in the setting of the normative cultural standards about childrearing
through advice from relatives and experts or through role modeling and witnessing
interactions of other families. Goodnow (1985) suggested that one's culture is the primary
source of information about the facts of childrearing including what children are like at
different ages, what parenting techniques work, and what goals parents should value
Some researchers have extended this investigation as far as to say that what parents think,
guides or influences those changes (Keller, Miranda and Gauda, 1984; Sameroff & Feil,
1985).


125
Still another possible reason for a lack of significant differences may be due to the
specific age of the children of the mothers used in this study. This young age (five years
to eight years) requires more of a structured and controlled situation, but mothers may still
respond with their ideal of, for instance, an open paradigm.
Hypotheses Three and Four
In Hypotheses Three and Four the frequency with which mothers differing in
family paradigmatic preference demonstrated differences in the child-management values
of verbal interaction and expressiveness, and behavioral interaction and involvement were
investigated. No significant differences in child-management values were reported by
mothers differing in family paradigmatic preference. Thus, one can conclude that for this
study sample the data did not support that family paradigmatic preference organizes
child-management values. This finding is surprising, due to the qualities of each of the
paradigms, which define them along lines of amount of interaction with others
(Constantine, 1986, 1993). It would be expected, therefore, that differences would be
evident among mothers with varying paradigmatic preferences.
In post-hoc analysis of mother's race and educational level as related to the
child-management values, it was determined that African-American mothers were more
likely to value high levels of verbal and behavioral interaction with their children than did
the Caucasian mothers. This does not necessarily follow in support of the research, which


8
Childrearing is, in itself, a cultural activity. Cultural and economic factors are at
work in a child's life from the act of conception to the pregnancy and its associated
customs to the birth ritual. How might the impact on parents' thinking of the cultural
perspective be examined? Such a conceptualization of parenting would require that
researchers go beyond examining mother-child interaction and consider wider familial and
cultural variables (Belsky, 1980; Hinde, 1979; LeVine, 1980; Patterson, 1982). Cultures
and communities deliver many messages about parenting. Bronfenbrenner (1977) pointed
out the importance of the broader community or macrosystem in setting the normative
cultural standards about childrearing through advice from relatives and experts or through
role modeling and witnessing interactions of other families. Goodnow (1985) suggested
that culture is the primary source of information about the facts of childrearing including
what children are like at different ages, what parenting techniques work, and what goals
parents should value. Some researchers have extended this investigation to say that what
parents think is important, guides or influences choices. Therefore, to define an effective
parent requires some notion of the goals of parenting promoted in a specific cultural
context (Gordon, 1980). Whether it be due to environmental risks or occupational and
societal roles it has become increasingly evident that differing cultural perspectives have
implications in the childrearing practices of parents.


119
Table 11
Regression Analysis to Assess Frequency with which Mothers use Person-Centered
Communication Due to Family Paradigmatic Preference
Source
of Variation
df
Type III
Sums of Squares
F
Closed
1,50
5.8237
.20
Random
1,50
43.5892
1.51
Open
1,50
6.5712
.23
Synchronous
1,50
7.7319
.27
Educational level
1,50
5.3665
.19
Race
1,50
19.2488
.67
*p<05
Post-Hoc Analyses
While conducting analyses to assess the significance level of the proposed
hypotheses, it was noted that several significant correlations existed between
family-management style and mother's race, educational level and parent-child
communication and interaction values. A series of regression analyses of mothers'
sub-scale responses on The Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning were
therefore conducted.


95
Examining the intercorrelations between scale scores offers another approach in
conceptualizing family functioning. All six components of the relationship dimension are
significantly correlated with each other while still maintaining their own integrity.
Cohesion appears to be the central concept and is powerfully correlated in a positive
direction with measures of expressiveness, sociability, and family idealization, and in a
negative direction with measures of conflict and disengagement. The three components of
the value dimension are positively correlated with each other, although quite modestly in
the case of intellectual-cultural and religious orientations. Among the system maintenance
variables, external locus of control appears to be the central concept, with it significantly
positively correlated with laissez-faire and authoritarian family styles, and enmeshment,
and significantly negatively correlated with organization and democratic family style. The
family style measures were negatively correlated with each and the size of the coefficients
not remarkable, lending support to Constantine's (1986) report that families are not
necessarily pure within one paradigm.
The Family Regime Assessment Scale
Measurement of family structure, was attempted through the administration of
The Family Regime Assessment Scale developed by Imig and Phillips (1992). This scale
was developed in an effort to quantitatively operationalize Paradigmatic Family Theory


