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The influence of selected variables on the attitudes of Canadian adolescents towards marriage and family… Cyrull, F. Jean 1992

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THE INFLUENCE OF SELECTED VARIABLES ON THEATTITUDES OF CANADIAN ADOLESCENTS TOWARDSMARRIAGE AND FAMILY LIFEbyF. JEAN CYRULLB. Ed., University of British Columbia, 1974A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTERS OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(School of Family Nutritional Sciences)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA© March 1992In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.Department ofThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate DE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTThe purposes were to investigate the attitudes ofCanadian adolescents toward marriage and family life andto determine how these are influenced by familystructure, perception of family conflict, gender and ageand to investigate the influence of family structure onadolescent self-esteem. Seven hundred and ninety-twostudents ages 13-19 in a Western Canadian high schoolresponded to the questionnaire. Multivariate andUnivariate analyses reveal that family structure andperception of family conflict have a greater influence onadolescent attitudes towards marriage and family lifethan age and gender. Length of time living in aremarried family did not appear to influence adolescentattitudes. The remarried family structure mostnegatively affected adolescent attitudes. Older males inthe remarried family appeared to have higher self-esteemthan subjects in other family structures.iiTABLE OF CONTENTSPageAbstractList^of^TablesList^of^FiguresAcknowledgements ^Chapter^One^Introduction ^Chapter^Two^Review^of^Literature ^vivii15Divorce and Remarriage as Problematicfor Children 5Divorce and Remarriage as Non-Problematic for Children ^ 12Glossary of Terms ^ 18Chapter Three Methodology 19Subjects ^ 20Selection of Research Instruments ^ 20Procedure ^ 23Analysis Overview ^ 25Chapter Four Results ^ 27Demographic Information ^ 27Preliminary Analyses 28Analyses ^ 30Comparisons of Short Term and LongTerm Remarriages  ^31Comparisons of Gender Age andMarital Status  ^32iiiivComparisons as a Function of Conflict  ^ 39Summary by Hypothesis  ^41Chapter Five Discussion  ^44Chapter Six^Summary and Conclusions ^ 57References 61Appendices^A: Research Instrument  ^75B: Instruments Reviewed for Study  ^81C: Letter to Superintendent of theSchool District  ^83vList^of^TablesPageTable 1: Age and Gender of Subjects ^ 68Table 2: Marital Status of Parents ^ 69Table 3: Educational Level of Father ^ 70Table 4: Educational Level of Mother ^ 71viList^of^FiguresPageFigure 1: Self-Esteem as a Function ofParental Marital Status, Age,and Gender ^ 72Figure 2: Family Life Course as a Functionof Parental Marital Statusand Gender ^ 73Figure 3: Traditional View as a Functionof Age and Gender ^ 74viiAcknowledgementWith deep appreciation to Dr. Margaret Arcus forher guidance, encouragement and trust, and to myhusband, Horst Cyrull, for his patience, faith andlove. As well, I wish to extend sincere appreciationto the School District Administrators and the staffand students in the school which participated in thestudy.1CHAPTER ONEIntroductionAmong the important changes which have taken place inAmerican families over the last 25 years are an increase indivorce rates and in the incidence of remarriage (Fine, 1986;Glick, 1984). Although these changes have taken place, there aredifferent views about the magnitude of the change. Greenstein(1990) reports that between 1965 and 1980, divorce rates in theU.S. approximately tripled, and that other industrialized nationssuch as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia reported evenlarger increases for the same period of time. According to Glick(1989, p.24) "in 1987, there were an estimated 11.0 millionremarried families and 4.3 million stepfamilies in the UnitedStates". He further states that "it seems reasonable tospeculate that well over one half of today's young persons in theUnited States may become stepsons or stepdaughters by the year2000" (Glick, 1989, p.26).White (1990) challenged such claims and suggested that thereports of high divorce rates result from the use of aninappropriate statistic (the ratio between the at-risk populationfor divorce and the at-risk population for marriage). If,however, one compares the number of divorces in a given year withthe number of those at risk for divorce (i.e., those who aremarried), then the rate of divorce is much smaller (less than 2%in Canada in 1987). White further reported that preliminaryfinding from Statistics Canada data indicate that only 10%(males) to 12% (females) of ever-married Canadian are everdivorced. while divorce rates in the 1970's were relatively high2because of changes in divorce laws and the 'baby-boom' populationbulge, since that time, divorce rates in Canada have beenincreasing at only a modest rate.Views also differ on how these family changes affectchildren and adolescents, with some suggesting more negativeimpacts than others. According to Parish and Taylor (1979),divorce lowers a child's self-concept, while Smith (1990)reported that divorce increased a child's risk of lower academicself-concept and the likelihood of more personality problems. Aswell, divorce may reduce economic and social resources which mayhave long-term consequences for children (e.g. lower educationalattainment) (Keith & Finlay, 1988). Stepchildren may also befaced with other concerns such as dealing with loss, dividedloyalties, and guilt (Visher & Visher, 1979). Historically, theterm stepfamily has carried negative connotations, and step-children may have negative perceptions of their stepparents(Fine, 1986; Halperin & Smith, 1983; Visher & Visher, 1979).Marriage and family life attitudes have been assumed to beinfluenced by childhood experiences, and parental maritalrelationships seem significant in affecting adolescent attitudestoward marriage and marriage role expectations (Hill & Aldous,1969; Landis, 1962). Thus, if this relationship is disrupted bydivorce or death, it might also be assumed that the child'sattitudes to marriage and divorce would also be affected.According to social learning theory (Bandura, 1977), happy intactmarriages are expected to produce positive role models, whileunhappy intact or divorced relationships model negative behaviors(Coleman & Ganong, 1984). Thus if the adolescent experience3during the divorce or stepfamily restructuring period is unhappy,this might result in negative attitudes to marriage and familylife.In spite of these concerns about the effects of divorceand remarriage on children and adolescents, not all studiessupport these negative conclusions. Ganong and Coleman (1987)suggested that research on stepfamilies has been hampered by whathas been labeled "the deficit comparison approach (p. 310). Theapproach is based on the assumption that the nuclear family isthe normal family and that any variations in this will have anundesirable effect on children (Ganong & Coleman, 1987). Intheir work, Ganong and Coleman approached the study of thestepfamily as 'normal though different', and have concluded that"there were few differences in how stepsons and stepdaughtersperceived their relationships to their stepparents" (p. 15).They suggested that undesirable qualities may be the result offactors other than the family structure.As most of the studies of children and adolescents instepfamilies have been carried out in the U.S., little is knownabout the influence of this family experience on Canadianadolescents and whether it is a positive or a negative experiencefor them. As well, the differing views in the literaturereported above on the effects of divorce and remarriage onchildren and adolescents indicates a need for further research inthis area. