Fantasy in stories spontaneously told by two relatively privileged groups of preschoolers Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/k0698c37r

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  • The purpose of this investigation was to duplicate the methodology of the Pitcher and Prelinger (1963) study, using their theoretical framework and category system, to examine the cultural impact upon the development of a group of socioeconomically disadvantaged preschool children as reflected in their fantasy products, specifically in their spontaneously told stories. The results for this disadvantaged group were analyzed separately, and were compared, where possible, with the Pitcher and Prelinger data on a socioeconomically privileged group of children. The general assumption underlying the hypotheses is that experiences due to cultural impact will be differentially expressed in the fantasy products of two socioeconomically different groups of children and will be reflected in their spontaneously told stories. The three null hypotheses formulated to test for differences within the less privileged group were: formal aspects of the stories, which presumably represent the child's ego structure, do not differ for boys and girls of the two age groups; story contents, which presumably represent the range of experience stored in the child, are independent of age, sex, and number of parents; and, the predominant psychosocial issue in the stories do not differ for boys and girls of the two age groups. The hypotheses formulated for comparison of the two different socioeconomic groups were: formal story aspects and psychosocial modalities do not differ for privilege group; and, story contents are independent of privilege group. The data (60 stories) were collected by the investigator using Jung's "free association" method and were rated by three judges using the Pitcher and Prelinger category system. Satisfactory interjudge reliability agreement was established on the ratings. Analysis of variance and the x² test of independence were used to analyze the data for tests within the less privileged group; whereas, analysis for the comparison of the two groups, with the exception of one modified x² test, had to be carried out on the basis of inspection alone due to the particular manner in which Pitcher and Prelinger reported their data. Stories were collected from 30 socioeconomically disadvantaged three- and four-year-old children enrolled in a United-Fund-supported day nursery in Portland, Oregon in the summer of 1964. The subjects, designated as socioeconomically disadvantaged (or less privileged) children were from families for whom the median annual take-home income is $3234.00; 53% of the sample were from single-parent families and 47% were from two-parent families; and, 21% of the parents had college or graduate education while 79% had high school education. The socioeconomically privileged subjects of the Pitcher and Prelinger study were from two-parent families of professional people, attended exclusive private nursery schools, and 60% of them showed superior capacity on intelligence tests. The results obtained within the less privileged group indicated that interaction of sex and age accounts for the significant difference in formal aspects as well as in relevant material on psychosocial modalities expressed in the stories; and, that the choice of the two major themes in the story contents category was dependent upon the sex of the child. Outstanding differences on the means for the sex and age groups were described and discussed. Findings on the comparison of data for the two relatively privileged groups showed that choice of themes in the stories was dependent on socioeconomic (privilege) group; the privileged group used themes reflecting socialization more often than the less privileged group and the less privileged group used themes centering in the self more often. Outstanding differences in the group means for the two relatively privileged groups were reported and discussed. Tentative explanations of the results in light of socio-cultural factors were considered and obvious weaknesses of the study were pointed up. It was concluded that fantasy products, in the form of spontaneously told stories, for the two relatively privileged socioeconomic groups of preschoolers do, at least to some degree, differentially reflect socio-cultural impact on child development.
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