Effects of a procedural variation of maternal behavior in a standardized mother-child interaction situation

dc.contributor.advisorJohnson, Dale L.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberMartin, Sander
dc.contributor.committeeMemberStewart, Ida Santos
dc.contributor.committeeMemberVincent, John P.
dc.creatorKahn, Alfred Judah
dc.description.abstractObservational study of parent-child interaction is a developing area of methodology. Observational methods are becoming more elaborated and have enjoyed increasing use in research on socialization. Potential methodological artifacts, however, represent a threat to the interpretation of observational data, and likely artifactual factors must be eliminated or accounted for in future research. The present study was an experimental examination of one such potential factor, duration of the observation period in a set of structured mother-child interaction tasks. It was hypothesized that increase in task duration would result in decreases in the level of interest, enjoyment, and verbalization of the child, decreases in the interest and involvement, positive affect, and the use of positive teaching techniques by the mother, and increases in the use of negative teaching techniques by the mother. It was further hypothesized that these effects would be of greater magnitude for non-program families than for families who had participated in a parent education program. Subjects were 37 low income, Mexican-American, three-year-old children and their mothers. Seventeen families had been participants in an experimental two-year parent education program, the Houston Parent-Child Development Center. Twenty families were control group families from the same research project. Families had been randomly assigned to groups at the inception of the program. Three tasks were used, each with its own materials and instructions to the mother. The Book task used a large picture book, with instructions to help the child learn from the book. The Shape Sorter task used a shape-sorting box and blocks, with instructions to teach the child how to insert the blocks into the holes in the box. The Free Play task used a cabinet full of various toys, with instructions simply to do whatever they wanted with the toys. Subjects were randomly assigned to either a Short or Long Task Duration condition. The Book, Shape Sorter, and Free Play tasks took five, five, and ten minutes, respectively, in the Short condition, and 10, 10, and 20 minutes, respectively, in the Long condition. The order of the tasks was randomly counterbalanced, with the two structured tasks preceding or succeeding the unstructured Free Play task. Sex of child was also randomly balanced across conditions. Tasks were divided into 100 second segments. Each segment was rated on thirteen scales: Mother's Affectionateness, Mother's Use of Praise, Mother's Use of Reasoning, Mother's Encouragement of Child's Verbalization, Mother's Interest and Involvement in the Session, Level of Mother-Child Interaction, Mother's Use of Criticism, Mother's Control of Child's Behavior, Child's Verbal Communication, Child's Interest and Involvement in the Session, and Child's Enjoyment of the Situation, Typical, High, and Low Points. Each scale was analyzed separately. Each task was divided into three equal time intervals. Mean ratings across segments were calculated for each interval of each task. These mean ratings for individual subjects were analyzed in a four way analysis of variance (Duration X Group X Interval X Task). Support for the hypotheses was minimal. The hypothesized effect of task duration was found for mother's interest and involvement, level of mother-child interaction, mother's use of praise, and child's verbalization, all of which decreased across time more in the long condition than in the short condition. The hypothesized difference between program and control groups in the effect of task duration was found only for mother's use of criticism. Although not hypothesized, strong effects due to task were found. Differences among tasks were present for all rated behaviors, either as a main effect due to task alone or as an interaction between task and interval within task.
dc.description.departmentPsychology, Department of
dc.format.digitalOriginreformatted digital
dc.rightsThis item is protected by copyright but is made available here under a claim of fair use (17 U.S.C. §107) for non-profit research and educational purposes. Users of this work assume the responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing, or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires express permission of the copyright holder.
dc.titleEffects of a procedural variation of maternal behavior in a standardized mother-child interaction situation
thesis.degree.collegeCollege of Social Sciences
thesis.degree.departmentPsychology, Department of
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Houston
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy


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