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identifyadolescent attitudes towards marriage and family life and todetermine how these are influenced by divorce, remarriage andother selected variables.4The literature relevant to this study is hampered by theinadequacy in language (Ahrons & Rodgers, 1987). As noted above,the term "stepfamily" carries negative connotations and thus maycontribute to the negative stereotypes of this family structure.Although much of the research literature reported here uses thisterm, in this paper, the term 'stepfamily' will be replaced bythe more neutral 'remarried family'. However, since there arefew other terms which adequately and concisely describe therelationships within the family, when necessary, terms such as'stepparent' and 'stepchildren' will continue to be used.5CHAPTER TWOReview of LiteratureAs noted in Chapter One, the perception of divorce andremarriage as a negative influence on children and adolescentshas been supported by a number of studies. Two major kinds ofinfluences are important to this study:1) the negative perceptions and stereotyping of remarriedfamilies by both those who are members of the family and bythose outside it; and2) negative influences on the self-concepts of members inthe remarried family.Divorce and Remarriage as Problematic for ChildrenWallerstein and Blakeslee (1989) reported on a ten-yearstudy that followed the lives of 60 divorced families (131children and adolescents) in order to determine how long it takesfamily members to re-establish their lives following divorce. Inthis report, they included some of the findings from the original5-year study (Wallerstein & Kelly, 1980). Although familiesselected for the study responded to an advertized divorcecounselling service, they were not considered to be a populationin treatment, and according to the authors, most appeared to becoping with divorce reasonably well. In general, the familieswere middle-class, well-educated, predominately white, and, inmost cases, leaving first marriages.This study found that the psychological condition of thechildren and adolescents was related to the quality of life inthe post-divorce family. Five years following the divorce, one-third of the children were doing well, but well over one-third6were significantly worse off than before. wallerstein andBlakeslee concluded that divorce was almost always moredevastating for children than for adults and that these effectswere long-lasting. Children were most vulnerable because thedivorce experience affected their formative years, influencinghow they viewed themselves and society. Adolescents were mostat-risk as their family structure collapsed at a time when theymay have been feeling uncertain about themselves and theirfuture. Wallerstein and Blakeslee were unable to predict whichchildren would have long-lasting negative effects from divorce,based on their initial reactions to this experience. Althoughthese findings are important, concerns about methodology havebeen raised (Hetherington & Furstenberg, Jr., 1989), and thussome caution should be exercised in interpreting the results.Bryan, Coleman, Ganong, and Bryan (1986) surveyed 696students from two midwestern universities to determine theirperceptions of both adults and children living in remarriedfamilies. The students (95% were unmarried and 76% were fromnuclear families) were asked to respond with first impressions tobrief paragraphs describing adults and adolescents. Theseparagraphs described different types of family structure such asintact, divorced, and remarried. It was found that familystructure was an important factor in stereotype formation andthat the term 'stepfamily' had a negative stereotype. It wasfurther reported that "Children in stepfamilies were viewed morenegatively than children in any other family structure" (p.173).Although the authors had expected that stepchildren would beevaluated less positively than children in nuclear and in widowed7families, they had not anticipated the low ranking ofstepchildren when compared to children of divorced or never-married parents. They concluded that stepchildren may be themost negatively stereotyped children in our society.Fine (1986) studied 175 midwestern university collegestudents to determine if their perceptions of stepparents wereless positive than their perceptions of biological parents andwhether the degree of stereotyping depended upon the currentfamily structure. Eight family positions (i.e., mother,stepfather, friend) and two non-family positions were rated usingevaluative adjectives on a 7-point scale. Fine found thatcollege students perceived stepparents negatively, withstepmothers perceived more negatively than stepfathers. Hereported that some problems in remarried families (e.g., pooradjustment of children, a higher rate of divorce among those whoremarry, and negative stereotyping) appeared to be related to thenegative expectations of the members of remarried families heldby those outside the family who may interact with these familymembers. As well, individuals who worked with remarried familiesheld less negative stereotypes than did those who did notinteract with them. He also found that those who lived in intactfamilies held stronger negative stereotypes than did those wholived in other family structures.Bryan, Ganong, Coleman, and Bryan (1985) investigatedcounselor attitudes towards remarried families. They surveyed123 employed Missouri counselors and 147 graduate and 105undergraduate students in counseling or social work. The studyfound that counselors appeared to hold more negative stereotypes8of stepparents and stepchildren than they did of parents andchildren from intact families, but it was suggested that thismight have been influenced by the unrealistic positive views ofthe nuclear family held in particular by young, inexperiencedcounselors (Bryan, Ganong, Coleman & Bryan, 1985). The authorssuggested that working with remarried families may changeperceptions, since counselors with two years or less experienceevaluated remarried families more negatively than did theexperienced professionals. This finding was consistent with thatreported by Fine (1986) above.The results of these studies indicate that there arenegative stereotypes, negative perceptions, and negativeattitudes towards remarried families. One might presume thatthis general negative view might then influence adolescentattitudes towards marriage and family life and might becomeproblematic in family functioning.Some studies suggested that divorce and remarriage had anegative impact on adolescent self-concept (Parish & Taylor,1979, Parish & Wigle, 1985). Self-concept has been defined byChaplin (1985) as self-evaluation. Parish and Parish (1983),however, focused more narrowly on "the affective-component ofself-concept or the child's emotional attitude towardshimself/herself. This component of self-concept is oftenreferred to as self-esteem..." (Parish & Parish, 1983, p.650).Because much of the literature on divorce and remarriage appearsto be assessing emotional attitudes toward this life experience,self-esteem may be a more concise and more appropriate term thanself-concept. However, to facilitate the review of literature9for this study, the term self-concept will be used as it is usedin the literature.Parish