Patterns of Adjustment in Character Research Project Families
Green, J. Carleton
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Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston UniversityThe purpose of this investigation has been to determine if there are patterns of adjustment, family types, in a sampling of families participating in the Union College Character Research Project. It has been fashioned on the hypothesis that a family's internal ratio of compatibility of adjustment may be approximated from examination of interpersonal attitudes toward each other as held by the family's members. Family adjustment is thought of as being on a continuum. The well-adjusted family tends to include both conformity and freedom, group loyalty and individuality, stability and consistency. The not-so-well-adjusted family tends to include total conformity or total freedom, a minimum of group loyalty and individuality, inconsistency and often contradictory standards. This study was made possible by an arrangement between CTI and Boston University Graduate School in which the writer would explore a research problem defi ned by CRP and appropriate to the dissertational requirements of Boston University Gradate School. A brief statement of the historical development of the Character Research Project gives background for the content of this dissertation. CRP, founded by Dr. Ernest M. Ligon in 1935, and directed by him ever since, has developed a curriculum for Christian character education which now is used in more than 50 churches and private groups throughout the United States and Canada. CRP's headquarters are on the campus of Un ion College in Schenectady, New York. The Project has tried to incorporate the most creative insights of scientific method, religious education, and psychology into the development and progressive revision of its curriculum. Also, one of CRP's basic tenets is that Christian character education depends for its success on the maximum of cooperation between the home and church school. To expand its understanding of home and family living, CRP developed the Home Dynamics Study, a questiorraaire study completed by more than 200 families. A randomized sample of 200 families were selected. A description of the sample shows that 71% of the fathers and 60% of the mothers have had four or more years of college. 75% of the fathers are in the professional and managerial classification vocationally. 61% of the mothers are classified similarly either in their present or former occupations. 39% of these families have three or more children; 45% have two children; 16% have only one child. Comparison of this sample with the Nation's averages shows that this sample does not represent our Nation's population. The HDS questionnaire asked husbands and wives to rate the influence of 63 dynamic factors on themselves as they taught attitudes of character to their children in the home. Included among these dynamic factors were the external situation, an individual's native endowment, his skills, his tensions, his behavior, his attitudes, and his self concepts. A rating scale was used which had five gradations: "very positive," "positive," "neutral," "negative," and "very negative." The HDS was designed for the application of statistical analysis to the data gathered. The investigation described in this dissertation is a segment of the HDS. The investigator began analysis of the questionnaire data by recording the ratings made by the husbands and wives on the "inter:personal" factors. Designated as essentially "interpersonal" were the following factors: "your spouse," " this child, "other children in the home," "other people in the home," "harmony between you and your spouse," "harmony among the children," "harmony between the children and parents," "family interests," and "family religious practice." From the ratings described above, an average score for each family was computed. The ratings on the 9 factors combined. A curve of distribution of the family rating averages was drawn. The 30 families with the lowest averages, the 30 families with averages nearest the sample mean, and the 30 families with the highest averages became Groups A, B, and C. Average ratings on sets of factors other than "interpersonal" then were computed for the three groups. Coefficients of correlation between the interpersonal and other factor sets were tabulated. The results were lacking in statistical significance. A second method of data analysis, known as "Q Technique," was employed. William Stephenson and others have developed this method. Soon it was found that this method, too, was unsuccessful. "Q Techni que" is designed to express a statistical relationship between the sets of ratings, and involves the use of product-moment correlations. However, it is unusable if one or the other of the rating sets has a "flat" rating profile, a profile with all the ratings the same. A number of the rating profiles in this data are "flat." The third attempt at finding a workable method for data analysis resulted in the selection of the D Measure. The names of Charles E. Osgood, George J. Suci, Lee J. Cronbach, and Goldine C. Gleser are associated with the development of this method. It is used in comparing the