A comparison of the use of support and control in the child-rearing practices of foster parents

Dawe, Clarinda Mary Sharpe (1978) A comparison of the use of support and control in the child-rearing practices of foster parents. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Viewing the foster family as fulfilling the same major role of socialization that natural families fill, this study examines one aspect of socialization, that of discipline and the use of parental power. Defining parental power as the force parents use to control their children's behaviour, this research looks at the use of support, assertive control, and inductive control in foster parents. -- Recognizing that different foster parents raise children differently, the researcher divided the total foster parent population served by the St. John's District Welfare Office into two groups--those considered on an 8-point adequacy scale as being more adequate foster parents, and those considered less adequate. Those two groups were individually interviewed and asked questions regarding their use of behaviours related to support, assertive control, and inductive control. Twenty questions based on 20 hypotheses were developed and tested as measures of parental power. -- Based on the work of Rollin and Thomas (1975) it was proposed that the foster parents rated as more adequate, called Group I, would use more support, more inductive control, and less assertive control than the foster parents rated less adequate, Group II. -- This study also looked at the demographic characteristics of the foster parent population and found these similar to other foster parent populations studied in the United Kingdom (Wakeford, 1963) and the United States (Fanshel, 1966). -- Because of the use of total population no inferential statistics were used to examine the study results. A comparison of mean scores indicated that, in 15 of the 20 items measured, the differences of the means were in the direction predicted but the differences were not large. In the five remaining statements the direction was opposite to the direction predicted. -- It is recognized that a large amount of support and inductive control, combined with small amounts of assertive control lead to effective child socialization. All the foster parents studied scored relatively high on the nine items measuring support, the six items measuring inductive control, and relatively low on the five assertive control statements. -- This study therefore concludes that, even though the differences of means in three-quarters of the items were in the direction predicted, the closeness of the scores suggests that (1) all foster parents are approximately equal and rate well as effective socialization agents, or (2) that responses were biased by the need to give socially acceptable responses. -- The research concludes that the concept of parent power should be studied further and the instrument used refined. The questionnaire could then be used by clinical social workers as an aid in the assessment of potential foster parents. The study further suggests that for a richer understanding of the dynamics of foster care, the child's compliance to parental power should also be examined. -- Lastly, foster care is noted to be a difficult process for a child in view of his exposure to the social power and social exchange of more than one set of socialization agents. Supportive family programs which would prevent the need for children to be placed in care are seen as a necessary child welfare priority.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7561
Item ID: 7561
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 81-87. -- Previously copyrighted material, in Appendix B, leaves 94-111, not microfilmed (p. 94). A note describes the pages' content.
Department(s): Social Work, School of
Date: 1978
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Foster home care; Child rearing

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