and Taylor (1979) assessed the self-concepts of 406grade and junior high school students from a small midwesternschool district. They reported that children whose parents haddivorced but the mother had not remarried had significantly lowerself-concepts than children from intact families. It wassuggested that the divorce experience may not be the key variablein lower self-concepts, but rather it may be the decrease insocioeconomic conditions which affected many single-parentfamilies. The study also indicated that children from remarriedfamilies had lower self-concepts than children from intactfamilies.Four hundred and seventy-two children, grades five to eight,from six school districts in eastern Kansas were subjects in astudy of the relationship between children's self-concept andfamily structure and family concept (Parish & Parish, 1983).Children checked forms which listed adjectives describingthemselves and their families. Children's self-concept wasreported to be significantly related to family structure (i.e.,intact family, single-parent family, remarried family) and tofamily concept (i.e., a person's perception of their family ashappy or unhappy). It was found that children in remarriedhouseholds were "more likely to describe themselves as cruel andless likely to describe themselves as gentle" (Parish & Parish,1983, p.657), more likely to describe themselves as afraid, weakand gloomy and less likely to describe themselves as cheerful(Parish & Parish, 1983).1 0In another study, Parish (1981) asked 349 universitystudents from a large midwestern university to evaluate theirparents and themselves using both positive and negativeadjectives. He reported that "college students' self-conceptvaried significantly as a function of perceived family happiness"(p.177). It was suggested that when there are threats to basicneeds such as safety, love and belonging, there are reducedopportunities for personal growth and development, thus loweringself-concepts.Smith (1990) investigated parental separation and theacademic self-concept of 1,682 grade seven and nine students inColumbia, South Carolina. According to Smith, the sample wasracially balanced and came from all socioeconomic segments ofsociety, although all students in remedial classes were notincluded in the study. He reported that children experiencingparental divorce or separation had more personality problems, andthat academic self-concept (though not academic achievement)seemed to be reduced if the separation occurred after the childfinished the second grade. The effect of the timing of parentalseparation led to the tentative conclusion that academic self-concept decreased as a result of pre-divorce conflict betweenparents or with the trauma of separation which lessened over time(Smith, 1990).If the perceptions of children and adolescents towardremarriage are negative, then one could assume that their self-concept would suffer and that this could affect their attitudestowards marriage and family life.Halperin and Smith (1983) compared stepchildren's11perceptions of their biological and non-biological fathers. Onehundred and forty subjects from intact and remarried familieswere selected from fifth and sixth grade, black and white Alabamastudents. It was found that stepchildren perceived both theirbiological and non-biological fathers less positively and morenegatively than control children perceived their biologicalfathers. Two explanations were given:1) children from intact families had a clearer definitionof the father role and therefore "a more positive perceptionof him than children whose family situation has beendisrupted by divorce" (p. 25); and2) stepchildren were confused by the departure of thebiological father, by the addition of the non-biologicalfather and by needing to cope with the complexity of theremarried family relationships.It was suggested that these children may be caught within the webof conflicting loyalties, involving not only fathers but alsoother family members. The stepchild's negative perceptions ofboth fathers may have reflected not only his or her own personalfeelings, but also the feelings of other family members as theytried to "perpetuate certain family patterns, myths and dynamicsthat may serve a greater function for the entire family"(Halperin & Smith, 1983, p.26 & 27).Glenn and Kramer (1987) studied the divorce-proneness ofadults whose parents had divorced. Data for the study came fromthe 1973-1985 General Social Survey. They found a "tendency fordivorce to run in families" (p.822) and suggested that value andbehavioral patterns unfavorable to marital success may pass from1 2generation to generation. During adolescence, it appeared thatthe children with divorced parents "tend to be hesitant andcautious about marriage, often saying that they will not marry"(p.824). On the average, however, they married at an early age,appearing to be impelled towards it while at the same time thatthey are apprehensive. "It seems likely, therefore, that whenthey marry they often hedge their bets against failure bywithholding full commitment to the marriage" (Glenn & Kramer,1987, p.824).Keith and Finlay (1988) used the 1972-1983 General SocialSurvey data to examine the effect of parental divorce on thechild's educational attainment, marital timing, and probabilityof divorce. They found that "divorce diminishes the economic andsocial resources available to children", that "fewer resourcesmay have negative consequences for educational attainment,marital timing, and divorce probability" (p.807) and thatparental divorce is associated with children's probability ofbeing divorced.The findings of these studies suggest that divorce andremarriage may affect not only the current attitudes and self-esteem of adolescents, but also the stability of their futurerelationships.Divorce and Remarriage as Non-Problematic for ChildrenNot all empirical studies support the view that divorceand remarriage negatively affects adolescent attitudes towardsmarriage and family life. Raschke and Raschke (1979) examinedthe effect of conflict within different types of familystructures on self-concept. Subjects for this study were public1 3school children in grades three, six and eight from a largeSoutheastern city. The authors found that family structure(i.e., intact, single-parent, reconstituted) did not make asignificant difference in children's self-concept, but thatchildren who perceived greater conflict in their families didhave significantly lower self-concepts. As well, they reportedthat perceived parental happiness correlated with children'sself-concept. For all children in the sample, the greater theperception of parental happiness, the higher their self-concepts.While Raschke and Raschke (1979) did not dispute that self-concept can be a problem in disrupted families, their findingssuggested that perception of family happiness or conflict mayhave had a greater influence on adolescent self-concept than didfamily structure (Raschke & Raschke, 1979).Long and Forehand (1987) reviewed literature which addressedthe relationship between parental divorce, parental conflict andchild adjustment, and concluded that "children from divorcedfamilies whose parents display high levels of conflict showgreater maladjustment than children from divorced families whoseparents display low levels of conflict" (Long & Forehand, 1987,p.295). They recommended that parents be aware that children maybe more likely to experience problems if the parents engage infrequent conflicts in front of the child.Effects of parental conflict, family structure and gender onattitudes towards marriage