Date of Award:

1979

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

William R. Dobson

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of family sculpting on perceptual agreement among family members.

Thirty families, each consisting of a father, a mother, and a child twelve years old or older, from areas of northern Utah and eastern Idaho participated in the study. The following instruments were administered to all individuals: a biographical questionnaire containing items regarding age, sex, occupation, education, number of years married for parents, and birth order position for children; the Interpersonal Check List in which each family was to describe him/herself and the other members of the family; the Family Life Questionnaire which measures satisfaction in the family; and, finally, the experimental group was also administered the Subjective Check List which is a self report measure of the subject's experience with the experimental treatment.

Three hypotheses were made regarding the effect that family sculpting would have on perceptual agreement among family members in the experimental groups:

  1. There would be no significant difference between experimental and control groups in terms of perceptual agreement among family members after family sculpting as measured by the Interpersonal Check List.

  2. There would be no significant difference between the low-satisfaction experimental qroup and the control group in terms of perceptual agreement among family members after family sculpting as measured by the Interpersonal Check List.

  3. There would be no significant difference between the high-satisfaction experimental group and the control group in terms of perceptual agreement among family members after family sculpting as measured by the Interpersonal Check List.

To test the hypotheses, analyses of covariance were computed for pre and posttest scores on all eight scales of the Interpersonal Check List, and on the Family Life Questionnaire.

It was found that when the pretest means were held constant there was a difference on posttest means between .the group which received family sculpting and the group that did not, on five of the twenty-four analyses. As a result of these findings all three hypotheses were rejected. However, notwithstanding a difference did exist, an examination of the unadjusted and adjusted means showed paradoxical results in that the level of perceptual agreement for the group which received family sculpting increased in three instances and decreased in two instances. Thus, it was determined that family sculpting may have facilitated changes in the perceptions of family members, however, it was not found to be effective in increasing perceptual agreement among family members . Further consideration would suggest that, in terms of a therapeutic approach, these possible changes in perception may be of value in breaking down maladaptive family communication patterns and establishing more adaptive ones.

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