The effects of directiveness on child compliance : an experimental investigation



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To examine the effects of directiveness on child compliance, fifty-four four- and five-year old children (twenty-six males and twenty-eight females) were randomly assigned to either a directive (high experimenter intervention) or a facilitative (low experimenter intervention) condition in a 2 x 2 x 2 (sex x condition x experimenter) design. During a twenty-minute session, subjects performed an alphabet and number tracing task for ten minutes with the experimenter present and ten minutes with the experimenter absent. On-task behavior was recorded in the child-alone segment and subjects were further assessed in a subsequent interview. It was hypothesized that (1) subjects in the facilitative condition would have higher on-task behavior than subjects in the directive condition; (2) that females would have higher on-task behavior than males and (3) that there would be no significant effects of experimenter. Although directiveness had no effect on children's on-task behavior, males who interacted with a facilitatitive experimenter were more likely to attribute their behavior to their own personal preference than males in the directive condition. Moreover, females in both conditions had higher on-task times than males (p < .01), and there were no significant experimenter effects.



Compliance, Child development