were studied by Jennings (1990).Three hundred and forty students (273 from intact families and 67from non-intact families) from a large southern university werethe subjects in this study. A major conclusion of the study was1 4that student's views of their own future marriage was impaired byparental dissension. Males had less favorable attitudes tomarriage than did females, and students from intact families hadmore positive marriage attitudes than did those from non-intactfamilies.Hoelter and Harper (1987) also studied the effects of familystructure (which they called family type) on self-concept, butincluded other family variables as well (family size, familysupport, and family conflict). They defined family type astraditional (living with both parents natural or adopted) ornontraditional (all other types of family forms). Data wasobtained from 905 students in grades nine to twelve in an Ohioschool district. Their findings suggested that family supporthad the most influence on the self-esteem of adolescents, whilefamily type had little effect. They explained this finding bysuggesting that family relationships stabilized fairly quicklyafter the change of family membership (Hoelter & Harper, 1987).(As noted earlier self-esteem rather than self-concept may be amore appropriate term since the studies cited above seem to beassessing emotional attitudes to life experiences [Parish &Parish, 19831.)Knaub and Hanna (1984) examined family strengths asperceived by 44 middle-class children in remarried families, andfound that these children "appeared to perceive their families asrelatively high in family strength, especially in theirperceptions of happiness with the remarriage, feeling ofcloseness within the stepfamily and their own sense of selfworth" (Knaub & Hanna, 1984, p.84). They reported that1 5perceptions of happiness may have been linked with age of thechild at the time of remarriage and with knowing the stepparentbefore the marriage (Knaub & Hanna, 1984).Divided loyalties and discipline have been identified asstressers in remarried families (Lutz, 1983; Visher & Visher,1979). In a survey by Lutz (1983), 103 West Virginia adolescentchildren in remarried families responded to questionnaires whichmeasured perceived family stress. Lutz reported that over timestress in remarried families seemed to lessen. She suggested,however, that the findings were hampered by the fact that littleinformation was available on remarried families who have passedthe restructuring stage and have established equilibrium (Lutz,1983). Strothers and Jacob (1984) used the same measure as Lutz(1983) to study stress in remarried families on a sample of 63West Virginia adolescents. They reported that the family stressreported by adolescents in remarried families was not any higherthan that reported by adolescents in nuclear families. Thisstudy did find some stress concerning discipline, and theysuggested that living in a remarried family compounded the normaladolescent need for autonomy (Strother & Jacobs, 1984).Variables in addition to family variables may also beimportant influences on adolescent attitudes. Ganong, Coleman,and Brown (1981) surveyed 321 Kansas high school students todetermine differences in attitudes toward marriage and familylife held by adolescents living in intact, one-parent, andremarried families. They found that family structure made littledifference in these attitudes. This study indicated that genderwas more important than family structure in determining attitudes1 6and perceptions, with females reporting more positive attitudes.Further, it seemed that despite personal experiences, theseadolescents held on to cultural stereotypes regarding marriageand family. This finding suggests that gender is an importantvariable in the investigation of adolescent attitudes.Tamashiro (1979) investigated attitudes towards marriageheld by 162 urban high school students and 83 adults from twoprivate colleges in St. Louis, Missouri, and found thatadolescents were more advanced in personality development than inmarriage concept development. Using Piaget's structuraldevelopmental theories, he suggested that adolescent attitudestowards marriage may be part of the developmental process, andthat until a more mature cognitive level is reached, anadolescent cannot apply his or her own family situation to him orherself. "The topic of marriage may be more threatening toadolescents than other topics, or adolescents may have had lessexperience in thinking about and formulating their ideas onmarriage compared to other topics" (Tamashiro, 1979, p.451).This study suggests that age may also be an important variable indetermining adolescent attitudes.Amato (1988) used data from a 1981 - 1982 AustralianNational Survey to determine if experiencing parental divorceduring childhood affected later adult attitudes towards marriageand family life. Subjects aged 18 to 34 whose parents haddivorced when they were children described living at home morenegatively than did those subjects who came from intact families.However "the respondents from divorced families were, overall,more positive than negative in their recollections" and "more1 7acceptable of alternatives to traditional family forms than otherrespondents" (p.460). They were, however, no more likely to bein favor of divorce than any other adults. Amato suggested thatthese individuals valued family life as other young people did,but were "aware of its limitations and tolerant toward itsalternatives" (p.460). He suggested that once members have hadtime to adjust, one-parent and remarried families may be closeand supportive.Demo and Acock (1988) reviewed the empirical literaturewhich had examined the relationships between divorce, familycomposition and children's well-being. Although much of thisliterature supported the claim that the well-being of children isaffected by family structure, Demo and Acock (1988) cautionedreaders about this conclusion since many of the studies hadmethodological deficiencies (i.e., simplistic classifications offamily structure), had overlooked factors such as income andsocial class, or had used nonrepresentative samples. They agreedwith Raschke and Raschke (1979) that "several variables includingthe level of family conflict, may be central variables mediatingthe effect of family structure on children" (Demo & Acock, 1988,p.619). As well, Ganong and Coleman (1987) caution againstaccepting any "study as timeless because much social data may betime-bound in a particular social-historical context.Researchers and educators should be cautious in relying uponinformation drawn from studies on remarried families conducted adecade ago" (Ganong & Coleman, 1987, p.15).According to the literature reviewed here, there is somedisagreement on the importance of family structure as an1 8influence on adolescent attitudes toward marriage and familylife. The studies reported here suggest that other variablessuch as self-esteem, family conflict, age and gender may also beimportant influences on these adolescent attitudes.Glossary of Terms1. family concept - a person's perception of their family ashappy or unhappy (Parish & Parish, 1983)2. family structure - family membership (i.e., intact, one-parent, remarried)3. intact family or nuclear family - a family unitconsisting of father, mother and one or more children whichhave not experienced separation or divorce4. one-parent family - family unit consisting of one parentand one or more children5. stepfamily or remarried family - a family unit consistingof a father, mother, and one or more children in which atleast one of the adults has