Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

McCanne, Thomas R.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Parent and child; Families


The Family Attitude Survey (FAS), a questionnaire in which 21 hypothetical family conflicts and potential solutions are presented and the solution to each conflict is rated on a 5-point (strongly agree to strongly disagree) scale, was administered to 82 college freshmen (58 females and 24 males) and their parents. Students responded to the FAS from their own perspective, as well as answering in the manner they believed each of their parents would respond. Five sets of FAS responses were obtained from each family in the sample including each family member's own chosen solutions, and the child's predictions of his/her mother's and father's FAS responses. Comparisons between the FAS responses of the various two-person combinations of family members provided information regarding the degree of agreement and disagreement which characterized these families. The difference between the parents' responses and the children's predictions of their responses served as an operational index of the accuracy with which children predicted their parents' attitudes toward family conflict, and also provided a general measure of interpersonal perceptivity. The data were further analyzed in order to determine the effects of the children's sex, ordinal position, and family size on the children's predictive accuracy and on the family members' personal assessments of the parent-child relationship. The results indicated that parents and children did not evidence agreement in their chosen solutions to the FAS conflicts, but instead indicated a significant degree of disagreement. Similarly, children were unable to predict their parents' FAS responses accurately. Female children were found to be more accurate than males in their predictions of their mothers' responses, yet no sex differences were indicated by the analyses of the predictions of fathers' responses. Family size and birth order were not found to contribute significantly to the children’s overall level of predictive accuracy. In contrast to the poor predictive accuracy which was actually observed, parents' and children's estimates of the likelihood of predictive success indicated a belief that the children would be accurate in their predictions. On all estimates of the degree of understanding between parent and child, however, parents indicated greater confidence in the children's perceptivity than the children themselves indicated. While family size was not found to affect subjective estimates of family relationships, the child's sex and ordinal position were found to exert differential influences on parents' and children's beliefs about the nature of their interpersonal ties. Specifically, children's estimates of their similarity to their parents revealed a sex effect, and their judgments of their own predictive abilities were found to vary as a function of their ordinal position. Parents' estimates of their children's predictive abilities and knowledge possessed were affected by their children's ordinal position, with mothers attributing lesser knowledge and predictive capabilities to middle born children, and the degree of knowledge and predictive capacities estimated by fathers being inversely related to the children's ordinal position.


Includes bibliographical references.||Page numbering repeats 156.


x, 195 pages




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