raw scores of two rating profiles and measuring the distance between them. The D Measure is found by computing the square root of the sum of the squares of differences between two rating profiles. Preliminary to the application of this D Measure, the families in the sample were re-grouped, but on the basis of their average ratings on the three "harmony" factors. Families with average ratings tending to be positive or very positive on all three harmony factors became Group A'; families with positive or very positive average ratings on the first and third harmony factors, but with neutral or negative average ratings on the second became Group B'; Group C' was made up of the families whose average ratings tended positively on the first but neutrally or negatively on the second and third of the harmony factors. A random sample of 10 families each was chosen from the three groups, and they, in turn, became Groups A'R, B'R, and C'R. The distances within these three groups of families were measured on their average ratings of the interpersonal factors other than "harmony." Then by cluster analysis those families in each of the three groups which had the smallest amount of distance between them were selected. Next, the cluster or clusters of families most representative of the three groups on the six factors were determined. The rating profiles of the families involved were compared on the basis of level of elevation: the mean of a family's ratings on a factor, and the amount of scatter: the extent of variation within a family's rating profile on a factor and found by computing the square root of the sum of squares of a family 's deviation in ratings about its own mean. The following patterns of similarity or dissimilarity were found: Factor A'R B'R C'R "Your spouse" SL;SS SL;VS SL;VS "This child" SL;SS SL;SS VL;VS "Other children" SL;VS VL;VS SL;VS "Other people" SL;VS SL;SS SL;SS "Family interests" SL;VS SL;SS SL;SS "Family religious practice" SL;VS VL;VS VL;VS SL - Similar level VL - Varied level SS - Similar scatter VS - Varied scatter An analysis of the levels elevation which resulted in the above patterns showed that the representative families in Group A'R tended to rate the influence of these interpersonal factors somewhat higher than did the representative families in Groups B'R and C'R. Also, an analysis of the amounts of scatter showed that there was considerable variation in all three groups, but that the amount in Group A'R usually was less than in the other two. These results suggest the interpretation that husbands and wives in this first group placed more importance on the interpersonal factors, and that there was more consistent agreement between them as to this importance, than was indicated for either of the other two groups. Thus, the writer believes that the degree of compatibility or adjustment in Group A'R is larger than in Groups B'R and C'R. From this conclusion modest support for the hypothesis of this study has been found. From this study the writer would summarize the following conclusions: 1. While care must be exercised in generalizing the findings of this study, they may be applied to populations other than the study sample if there is sufficient agreement on major dimensions among the populations compared. 2. A comparison of family rating profile averages on the interpersonal factors between the three random groups and the larger groups from which they were chosen showed a very close agreement. No differences were greater than 0.2. This agreement has been interpreted as showing that the random groups represent the larger groups. Since A'R was chosen from A', a group of 98 families, and since the highest ratio of compatibility was ascribed to this group by means used in this study, the total sample's composition may include approximately 100 well-adjusted families and approximately 100 not-so-well-adjusted families. 3. Only in Group A'R were the husbands and wives consistently agreed as to the positive influence on themselves of their mates and of the harmony between them. Also, this group seemed to attach more positive importance to the remaining interpersonal factors than did the other two groups. These circumstances suggest the interpretation that one of the major sources of a positive family climate stems from the relationships existing between husband and wife. 4. In the realm of Christian character education, this study's conclusions lend added support to the view that parental cooperation, voluntarily given, should make for more successful home teaching when both parents participate. 5. Then, too, one of the usual procedures in CRP methodology in participating churches is to have a parents' class. This study's conclusions point to the desirability of making these classes therapeutic groups in which husband-wife relations may be improved. 6. While this study has not produced a novel typology of the home, it has focused attention on two central tendencies in family adjustment. Terms borrowed from the vocabulary of geometry designate the well-adjusted as the symmetrical family, and the not- so-well-adjusted as the asymmetrical family. The sym~metry or asymmetry of these family adjustment tendencies are in terms of interpersonal attitudes and relationships.