been remarried6. perceptions - the process of knowing objects and objec-tive events by means of the senses (Chaplin, 1985, p.330)7. self-concept - an individual's evaluation of self(Chaplin, 1985, p.414)8. self-esteem - the child's emotional attitude towards him-self (Parish & Parish, 1983, p.650)9. stereotype - a rigid biased perception of an object(Chaplin, 1985, p.447)1 9CHAPTER THREEMethodologyThe purpose of this study is to investigate the attitudes ofa sample of Canadian adolescents toward marriage and family lifeand to determine how these are influenced by family structure,perception of family conflict, gender and age. A secondarypurpose is to investigate how the self-esteem of Canadianadolescents is influenced by family structure. The followinghypotheses will be tested:Hypothesis One: Adolescents in nuclear families will havemore positive attitudes towards marriage and family lifethan will adolescents living in one-parent families or inremarried families.Hypothesis Two: Adolescents who have lived in remarriedfamilies 3 years or longer will have more positive attitudestowards marriage and family life than will adolescents whohave lived in remarried families less than 3 years.Hypothesis Three: Adolescents who perceive greater conflict willhave more negative attitudes toward marriage and familylife than will adolescents who perceive less familyconflict.Hypothesis Four: Younger adolescents will have more positiveattitudes toward marriage and family life than will olderadolescents .Hypothesis Five: Females will have a more positive attitudetowards marriage and family life than will males.20Hypothesis Six: Adolescents living in intact families will havehigher self-esteem than will adolescents living in re-married families.SubjectsSubjects for this study were all students between the agesof 13-19 in one high school in a Western Canadian province. Theschool was selected because it had age ranges appropriate for thestudy, because it had a sufficiently large enrolment to meet thepurposes of the study and because of its accessibility (i.e., theinvestigator was a member of the staff). The total populationwas included in the study and was considered necessary to ensuresufficient numbers in each cell for analytical purposes. Of the903 students eligible for the study, 805 completed the researchquestionnaire. Thirteen questionnaires were discarded asunusable. Of these, ten questionnaires were incomplete and threesubjects provided questionable responses (e.g., one grade eightboy indicated he was married with children). Thus there were 792usable questionnaires for the study. This represented 87.7% ofthe population eligible for the study and 98.3% of those whoparticipated in the study. Of the ninety-eight students who didnot participate in the study, 14 did not have parental approvalfor this participation. It is not known why the remaining 84students did not choose to participate in the study.Selection of Research InstrumentsThe literature was reviewed to identify appropriateinstruments for measuring attitudes towards marriage and familylife. The instruments reviewed are listed in Appendix B. Studentattitudes toward family life (Hypotheses One, Two & Three) will21be measured by the Colorado Self-Report Measure of FamilyFunctioning (Bloom, 1985). This instrument measures theperception of family members concerning their family functioning.It has 15 sub-scales with 5 items in each sub-scale and uses afour-choice Likert-type response format. For the purpose of thispaper, only 3 of the sub-scales will be used:1) the Cohesion subscale (Cronbach alpha . .89;average inter-item correlation = .61),2) the Conflict sub-scale (Cronbach alpha . .85;average inter-item correlation = .53), and3) Family Idealization sub-scale (Cronbach alpha ..92;average inter-item correlation . .70).According to Bloom (1985) these sub-scales are correlated buteach may also be treated as an independent measure. Cohesionappears to be the integrating concept in the measure as itcorrelates in a positive direction with Family Idealization andin a negative direction with Conflict (Bloom, 1985). The sub-scales of the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioningselected for this study appear to be appropriate measures astheir focus is on family attitudes. Further, the measure hasbeen tested with adolescents from both intact and disruptedfamilies. It should be noted that these are at best indirectassessments of attitudes. The perspective offered here is thatattitudes are the external manifestation of a perception.Relevant sections from Monitoring the Future (Bachman,Johnson & O'Malley, cited in Thornton, 1989), an instrumentdesigned for adolescents, will be used to assess attitudes towardmarriage, divorce and childlessness (Hypotheses One and Two).22Depending on the particular question, responses vary from athree-point (i.e., yes, no, depends) to a six-point response(i.e., very likely, fairly likely, uncertain, fairly unlikely,very unlikely, already have children). Psychometric propertiesof the instrument were not provided in the Thornton (1989)reference. However, because the Survey Research Center of theUniversity of Michigan has used this measure since 1976 to assessadolescent attitudes towards a variety of topics, it wasconsidered to be a suitable instrument for this study.Self-esteem will be measured using the Self-Esteem Scale(Rosenberg, 1965). This scale consists of ten items, with afour-point Likert scale response (from strongly agree to stronglydisagree). The scale has high reliability with test-retestcorrelations (.85) and had correlations with other similar scalesranging from .56 to .83 (Rosenberg, 1965). The measure seemsappropriate as it was developed for use with high schoolstudents. This measure tests Hypothesis Six.Selected demographic information needed for the purposes ofthis study included age, gender, parent's marital status andparent's educational level. Students were asked to indicatetheir gender and their exact age in years (from 12 to 19).Parents' marital status was indicated by selecting one of sevenalternatives: (1) married, (2) remarried, less than 3 years, (3)remarried, 3 years or more, (4) previously married, now a singleparent, (5) previously married, living with someone, (6) other,and (7) don't know. Students were also to indicate theeducational level of each parent. A copy of the questionnaire isfound in Appendix A.23The questionnaire was pretested on twelve grade eightstudents in another school in the same district where the studywas to be conducted. Grade eight students were selected for thepretest because students at this level would represent theyoungest participants in the study and therefore the most likelyto have difficulty with the language in the questionnaire.Parental permission for participation was granted prior toadministration of the pretest. The purpose of this pretestingwas to: (1) determine the completion time for the questionnaire;and (2) evaluate the clarity of meaning for each question. Basedon the pretest results, minor changes were made to the wording ofa few questions. For example, when several students did not knowthe meaning of gender, the relevant demographic question waschanged to: Are you (1) Male? (2) Female?ProcedureInformal permission to conduct this study was first obtainedfrom the Principal in the school where this study was conductedand the Assistant Superintendent of the School District. Thiswas followed by formal letters of request sent to theSuperintendent and to the Assistant Superintendent of the SchoolDistrict and to the Principal of the school. A copy of thisletter is