Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

C. Jay Skidmore


C. Jay Skidmore


Jay D. Schvaneveldt


Roland G. Bergeson


The purpose of this research was to determine parents and teenagers slang awareness and when this awareness begins to appear in the vocabulary of the younger generation.

Two studies were construed to measure the intended purpose of t his research. Study A was conducted to determine if semantic influence and concept attainment of slang definitions would be greater for teenagers than that for adults. The instrument was an open ended word list consisting of 25 slang terms. Criterion for the selection of words was assessed by determining if each word used could be found in three of the five sources. They not only need to be present, but also have the same or related definition. It was thought that these words would be the ones generally accepted as having a universal meaning. These words were also characterized by having:

  1. Dictionary definition--The definition found in any abridged dictionary.
  2. Traditional slang definition--The general slang usage as indicated by the dictionary.
  3. Drug slang definition--The definition used in the drug culture.

Study B was conducted to evaluate the terms used to determine at what grade level these terms appear in the vocabulary of the younger generation. The sane word list used in Study A was used in Study B, only instead of writing a definition, subjects were asked to write next to each word, the first drug word that came to their mind in association to the stimulus word, and if they couldn't think of a drug word, then any word.

The findings of Study A indicate that an interaction barrier of slang understanding does exist between parents and teenagers. A t-test was computed on the dictionary definitions of parents and teenagers, as was on each of the traditional slang and drug slang definitions. There was no significant differences in the understanding of dictionary meanings; however, both the traditional and drug slang were significant at beyond the .01 level.

From the results of Study B, one can with some certainty depict the period that one begins understanding slang terminology. Though some Elementary subjects have a slang knowledge, the results suggest that from the Junior High on through College there is a steady increase of one's understanding of slang terms.