The effects of the parent/child relationship on children's adjustment in mother-led and two parent families


Bagchee, Piyali




The purpose of the present research was to study family structure (divorced or intact) and family process variables (the parent/child relationship) in order to identify factors related to children's adjustment. Data were collected from children and parents in 28 two parent and 29 mother custody families. Structured interviews were conducted with children between nine to thirteen years of age. The Bricklin Perceptual Scales and the Family Relations Test were used to assess a child's perception of his/her mother and father. Self-report measures of self-esteem and loneliness, and parent-report measures of internalizing and externalizing behaviours were used to assess children's adjustment. Demographic information on parental levels of education, occupation and income was obtained from the two groups. Three questions related to marital separation were investigated. The first question was whether family type significantly affected children's adjustment. MANOVAs revealed no significant difference between children in single parent and two parent families on self-esteem and loneliness. There were significant differences on parents' ratings of children's behaviour; however, these differences were not significant after statistically controlling for income level. The second question addressed in the current research was whether children's adjustment could be predicted from the mother/child and father/child relationship. Children's adjustment was significantly predicted from the mother/child, but not the father/child relationship. Finally, the association between the parent/child relationship and children's adjustment was examined separately for boys and girls. Boys' self-esteem was highly correlated with the father/child relationship. Girls' self-esteem and loneliness were correlated with the competency of their mothers and the supportiveness of their mothers. The present findings suggest that children's adjustment is related to family process variables rather than family structure. The implications of the present study and suggestions for future research are discussed.


Parent And Child.
Single-parent Families.
Mother And Child.
Paternal Deprivation.




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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