49
ethnotheories that are regulated by the culture and which in turn regulate child
development. Fine and Henry (1989) suggested that to be insensitive to the cultural
implications which dictate the perceived need of the parents is possibly unethical.
The manner in which cultural groups approach communication, autonomy,
discipline, competition, and control influences parenting styles (Fantini & Cardenas, 1980;
Ivey, 1986; McGoldrick, 1989; Sue, 1981), as well as what new information they are both
willing to and able to absorb. LeVine (1982) pointed out that the recognition that
empathic listening in another culture is impossible without knowledge of the culture and
the specific meanings and contexts through which feelings are expressed. Nwachuku and
Ivey (1991) suggested the need for culture-specific training for counselors, and cited
Minor's (1983) claim that counseling theory would be enriched if theorizing began from
the point of view of the host culture. The client's behavior is looked at from the
orientation of the insider, specifically persons from the client's culture. Nwachuku and
Ivey (1991) questioned the issue of "helper hierarchy" and suggested that our own
counseling and psychotherapy theory is so culturally encapsulated that we have placed our
ideas of helping on the client rather than consulting with the client to help him or her find
his or her own culturally and individually appropriate solution.
The importance of being sensitive to the culturally different perspectives when
attempting to assist parents is evidenced by returning to the previous mentioned


34
styles, and engage in less frequent verbal and cognitive stimulation. Further comparison
regarding social status and child abuse was found in the literature. Simons, Whitbeck,
Conger, and Chyi-In (1991) cited several studies including Bronffenbrenner, (1977);
Garbarino, (1976); Gil, (1970); Strauss and associates, (1980) which demonstrated a
significant association between low social status and maltreatment. They suggested two
means by which social class influences might correlate with parenting practices across
generations: (a) replication of low social class and accompanying stressors and life-style
(Burgess & Youngblade, 1988 referenced in Simons et al 1991) and (b) growing up in a
lower social class family may influence a parent's childrearing approach and accompanying
values regardless of the social status they achieved. Trickett, Aber, Carlson, and Cicchetti
(1991) also found similar results reporting that the higher the socioeconomic status the
lower the belief in authoritarian control techniques. They also reported that as stresses
associated with poverty decrease, the expressed enjoyment of parenting increases.
However, the expected relationship for each was not found for the abuse group studied.
They also reported social class as a significant predictor of cognitive maturity. For
example, middle-class parents are more concerned with motives and intentions of their
children's acts whereas working class parents are more concerned with the overt
consequences (Rubin, 1976).


to my mother and father
This is as much yours as it is mine,
and
to my daughter, Caitlin
You did a lot of this with me and yes, we'
Phinally Done!


101
child-management values (level of behavioral involvement/interaction and level of verbal
interaction/expressiveness); family-management style (Democratic, Laissez-Faire, and
Authoritarian); and child-centered communication.


74
practice, either because its organization is incompatible with its paradigm or because its
organization is ineffective at generating the desired behavior. The greater the disparity
between a family's actual process/behavior and the ideal balance for its specific paradigm,
the more dysfunctional that family is likely to be. Each variation of family style has its
own vulnerabilities and strengths, however the more the variation from its particular mean,
the less likely the family will remain functional. The probability of dysfunction is higher
when there is greater disparity between paradigm and process. Families have a probable
direction of failure when trying to resolve problems because they are most likely to draw
on the methods and resources of their own paradigm. By doing this they intensify their
paradigmatic commitment so that, for example, a closed system would move toward even
greater rigidity and enmeshment, while an open paradigm would become chaotic through
their increased enmeshment. A synchronous system would move toward greater rigidity,
but with increased disengagement, while a random paradigm would become increasingly
chaotic and disengaged (Constantine, 1983). Problems may also occur if a family gives up
on its commitment or is unable to establish an effective organization to its style and slips in
the opposite direction. Again, in a closed paradigm an ineffective authority structure
might result in a decline into greater chaos or disengagement. Either extreme represents
movement along the taxonomic vector away from the dominant paradigm. This
perspective can help the clinician (or parent educator) fully respect the family in its chosen


58
There is evidence that ethnicity and social status are two separate variables (Laosa,
1981) although it is often difficult to distinguish to which a specific difference is due
(Strom et al 1981). Sameroff and Feil (1985) determined that parental reasoning
complexity was generally lower in lower social status groups in all cultures, however,
cultural beliefs in traditional, categorical concepts can prevent or eliminate the need for
more complex thought.
Contextual Differences
The failure of Moss and Jones (1977) as cited in Grusec, Hastings, and
Mammone (1994) to find differences between middle-class and lower-class mothers in
their childrearing attributions suggests that these particular cognitions might be tied to
something other than messages from cultural and socioeconomic groups. General belief
systems having to do with developmental timetables, methods of change, and values may
be affected by culture, but there is also a great deal of individual variation within groups
for these systems. Goodnow (1985) argued that parents are not passive recipients of their
culture's messages, but filter them. Parents seek out each other to discuss childrearing
values, and the networks they form build their belief system and reinforce those that fit
their community's expectations. If there are certain cultural values, individuals may
selectively attend to the messages matching their own beliefs or may choose to decrease
contact with contradictory opinions, rather than conform to those opinions.


