ERIC Number: ED236727
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May
Family Communication Patterns and Political Development: A Developmental Approach.
Meadowcraft, Jeanne M.; Chaffee, Steven H.
To explore the interrelationships among family communication patterns (FCP) and children's cognitive development and political socialization, 718 parent-child pairs were interviewed by telephone on the extent to which children were encouraged to and did discuss politics with people of different views. In addition, subjects were asked questions designed to measure their political knowledge and interest and their media exposure. The study revealed significant relationships between parents' and children's levels of political knowledge, discussion, and media exposure, indicating that children in families with concept-oriented FCPs tended also to become concept-oriented. In a surprising finding, the data showed that sociooriented FCPs--patterns emphasizing harmonious communication--inhibited political interest only for the older children in the sample (those in grades 11 and 12 as opposed to grades 4 and 5), which suggested that until children reached the formal operations stage in cognitive development, they did not recognize inconsistencies between the conflict inherent in politics and efforts to maximize harmonious personal relationships. These results suggest that both the nature and the effects of parent-child communication may depend on messages stressed by parents and the children's own abilities and goals. (The survey instrument and results are appended.) (MM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (Dallas, TX, May 26-30, 1983).