found in Appendix C. Simultaneously, a letterrequesting permission to undertake this study was sent to theUniversity of British Columbia Ethics Committee.University research protocol requires that parentalpermission be obtained when the research subjects are school-agedchildren. Thus letters were sent to parents of all students inthe school requesting permission to include their children in the24study. In keeping with School District procedure, the DistrictSuperintendent requested that parents respond in writing if theydid not give consent for this participation. This procedure wascontrary to University policy, but following consultation anddiscussion, permission was granted by the University to followthe school district procedure.At the request of the principal of the school, allstudents completed the questionnaire at the same time. The dateof this administration was negotiated with teachers, and a timewas chosen that was convenient to them and when it wasanticipated that most students would be in class. Prior toadministration of the questionnaire, two staff meetings were heldin order for the investigator to instruct teachers on their rolein administrating the questionnaire and to answer any questionsconcerning the study.Questionnaires were packaged in class sizes and labeled withthe teachers' names. A teacher instruction sheet attached to thefront of the package included the names of students who were notparticipating in the survey. Teachers were asked to read aloudthe letter on the front of the questionnaire at the beginning ofthe session as this letter gave students the right not toparticipate in the study. Teachers were requested not to drawattention to any students who did not wish to participate. Allquestionnaires were returned to the investigator within the hourof administration. Students absent during this session wereoffered an opportunity to complete the questionnaire later thesame week. Several students did take advantage of thisopportunity and completed the questionnaire.25Analysis OverviewEach of the thirteen questions from Monitoring the Futureused to assess adolescent attitudes to marriage (Bachman, Johnson6, O'Malley, cited in Thornton, 1989), appeared to be used as anindependent measure. In the interest of parsimony, preliminaryanalysis were undertaken and these questions were subjected to afactor analysis with Varimax rotation producing four factors withEigen values greater than 1. The central theme in Factor 1appeared to be that marriage and family life follow a normativecourse or process that lasts for most of life and includes havingchildren. Factor 1 was named Family Life Course. As the centraltheme in Factor 2 suggests that parenting is a fulfillingexperience, this Factor was named Fulfillment. The central themein Factor 3 reflects the attitude that marriage and family lifeshould follow the traditional role of a legal marriage andloyalty to family and its needs. This Factor was namedTraditional View. Factor 4 was named Lack of Commitment since ithas as it's central theme the attitude that marriage and familylife does not require a commitment and that if things don't workout divorce is an option.The Methods section introduced the hypotheses of the studyin a specific order; this order is altered to facilitatepresentation of the analysis. Hypothesis Two proposed thatadolescents living in the remarried family longer than threeyears would have more positive attitudes to marriage and familylife than would adolescents living in remarried families lessthan three years. Multi-variate analyses of variance (MANOVA)yielded no significant effects with the family attitude26variables. Due to the vastly differing and disproportionate cellsizes for all of the Marriage Attitude variables, multi-variateanalyses could not be conducted. Therefore, Univariate analysesof variance (ANOVA) were conducted instead. The ANOVA resultsfor Marriage Attitude variables as these were influenced by thelength of time in the remarried family, are nonsignificant in allcases but one.As a result of these findings, Parental marital status wasrecoded into three parts: nuclear family, re-formed family, andsingle-parent family. Following this, MANOVA was used to examinethe influence of these marital status categories, gender and ageon Family Attitudes variables and on Self-Esteem, and ANOVAexamined the effect of gender, age and parent's marital status onManage Attitude variables and Self-Esteem. These analysesaddress Hypotheses One, Four, Five and Six. In the concludinganalyses (Hypothesis Three), ANOVAS were used to examine theeffect the adolescent's perception of Family Conflict on Familyand Marriage attitude variables.27CHAPTER FOURResultsDemographicsSeven hundred and ninety-two students responded to thequestionnaire. Of these, eight individuals did not indicateeither gender or age. Thus, the final number of students in thestudy included 424 males and 368 females. The distribution ofage and gender for these students are reported in Table 1.Parent's marital status as reported by students is presented inTable 2.It is interesting to note that although recent U.S.studies indicate high rates of divorce and remarriage (Glick,1984; Greenstein, 1990), 74.3% (nearly 3/4) of the students inthis study reported living in nuclear families. Although thearea in which the school is located includes a military base anda prison, the high percentage of nuclear families found in thisstudy may reflect the stable agricultural background from whichthis community developed. It should be noted, however, that 98students did not participate in the study. No demographicinformation is available for these students, but it is possiblethat at least some of these non-participants came from non-traditional family stuctures and may have considered aquestionnaire about marriage and family too sensitive to answer.If this was the case, their attitudes towards marriage and familylife may be negative, and thus could have altered the results.However, because the entire school wrote the questionnaire at thesame time, it is also possible that the non-participants hadhomework to do, preferred having free time, or were uninterested28in the study.Father's education as reported by students is presented inTable 3, and mother's education as reported by students ispresented in Table 4. It is interesting to note that 20.8% ofthe students did not report or did not know their father'seducation and 15.8% of the students did not report or did notknow their mother's education. Some students seemed to find thisquestion sensitive, as several questionnaires had commentssuggesting that this question should not have been asked.Preliminary AnalysisEach of the thirteen questions from Monitoring the Futureused to assess adolescent attitudes to marriage (Bachman, Johnson& O'Malley, cited in Thornton, 1989) appeared to be used as anindependent measure. In order to be as parsimonious as possible,the questions were submitted to a factor analysis with Varimaxrotation producing four factors with Eigen values greater than 1.The five items in Factor 1 were:5) Which do you think you are most likely to choose in thelong run? (Getting married, Not getting married)4) Do you think that you would prefer to have a mate formost of your life or would you prefer not to have amate?6) If it were up to you what would be the ideal age for youto get married?3) How important is it to you to have a good marriage andfamily life?13) If you did get married, how likely is it that you wouldwant to have children.29As the central theme in this Factor appeared to be that marriageand family life follow a normative