- The main objective of this study was to identify family life
competencies needed by high school graduates, as perceived by a
majority of respondents. In addition, the null hypothesis tested was:
that age, sex, and educational level are each independent of response
on each individual competency statement. Testing was done at the
5% level of significance.
The questionnaire was developed through a synthesis of goals
stated in twelve family life curriculum guides published since 1965.
A working draft of the questionnaire was developmentally tested with
three high school seniors and three mothers of teenagers. The
survey instrument included provisions for indicating personal data,
and offered four categories of "Essential", "Necessary", "Permissible",
and "Unimportant", for participants to respond to nine family
life topics and seventy competency statements.
The population included those couples and individuals voluntarily
attending county public health prenatal classes in western
Oregon. Data were collected from all five counties with an on-going
program. One hundred forty-seven usable questionnaires were
obtained. Four instruments were disregarded because of incomplete
Participants in the study ranged from 16 to 45 years of age
with a mean age of 25, and with 46.94 percent of the people in the 25
to 29 age group. Males numbered 56 (38. 10 percent) in the participating
group, with 91 (61.90 percent) females. Grouped educational
levels revealed 27. 21 percent having more than 16 years of education
and the groups with 12 years and with 13-15 years of education each
being 26. 53 percent of the total sample.
Frequency counts and percentages of the total sample indicating
favorable responses, were computed and presented for each of the
9 family life topics and 70 competency statements. All 9 family life
topics and 64 of the 70 competency statements received a majority
(over 50 percent) of favorable responses.
Chi-square tests were computed on each item of the questionnaire
to test the null hypothesis that age, sex, and educational level
are each independent of response. The null hypothesis was rejected
for age, in seven instances. Most cases showed younger people
responding favorably more often than expected and older people responding less favorably more often than expected.
The null hypothesis was rejected for sex in four instances, with
males responding less favorably more often and females more favorably
more often than expected. The null hypothesis for educational
level was rejected in nine instances. More educated people tended
to respond less favorably more often and less educated people tended
to respond more favorably more often than expected.
Implications of the study for the family living curriculum in
Oregon secondary schools, as indicated in the opinions of the
respondents, are as follows:
1. Family life topics of communicating, understanding yourself,
relating to others, understanding sex, being a family member, parenthood,
selecting a mate, marriage, and the family relating to the
community would be valuable in the family life curriculum.
2. It seems necessary that family life education topics stress
making decisions, solving problems, resolving conflicts, and coping
3. It seems reasonable that sixty-four of the family life competencies
identified in this study be incorporated in programs designed
to prepare students for their life role as a family member.
The sample of expectant parents was a biased group. On
speculation it seems that the sample could be quite concerned about
the topic and competencies of parenthood. In view of this, the
following recommendations for future studies are made:
1. High school students, young married couples not expecting
children, and middle aged couples need to be surveyed to identify
family life competencies.
2. Learning experiences need to be developed for family life