Factors related to the use of pediatricians as resources for child behavior problems Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/sx61dq501

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  • All parents experience some problems with their children and may look to various parenting resources for guidance and reassurance (Stoltz, 1967). The literature on the problems parents experience, including tantrums, bedwetting, whining/crying, has not comprehensively explored the range and co-occurrence of child behavior problems across all ages (Kanoy and Schroeder, 1985). Many resources are available to parents experiencing difficulties; these include books and magazines, parenting classes, and other health professionals. The role of the pediatrician as a resource for information and guidance has received minimal attention. Two hundred parents and ten pediatricians served as respondents in this study. Of the parents, 94% were female and 97% were white. Ages of the children ranged from 9 months to 13 years. The parents' questionnaire explored the types of child behavior problems perceived by parents, their attitudes concerning the use of resources including the pediatrician, and demographic information about the structure of the family. The pediatricians themselves reported on their backgrounds and their attitudes about providing parenting assistance. A principal components factor analysis reveals that the child behavior problems group into two factors. Assertiveness includes problems such as talking back and destructiveness. Reliance includes problems during mealtime and bedtime. Age is related to assertiveness and reliance; in general younger children are viewed by their parents as more assertive and more reliant (ANOVA for assertiveness, F = 2.34, df = 4, E < .05) (ANOVA for reliance, F = 4.11, df = 4, p < .01). Families with lower income and single parent families reported more assertive children as well. The next step of data analysis was to examine the resources parents use when faced with child behavior problems. Relatives (99%) are the most frequently used resources. Consulting friends (98%) and reading books and magazines (93%) were also frequently reported. However, when parents were asked the value of resources, the pediatrician was ranked as the most valuable. Pediatrician characteristics, including the number of years in practice and number of patients per day, are positively related to the parents' rating of pediatricians as a valued resource for parenting information. It appears that parents tend to consult resources, not solely on value, but instead on convenience. Characteristics of the pediatricians' background and work schedules seem to influence how valuable their guidance is to parents. This study answers the questions of which problems occur together, and which resources are used by parents to aid them with child behavior problems. The results provide valuable information for pediatricians and other family health professionals interested in becoming more active in "well-child" work.
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