AN INVESTIGATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP AMONG SELF CONCEPT, PARENTAL BEHAVIORS, AND THE ADJUSTMENT OF CHILDREN IN DIFFERENT CUSTODIAL LIVING ARRANGEMENTS FOLLOWING A MARITAL SEPARATION AND/OR DIVORCE

BETSY HARRIS GRANITE, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

The main purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship among self concept, parental behaviors, and the adjustment of children in three custodial living arrangements following a marital separation or divorce. Examination of previous efforts to study the adjustment of children following a marital separation or divorce indicated that no systematic research existed that included the following variables: children's self perceptions (self concepts), parental perceptions of children's adjustment, and children's perceptions of parental behaviors. Forty-five families were interviewed (15 from each custodial living arrangement group) having at least one child 8-13 years of age. Fifty-eight children participated. Noncustodial parents were also interviewed. Children were administered the Piers-Harris Self Concept Scale and the Children's Report of Parental Behavior Inventory for each parent. The Louisville Behavior Checklist was administered to each parent. Data analysis to determine which dependent variables were significant in discriminating between group differences were performed by a series of stepwise multiple discriminant analyses. Pearson's product moment coefficients of correlation (r) were calculated to determine which dependent variables had significant relationships within each custodial living arrangement group. The results of this study indicated that marital separation and divorce did not have a traumatic effect on children's adjustment and self-esteem as had been previously reported in the literature. My conclusions, based upon the 45 families who participated in this study were: (1) Children from maternal, paternal, and joint custody homes had above-average self concepts. Children's self concepts were significantly related to perceptions of both parents as nurturant, positively involved, and firm in discipline. In addition, positive self concepts were related to parental perceptions of their children as well adjusted. (2) Fathers who were more involved on an ongoing basis with their children were perceived by their children as nurturant and positively involved. However, custodial fathers were perceived as more critical and joint custodial fathers were perceived as more intrusive and over-protective than other parents who participated in this research. (3) Mothers were perceived as nurturant and firm in discipline; however, custodial mothers were perceived by their children as more rejecting than other parents who participated in this research. This may be a reflection of the additional stresses inherent in single parenthood, especially for single mothers.

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

GRANITE, BETSY HARRIS, "AN INVESTIGATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP AMONG SELF CONCEPT, PARENTAL BEHAVIORS, AND THE ADJUSTMENT OF CHILDREN IN DIFFERENT CUSTODIAL LIVING ARRANGEMENTS FOLLOWING A MARITAL SEPARATION AND/OR DIVORCE" (1985). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8523424.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8523424

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