The emotional response test : A study of the emotionality of Mexican, Mexican-American, and Anglo-American children

Date

1973

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate response variations as they reflect difference in the emotionality of boys and girls drawn from Mexican, Mexican-American and Anglo-American population as well as variations across these three cultures. The investigation thus had two directions, cross-cultural comparisons and within culture comparisons of boys and girls. There were 83 Mexican subjects, 48 boys and 35 girls. The mean age for these children was approximately 10.8 years. The Mexican-American sample contained 63 children, 25 boys and 38 girls. The mean age for these subjects was approximately 11.3 years. The Anglo-American sample included 27 boys and 23 girls, for a total sample of 50 subjects whose mean age was about 11.4 years. Altogether 196 subjects were involved in the collection of data for this study. Each child was given Stewart's Emotional Response Test (Havighurst and Neugarten, 1955) using the native language of the child. In a series of open-ended questions, the test required the subjects to enumerate three incidents or situations which have made them happy, sad, angry, afraid and ashamed. The subjects were then asked in a like manner to state the best and worst thing that could happen to them. The results of the Emotional Response Test were as follows for Mexican boys and girls: 1. Boys were more self-indulgent and hedonistic. 2. Girls were more socially oriented. 3. Girls were more achievement oriented. 4. Mexican children were basically more alike than different in their reported sources of emotionality. The single significant result which emerged for Mexican-American boys and girls was that they too were more alike than different in their emotionality. For the Anglo-American subjects, the following results were obtained: 1. Boys were more materialistic. 2. Boys were more achievement oriented. 3. Girls were more socially and family oriented. 4. Girls were more concerned with self-gratification. 5. Anglo boys and girls were more different than alike in their response patterns. It was observed that the result for the Anglo children differed from conventional expectation and was suggested that the difference could have been due to age or socio-economic status and that more investigation is needed to resolve fully the relationship. An examination of the data from a cross-cultural perspective suggested the following conclusions: 1. There were more differences between Mexican and Mexican-American children than between non-Anglos and Anglos. 2. Anglos were more materialistic than non-Anglos. 3. Mexican-Americans were more concerned with self-gratification than Mexicans. 4. Mexican-Americans were more social and family centered than Mexicans. 5. Mexicans were more concerned about achievement than Mexican-Americans. Of all the hypotheses suggested by the data, the relatively high achievement orientation of the Mexican children was perhaps the most interesting. This would appear to suggest that further investigation of the Mexican children's concern for achievement might fruitfully be pursued. Other areas indicative of further study were discussed.

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Keywords

Emotions in children, Minorities, Psychological testing, Psychological tests for children

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