Master of Science
John P. Hill
The purposes of this study were: (1) to determine the degree to which parents' instrumental and expressive expectations are predicted by their instrumental and expressive personality characteristics, (2) to determine the degree to which these parental trait and expectation variables predict several selected early adolescent outcomes, and (3) to examine differences between the findings for sons and the findings for daughters.
The subjects were 174 seventh-grade girls and 103 seventh-grade boys and their mothers and fathers. All members of these triads filled out questionnaires and participated in interaction sessions. Data from the parental and child expectations Q-Sort, parental responses to the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ), and child responses to questions concerning their self-esteem, self-consciousness, educational aspirations, and views of their parents were all employed in this study. The PAQ was viewed as measuring instrumental and expressive traits rather than the global constructs of masculinity and femininity. It was hypothesized that parental traits would be positively but moderately predictive of parental expectations. It was also predicted that parental traits (to a lesser degree) and parental expectations (to a greater degree) would be predictive of all child outcomes (the androgyny hypothesis). Differences between sons and daughters were predicted with respect to all of the child outcomes. Analyses were run separately for each parent-child dyad via hierarchical regressions (with forward selection procedures being applied at each step). Also, the median split technique was applied to the PAQ data and differences between the four resulting groups were assessed with ANOVAs. Differences between the son and daughter findings were assessed with t-tests.
It was found that parental traits were predictive of parental expectations only for the father/daughter dyad. Fathers' expectations were predictive of many of the male child outcomes and mothers’ traits were predictive of many of the female child outcomes. It was hypothesized, on the basis of the present findings, that same-sex parents are more influential with respect to their children than Opposite-sex parents. Other implications of these findings were discussed.
Parental expressive traits were predictive of child self-esteem for same-sex dyads. The importance throughout early childhood of parental warmth and acceptance for resulting child outcomes may underlie such findings. These stable parenting behaviors may be tapped by parental report on the FAQ. Parental expectations were predictive of child self-expectations but only for sons. Also, the androgyny hypothesis was not supported by these data. The median split and regression analyses yielded similar findings, with regressions being the preferred method.
It was found that girls experience lower levels of self-esteem and higher levels of self-consciousness than boys. Such a finding was in line with the Gender Intensification Hypothesis (Hill & Lynch, 1983). It was also found that both instrumental and expressive expectations were seen as more important by parents of daughters than by parents of sons. To explain such results, additional analyses were run whereby pubertal status was taken into account. Directions for future research were discussed.
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