Date of Award:

1992

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Glen O. Jenson

Abstract

This study recognizes the need to identify and prioritize critical issues facing families. The literature review identifies and documents a number of critical issues facing families in American society. Survey questionnaires, which contained an abstract version of 33 previously identified issues, were sent to a sample of 2,000 people in Utah. The sample was randomly selected from resident listings in Utah telephone books. The survey asked respondents to rate each of 33 issues on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the least urgent and 10 being the most urgent. These issues include childhood, economic, health, and elderly concerns. Mean scores and variances of individual issues and factor-analyzed issue categories were utilized in this study. It was hypothesized that there would be no significant difference with regard to urgency between categories of six demographic variables for each issue. Hypotheses were tested on each issue and eight major issue categories identified by a factor analysis. The six demographic variables utilized in the analyses of variance were: rural/urban status, gender, family income, marital status, age, and education level. When viewing results from the issues, results show that the hypothesis of no difference between gender, income, and education categories was rejected. Testing this same hypothesis of issue categories resulted in rejection for gender and education. In looking at the variance of all 33 issues combined, results show that individuals in Utah most likely to view issues with a higher sense of urgency were: female, low income, and residents with a lower level of educational attainment. A ranking of the 33 issues, as provided, could assist policy makers and professionals in knowing what issues Utah residents perceive as being the most pressing. Information gained from this study may assist policy makers in the allocation of funding for the variety of family related difficulties that Utah faces. The results from the analyses of variance may help explain public concern and interest relative to specific counties or communities. The study also identifies a method of identifying and prioritizing family-related issues. This method may be beneficial to other states in the nation.

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