ERIC Number: ED176899
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Oct
Reference Count: 0
The Cognitive Structure of Parenthood: The Development of a Descriptive Measure.
Newberger, Carolyn Moore
This paper describes the process of constructing a measure of a new construct called Parental Awareness. Parental Awareness (PA) can be thought of as an organized knowledge system with which the parent makes sense out of the child's responses and behavior and formulates policies to guide parental action. A clinical method of data collection, permitting an analysis of the reasoning parents use to arrive at and to justify their beliefs, was employed to examine perspective taking and moral aspects of parental cognition. Eight issues covering a range of parental tasks which were assumed to be usual and critical were identified. At least two questions pertaining to each issue were addressed to 51 parents from a broad cross-section of social and family backgrounds. Four levels of Parental Awareness orientation, which appear to describe qualitative differences in parental reasoning, were found in the parents' replies. The levels were identified as: Egoistic, Conventional, Subjective-Individualistic, and Process or Interactional. Examples of parental reasoning for two issues at each of the four levels are given. The validity of the PA construct is discussed. In conclusion, a study of parents of abused or neglected children is reported. Abusive or neglectful parents scored significantly lower on the measure of Parental Awareness than similar parents in the original sample. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Radcliffe Inst., Cambridge, MA.; Administration for Children, Youth, and Families (DHEW), Washington, DC.; Danforth Foundation, St. Louis, MO.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Parental Awareness; Qualitative Differences