ERIC Number: ED198920
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Development of the Child's Concept of the Family.
Gilby, Rhonda L.; Pederson, David R.
Eighty subjects, at each of four age levels (kindergarten, grade 2, grade 4, and university) were questioned concerning their ideas about the structure of the family. Information was gathered on which persons the subjects considered to be members of their own families, how subjects conceptualized a typical family and what criteria they used in judging whether a grouping of people represents a family. In children's consideration of their own families and construction of typical families, no age differences were found. A nuclear family grouping was most salient in both cases, and all respondents constructed similar typical families, consisting of two parents and their children. Major age-related differences were apparent in the criteria adopted for classifying groupings as instances of a family. Common residence, contact between members, the presence of children, single parenthood, blood or legal relationship and same-sex versus cross-sex partners were variables that were manipulated and found to be of differing importance as criteria for the respondents in the four age groups. Basically, the youngest subjects relied upon common residence and contact between members as the criteria for evaluating families, whereas, with increasing age, increasing emphasis was placed upon blood or legal relationship. No obvious relation could be found between the members of the children's nuclear or extended families, the amount of time spent with, or frequency of contact with, the children and the responses to any of the three parts of this study. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meetinq of the Society for Research in Child Development (Boston, MA, April 2-5, 1981).