course or process that lastsfor most of life and includes having children, Factor 1 was namedFamily Life Course. Low mean scores on this Factor indicate apositive attitude toward marriage and family life following thisnormative course.The items in Factor 2 were:11) Being a father and raising children is one of the mostfulfilling experiences a man can have.12) Being a mother and raising children is one of the mostfulfilling experiences a woman can have.As the central theme in Factor 2 suggests that parenting is afulfilling experience, this Factor was named Fulfillment.The three items in Factor 3 are:7) When there are children in the family, parents shouldstay together even if they don't get along.10) Do you feel almost all married couples who can, ought tohave children?1) Most people will live fuller happier lives if theychoose legal marriage rather than staying single or justliving with someone.The central theme in Factor 3 reflects the attitude that marriageand family life should follow the traditional role of a legalmarriage and loyalty to family and its needs. This factor wasnamed Traditional View.Factor 4 also includes three items:8) Divorce is usually the best solution when a couple can'tseem to work out their marriage problems.302) One sees so few good marriages that one questions it asa way of life.9) If you did get married, how likely do you think it isthat you would stay married to the same person for life.Factor 4 was named Lack of Commitment since it has as it'scentral theme the attitude that marriage and family life does notrequire a commitment and that if things don't work out divorce isan option.AnalysesThe central purpose of this study was to investigate theattitudes of Canadian adolescents towards marriage and familylife and to determine how these were influenced by familystructure, family conflict, gender and age. A secondary purposewas to investigate how the self-esteem of Canadian adolescentswas influenced by family structure and related variables.Although the Methods section introduced the hypotheses of thestudy in a specific order, these hypotheses will be discussed ina different order so that the presentation of the analyses can befacilitated.Missing data varies with most of the analyses. There seemsto be a number of reasons for this. Students did not respond toevery question, and it appears that they had more difficultyanswering questions pertaining to marriage, than to family. Forinstance, response rates for the Perception to Family variablesremained over 700, while Perception to Marriage variables werelower, ranging between 180 to 400. Conclusions drawn from thisstudy suggest that perhaps a developmental issue is making itdifficult for students to have formed definite marriage31attitudes, and thus difficult for them to answer. This will bediscussed later in the paper. As well, missing data alsoincluded cases dropped when all neutral responses were recoded asmissing data. The scoring for most of the measures used wascontinuous, thus neutral responses interfered with this process,and dropping them facilitated statistical analyses.Comparisons of Short Term and Long Term Remarriages'Time' to establish bonding between children and stepparentshas been identified as an important factor influencing therestructuring process in remarried families (Mills, 1984; Visher& Visher, 1979). Mills' (1984) model for stepfamily developmentsuggests a time of 3 - 5 years for the completion of the initialphase of stepfamily formation. For this study three years wasselected as the time period required to complete thisrestructuring, and respondents living in remarried families wereasked to indicate whether they had lived in a remarried familyless than three years or longer than three years. Hypothesis Twoproposed that adolescents living in the remarried family longerthan three years would have more positive attitudes to marriageand family life than would adolescents living in remarriedfamilies less than three years. MANOVA yielded no significanteffect:Cohesion -- [F (1,56)^.900 p < .347]Conflict -- [F (1,56)^.664 p < .418]Family Idealization -- [F (1,56)^.394 p < .533]Due to the vastly differing and disproportionate cellsizes for all of the Marriage Attitude variables, multi-variateanalyses could not be conducted. Therefore, Univariate analysis32of variance (ANOVA) was conducted instead. This pattern isrepeated throughout the hypotheses. The ANOVA results forMarriage Attitude variables as these were influenced by thelength of time in the remarried family, are nonsignificant in allcases but one. The only marriage attitude variable showingsignificance is Lack of Commitment [F (1,39) = 4.60, p < .038],with means of 6.54 for remarried less than 3 years and 5.33 forremarried more than 3 years. The variable Family Life Courseyielded a nonsignificant main effect for remarried status [F(1,48) = .97, p < .3301 and a nonsignificant main effect was alsofound for remarried status on the variable Fulfillment [F (1,52)= 2.23, p < .1401. As well, the variable Traditional View byParent's Remarried Status also yielded a nonsignificant maineffect for remarried status [F (1,17) = .090, p < .767].Overall, these results seem to indicate that for thesesubjects, the length of time which they had lived in a remarriedfamily did not have a great deal of influence on their attitudes,with the possible exception of reducing marital commitment.Comparisons of Gender Age and Marital StatusGiven that all but one variable in Hypothesis Two wasnonsignificant and to be consistent with the family structuresoutlined in Hypothesis One, which addresses the nuclear,remarried and single-parent family, student's seven-part responseto their parent's marital status, from the questionnaire, wasrecoded into three parts: nuclear (which included those marriedless than 3 years as well as those married 3 years and longer),re-formed family (which included remarried families as well asthose people previously married but now living with someone), and33single-parent families.The MANOVA was used to examine the influence of parents'marital status (as described above), gender and age on FamilyAttitudes variables (i.e., Cohesion, Conflict, and FamilyIdealization) and on Self-Esteem.On the questionnaire, students had been asked to indicatetheir actual age in years. This information was recoded intojunior (ages 13 to 15) and senior (ages 16 to 19). Justificationfor recoding this information comes from developmental theory.Tamashiro (1979) used Piaget's theory to develop his MarriageConcepts Theory and assumed: 1) students move through distinctchanges in their thought process; 2) that the stages haveinvariant sequence; 3) that the stages have inner logic; and 4)that the stages are hierarchical. As well, Erikson (1968)suggests that in the early stage of adolescence there is a searchfor trust in oneself and in others, while in the second stageadolescence seek their vocational direction. Gordon (1972)categorized adolescence into two groups: 1) Early adolescence,those ages 12-15 who must deal with a major dilemma ofAcceptance/Achievement, and 2) Later adolescence, those ages 16-20 who must deal with Intimacy/Autonomy as their major dilemma.Since developmental theory suggests differences between early andlater adolescence, and since the population for this studyprovides that opportunity, subjects will be divided into twogroups: younger (junior high school students) and older (seniorhigh school students).The mANOVA revealed a significant multivariate main effectfor Parent's Marital Status on the Cohesion variable [F (2,614)344.967, p < .0071, with a mean of 15.47 