Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Elwin Nielsen


Gerald Adams


A predicted association between family relations and cognitive development and the emergence of adolescent egocentrism was explored in this study. A sample of seventh grade boys (n=131) and girls (n=120) completed Elkind and Bowen's Imaginary Audience Scale (a measure of egocentrism) and selected items from Heilbrun's Parent-Child Interaction Rating Scale and Schaefer's Parent-Behavior Inventory. A modified version of Lawson's Classroom Test of Formal Operations was used to measure cognitive development. Contrary to a theoretical based hypothesis a negative rather than positive relationship was found between level of formal operational thought egocentrism. For parenting style, perceived rejection/control and emotional support was associated with diminished egocentrism. Mixed results were found for perceived physical effect and egocentrism. Perceived parental withdrawal heightened egocentrism for both sexes. The data provide an alternative model to past cognitive development theory for the development of egocentrism. Parental socialization factors were found to contribute as much variance to the level of egocentrism as did level of formal operational thought.