Date of Award:

1996

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Richard N. Roberts

Abstract

Two demographically congruous groups of early adolescent boys, one group with identified externalizing behavior problems (ESP) and one group enrolled in regular education (RED), were surveyed using anonymous self-report questionnaires that assessed academic, social, and general domains of perceived control and aspects of familial experiences. Data from EBP and RED boys' extant scholastic archival records were also collected. Also, using anonymous self-report questionnaires, the parents of EBP and RED boys were surveyed regarding their levels of satisfaction regarding aspects of parenting. This study found that EBP boys had statistically significantly lower reading, math, and language achievement scores and grade point averages than RED boys. The general ability level of EBP boys was more similar to, than different from, the RED boys. Regarding perceived control in the academic domain, EBP boys (a) perceived themselves as having substantially less general control over academic success than RED boys, (b) endorsed luck as an effective strategy for academic success more than RED students, and (c) reported statistically significantly greater influence of unknown sources of academic successes and failures than RED boys. Socially, EBP boys reported statistically significantly greater beliefs about unknown sources for social (peers, adults) interaction success and unknown sources for social (peers, adults) interaction failure than RED boys. In the general environment, EBP boys reported significantly greater beliefs about unknown sources for general failure in their daily lives and imputed adults (powerful others) in their environment with great power with respect to preventing them from engaging in general activities. No statistically significant differences were found between the EBP and RED boys on self-reported aspects of parental care, social control/protection, or personal control/protection. Regarding parents' self-reported levels of satisfaction, no statistically significant differences were found between parents of boys in the EBP group and parents of boys in the RED group for spouse/ex-spouse support nor parent performance. Mothers, but not fathers, of EBP boys reported a statistically significantly lower level of satisfaction with the parent-child relationship than mothers of RED boys.

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