Date of Award

12-1-2012

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Abbey Eisenhower

Second Advisor

Alice S. Carter

Third Advisor

Laurel Wainwright

Abstract

A child's family environment and prior relational experiences, particularly the parent-child relationship (Barth & Parke, 1993; Cowan, Cowan, Ablow, Johnson, & Measelle, 2005), impact academic, relational and behavioral adjustment to school (Bascoe, Davies, Sturge-Apple & Cummings, 2009). However, much of the literature does not take the child's perspective into account when looking at the parent-child relational experience. In the current study the associations between parent-child relationship quality (PCRQ) and children's behavioral adjustment to preschool and kindergarten are examined with the aim of determining if children's perspectives on their relationship with their parents can uniquely predict behavioral outcomes. We considered how parents' and children's perspectives on PCRQ differentially predict children's behavioral adjustment, as reported by parents and teachers. We determined that the child's perspective does not significantly predict behavioral adjustment above and beyond the parent's perspective. We confirmed that the parent's perspective of PCRQ is predictive of parent-reported, but not teacher-reported, behavioral adjustment in this unique sample of economically disadvantaged families. The primary hypothesis of this study that child-reported PCRQ accounts for significant additional variance in school adjustment in internalizing symptoms, above and beyond that accounted for by parent-reported PCRQ was not supported and potential reasons are discussed. This study elaborates on existing literature on the parent-child relationship in the face of stressors and incorporates the child's perspective through the parent-child subscales of the Berkeley Puppet Interview (BPI).

Comments

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