Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Extension

Major Professor

Robert S. Dotson

Committee Members

Marion Mariner, Cecil E. Carter


A total of 829 homemakers was interviewed by Extension home econo-mists in; the 1975-76 Family Life Survey for the purposes of characterizing selected Tennessee families and studying relations of certain family vari-ables and family characteristics. Variables had to do with homemakers' statements regarding their families' interaction and communication, self-esteem and family rules. Homemakers selected adjectives for each of the variables mentioned above that they felt applied to their family. Certain adjectives were positive and others were negative. Homemakers who checked more positive than.negative items were said to have a nurturing family. Others were non-nurturing. The typical family had 1.7 male members and 1.6 females. The average size of the - family was 3.3 members. The husbands averaged 47 years old and the wives 45 at study time. At time of first marriage, the average homemaker was 21 years old and the husband was 24. Among those having two or more. marriages, the wife averaged 35 years old and the husband averaged 39. The average family lived in a rural area and attended church together regu-larly. The homemaker belonged to a church, had a twelfth grade education, and did not work for pay. Most homemakers felt the Child Rearing Stage in the Family Life Cycle was, at once, the most rewarding in happiness and the most difficult. Results of the study indicated that regarding the interaction and communication variable, those having more positive responses were: homemakers from part-time farms; those that attended church together as a family, wives with higher educations; larger families; older husbands and wives at time of first marriage; and homemakers who felt the Child Launching Stage in the Family Life Cycle was happiest. Regarding the self image variable, those having more positive re-sponses were: homemakers who felt the Child Launching Stage was the hap-piest and the most difficult; larger families; and older husbands at time of study. Regarding the,family rules variable, those having more positive re-sponses were: homemakers who grew up locally; families that attended church together regularly with their families; homemakers who belonged to a church; homemakers with a higher education; and those who felt the Child Launching Stage was the happiest and the most difficult. Findings were also presented regarding negative responses, numbers of family rules and rules which caused problems, as well as implications and recommendations for use of findings and further study.

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