Date of Award

6-1972

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Ruth Highberger

Committee Members

Patricia A. Walker, Arthur E. Gravatt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare the values of a group of lower-class Appalachian mothers for their boys and for their girls. Punishment practices for boys and for girls were also compared. The child’s report of punishment was compared with the mother’s. It was hypothesized that there would be no difference between the boys’ mothers and the girls’ mothers in their choice of values for their children on a questionnaire using a list of values adopted from Kohn. It was also hypothesized that there would be no difference between the proportion of boys agreeing with their mothers and the proportion of girls agreeing with their mothers as to frequency of punishment.

The subjects of this study were 37 mothers and their children—20 boys and 17 girls. They were selected from a regional study of the Appalachian area which was begun in 1969 when the children were in the fifth grade. At the time of this study the children were seventh and eighth-grade students in two schools in Union County, Tennessee. All were from low-income homes.

The mothers responded to a questionnaire administered by an interviewer in their homes. The list of 16 values parents have for children was adapted from Kohn’s list of values. Mothers were to indicate the three values they would most desire for a child the age of their child. They were also asked to tell the reason for which they most often punished their child, the type of punishment used, and how often they punished. The children filled out questionnaires at school giving the reason for which they were most often punished, how they were punished, and how often.

Since the sample was small, Fisher’s exact probability test was used to test for a significant difference between the number of boys’ mothers and the number of girls’ mothers choosing each value. None of the differences reached significance at the .05 level. The hypothesis of no difference between the boys’ mothers and the girls’ mothers in choice of values failed to be rejected.

To test the hypothesis that there would be no change of values over a two-year period, questionnaires from 1969 were compared with those from 1971. The binomial test for two related samples was used to check for significance of change for each value. One value, “is dependable,” was found to reach significance at the .05 level. None of the other value changes reached significance. The hypothesis of no significant change in mothers’ values over a two-year period was rejected.

Fisher’s exact test was used to test for a difference between the proportion of boys agreeing with their mothers and the proportion of girls agreeing with their mothers as to frequency of punishment. No significant difference was found. The hypothesis of no difference between the proportion of boys agreeing with their mothers and the proportion of girls agreeing with their mothers concerning frequency of punishment failed to be rejected.

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