36
Educational Level
Research also focuses on the relationship between educational level and parenting
style preferences. Again, a level of judgment is involved. Childrearing values, goals and
behaviors are reported to be associated with parental educational level (Dekovic & Gerris,
1992; Schaefer & Edgerton, 1985; Segal, 1985). Poorer child management skills
(Patterson, Cobb & Ray, 1972) were determined to be related to lower levels of education
as was the quality of the home environment (Marjoribanks, 1991).
Simons, Whitbeck, Conger, and Chyi-In (1991) found that for both mothers and
fathers the level of education was negatively related to the harsh parenting of adolescent
males. Apparently parents of lower educational levels tend to utilize harsh discipline in
raising boys. The relationship was not found to hold true for girls, with physical
punishment apparently perceived as unnecessary or undesirable for parenting girls.
A positive correlation between parental reasoning complexity and educational level
was reported by Dekovic and Gerris (1992) which lends support to the findings of O'Dell
and associates (1982) that less educated parents have poorer outcomes in parent
education programs. As with socioeconomic level, it was determined that lower levels of
education related to decreased understanding of complex concepts, poor attendance and
decreased participation (Wyckoff, 1980; Mattarazzo & Patterson, 1986) as well as
J


114
measured by the Laissez-Faire sub-scale of The Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family
Functioning.
This hypothesis was tested by conducting a regression analysis which assessed the
effects of educational level (level 1, high school diploma or less; level 2, at least one year
of college), race ( African-American; Caucasian), and family paradigmatic preference
(closed; random; open; synchronous) on family-management style as measured by scores
derived from the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning. Scores ranged
from 0 to 3 with 3 indicating that statement as true for the family. Statements described a
laissez-faire family-management style. Analyses were conducted testing interaction effects
between educational level and race.
The results of the analysis of the mother's perceptions of their laissez-faire
family-management style are depicted in Table 9. As the data indicate no significant
differences were found with laissez-faire family style and closed (F= 81, df=l,49,
p=.3719), open (F=. 15, df=l,49, p=.7016), random (F=.02, df=l,49, p=.8820), or
synchronous (F=1.61, df=l,49, p=.2108). No significant differences were evidenced
between this family style and mother's educational level (F=1.33, df=l,49, p=.2540) or
race (F=. 18, df=l,49, p=.6714), however, a significant relationship was found in the
interaction effects between Caucasian, lower educated mothers and a preference for a
laissez-faire family-management style (F=4.74, df=l,49, p=.0343).


80
Hypothesis Seven: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers
differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in
family-management style as measured by the Authoritarian sub-scale of the Colorado
Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning.
Hypothesis Eight: After controlling for educational level and race, mothers
differing in family paradigmatic preference demonstrate no differences in levels of
child-centered communication as measured by the Person-Centered Communication
Assessment.
Design of the Study
This investigation was a descriptive comparative study in which the relationship
between a parent's family paradigm (or world view) and their parenting was examined.
The independent variables included the following parental characteristics: educational
level, race, and family paradigm preference. The dependent variables included: parenting
style and child-centered parent-child communication. Each of these variables is described
below:
Independent Variables
Educational level. For the purposes of this study, educational level was divided
into two levels: lower and higher. The educational level of each mother was based on


51
adaptive problems in the early years of life. He maintained that parental activity, while
constrained by the human genome and directed by cultural values, must also be seen as
adjusted, consciously and unconsciously, to those aspects of the environment that threaten
or facilitate the attainment of parental goals. He concluded, by citing LeVine and White
(1987), and their view that each culture, drawing on its own symbolic traditions, supplies
models for parental behavior that when implemented under local conditions become
culture-specific styles of parental commitment.
Strom, Griswold and Slaughter (1981) emphasized the importance of recognizing
individual differences when choosing appropriate programs for parents. According to
Gfellner's (1990) review of the literature, there are no clear norms of parenting behavior
and this may contribute to the stress felt by parents in their parenting roles. A major
challenge is the absence of reliable advice and valid modelling that can be implemented
easily. Without a normative method of childrearing it is left to each parent to develop a
parenting theory.
The American culture offers numerous scripts to women who become mothers.
These offer opportunities for personal development, but also pose dilemmas or crises,
when scripts are in conflict with one another or if there are no supportive social structures
in the women's lives (Gilligan, Ward, & Taylor, 1988). Nucci and Weber (in press) cited
by Nucci (1994) provided evidence that middle-class mothers act in ways indicative of a


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is folly adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Ellen Amatea, Chair
Professor of Counselor Education
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is folly adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Larry ^Eoesch
Professor of Counselor Education
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is folly adequate, in scope and quality,
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is folly adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
David Miller
Professor of Foundations
of Education