ERIC Number: ED238559
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Parent as Naive Psychologist: Analyses of Parental Deliberations.
Holden, George W.; West, Meredith J.
Two groups of l4 mothers were interviewed to study how parents reason about their children's behavior. The two samples differed considerably in terms of education, age, race, and socioeconomic status. The first group, high school educated, averaged 24 years of age, and, if married, had spouses with blue-collar jobs. The second group, college graduates, averaged 34 years of age and had spouses who held professional/academic jobs. An open-ended interview consisted of l2 questions designed to elicit samples of parental reasoning. The mothers' answers revealed four common patterns of thinking: anchors, attributions, covariation or causal analysis, and anticipation. The most frequent mode of thinking involved attributional analysis (46 percent), or reflection on the origin of certain behaviors. There was frequent use of anchors (22 percent), or comparisons made across children or across age. Covariations, similar to attributions but including articulation of antecedent-consequent relationships, accounted for 22 percent of statements. Anticipation, or statements made about the future, composed l0 percent of the categorized comments. Analyses of mothers' speech and the ease with which their reasoning was elicited suggested that parents commonly engage in such deliberations. Few differences emerged between the high school and college educated mothers. The only mean group differences indicated suggested that, while the high school educated mothers used more anchors and anticipatory references, the college educated mothers made more attributions. (BJD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Detroit, MI, April 21-24, 1983).