Contributions of family size, birth order, socioeconomic status, and parent-child relationships to young children's intellectual development Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/4f16c537j

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  • The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of family size, birth order, socioeconomic status, and parent-child relationships to young children's intellectual development. Seventy-four children, 39 boys and 35 girls, with a mean age of 4 years-8 months, and their parents (mothers and fathers), selected from 9 preschool programs and daycare centers in Corvallis, Oregon, acted as subjects for this study. Ninety-five percent of the families came from upper or upper-middle socioeconomic classes. All the families were intact, consisting of children and their biological parents, representing one-, two, and three-child families. The children in this study were either first-, second- or third-born children. Family socioeconomic status was determined via Hollingshead's Four Factor Index of Social Status. Information on family size and birth order was obtained through a Demographic Questionnaire. Parent-child relationship was assessed via the Parent Attitude Research Instrument-Short Form. Children's intellectual level was measured with the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised. Zajonc and Markus' Confluence Theory, Page and Grandon's Admixture Theory, and Falbo and Polies Parent-Child Relationships Theory were utilized as the basis for investigating the relative contributions of family size, birth order, socioeconomic status, mother-child relationship, and father-child relationship to children's intellectual development. The regression procedure was used in data analyses. The .05 probability level was used as the criterion for statistical significance. Findings revealed that the variables of socioeconomic status and quality of father-child relationships contributed significantly to children's intellectual development. The higher the socioeconomic status of the family, and the more supportive the father-child relationships, the higher the children's intellectual development scores. Birth order and family size made no contributions to children's intellectual development. These findings, therefore, provided support for Page and Grandon's Admixture Theory and Falbo and Polies Parent-Child Relationships Theory, but not for Zajonc and Markus' Confluence Theory.
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