for those living innuclear families, 14.53 for those living in re-formed familiesand 14.49 for single parent families. The Student-Newman-KeulsMultiple Comparisons was then conducted to determine between-group significance. This test indicated significance (p < .05)in the predicted direction between those adolescents in nuclearand re-formed families, but not between those adolescents innuclear and single parent families. Thus the analysis of thevariable concerned with perceptions of family cohesion providesonly partial support to Hypothesis One.The variable Family Idealization measured the adolescent'sperception of their families harmony and happiness. Asignificant main effect was found for this variable over theparental marital status variable [F ( 2,614)^11.99, p < .001]with mean of 12.62 for nuclear, 11.14 for the re-formed familyand 10.60 for single-parent families. Multiple comparisons usingthe Student-Newman-Keuls test yielded significant between-groupdifferences (p < .05) with adolescents in nuclear familiesscoring higher than those in re-formed families as well assignificant between-group differences (p < .05) with adolescentsin nuclear families scoring higher than those in single parentfamilies. Results of this analysis supports the hypothesis thatadolescents in nuclear families will have more positive attitudestowards family than those in remarried or single-parent families.As well a significant main effect is found for age (young,old) on the Cohesion variable (F (1,614) 4.68, p < .031, withmeans of 15.22 and 14.97 respectively. This supports HypothesisFour, that younger adolescents will have more positive attitudes35towards family life.Data from this study do not support Hypothesis Six, thatfamily structure influences adolescent's self-esteem [F ( 2,614). .015, p < .9851.All of these main effects are qualified by the 3-wayinteraction between Parent's marital status, and the gender andage of the subjects on the Self-Esteem variable [F (2,614) .4.53, p < .011. This information is graphically presented inFigure 1.Follow-up simple main effect analysis determined that thefocus of this interaction was in the analysis of the re-formedfamily. There are no gender differences for the younger groupbut significant gender differences for the older group [F (1,57)= 7.71, p < .0071. Females did not differ over the age groups(although a downward trend is evident) but there was asignificant difference for males [F (1,48) . 6.14, p < .011.These results indicate that in re-formed families, olderadolescent males score higher on Self-esteem than older females,but this difference doesn't exist in the younger age group.Older males scored higher than younger males, but this differenceis not evident for females. In this study, older adolescentmales in the re-formed family had the highest self-esteem.Of further interest, the effect of educational level of thefather on Self-Esteem yielded a significant main effect forfather's education [F (1,603) = 199.5, p < .010], with means of30.61 and 31.76 for low and high education respectively.Following the pattern indicated above, univariate ANOVASexamined the effects of gender, age and parent's marital status36on the Marriage Attitude variables and Self-Esteem. That is a 2(Gender) x 2 (Age) x 3 (Parental Marital Status) ANOVA wasconducted on each of the variables: Family Life Course,Fulfillment, Traditional View and Lack of Commitment.The first of these analyses on the variable Family LifeCourse yielded a significant main effect for gender [F (1,486) =11.58, p < .0011 with means of 7.77 and 7.16 for males andfemales respectively, as well as a significant main effect forparent's marital status [F (2,486) = 4.63, p <.011 with means of7.33 for nuclear, 8.18 for the re-formed family and 7.64 for thesingle- parent family group. Low cell means for Family LifeCourse indicate positive attitudes towards marriage and familylife. Multiple comparisons yielded significant differencesbetween adolescents in nuclear families and re-formed families (p< .05), but not between adolescents in nuclear and single-parentfamilies. Analyses reveal that in general female adolescentsperceive that marriage and family life follows a predictablecourse.Both of these main effects were qualified by theirinteraction on the Family Life Course variable (presented byFigure 2). The interaction between gender and parent's maritalstatus [F (2,486) = 6.59, p < .002] took the form of higherratings by females than by males in the re-formed family group asuncovered by simple main effect analysis [F (1,58) = 9.47, p <.0031 with means of 9.32 for males and 6.96 for females. Thenuclear and single-parent family were not significant in thisanalysis.Results from the analysis for this variable give some37support to Hypothesis One and Hypothesis Four, that femaleadolescents from nuclear families have the more positive attitudeto marriage and family life. Further analysis indicate thatwithin the re-formed family, females also have the more positiveattitude to this variable than males.The second of these analysis on the variable. Fulfillmentyielded only one significant main effect for the parent's maritalstatus variable [F (2,548)^3.65, p ‹. 03] with means of 6.81,6.32 and 6.48 for the nuclear, re-formed and single-parent groupsrespectively. Multiple comparisons indicated significance (p <.05) between adolescents in nuclear and re-formed families, butnot between adolescents in nuclear and single-parent families.This would seem to indicate that adolescents in re-formedfamilies have a less positive attitude to their future parentingrole than adolescents in nuclear or single-parent families. Datafrom this variable gives partial support to the Hypothesis One.The next analysis on the variable Traditional View yieldedmain effects for all of the factors: gender [F (1,172)^21.56,p < .001] with mean scores of 6.86 and 5.56 for males and femalesrespectively: age [F (1,172)^8.21, p < .005] with means of6.82 and 5.90 for young and old respectively; parent's maritalstatus [F (2,172)^6.54, p < .005], means of 6.42, 5.83, and4.53 for nuclear, re-formed family and single-parent familyrespectively. The Student-Newman-Keuls Procedure indicatedsignificant differences (p < .05) between adolescents in nuclearand single-parent families and between re-formed and single-parent families, but not between nuclear and re-formed families.These main effects were qualified by the interaction between age38and gender [F (1,172) . 4.32, p < .031 as represented in Figure3. The locus of this interaction is higher scores by males thanby females in the younger age group. Further investigationyielded higher scores for younger males than for older males [F(1,98) = 14.92, p < .0001. Analysis on this variable indicatethat younger adolescent males in nuclear and re-formed familieshave the most positive attitude to this traditional view ofmarriage. This gives support to Hypothesis Four but notHypothesis Five.The final analysis on the variable Lack of Commitmentyielded nonsignificant main effects and a 3-way interaction ofmarginal significance (p . .05). Closer inspection of thisinteraction revealed cell sizes of 5 or less on two of the cellsmaking further analysis questionable and any interpretationsuspect.As mentioned, student response rate to the variableTraditional View is low, approximately 25%. It would seem thatabout 75% of students choose the neutral response, which maysuggest that adolescents have not yet formed their own marriageattitudes.In summary, there seem to be reasonable support forHypothesis One that adolescents in nuclear families will havemore positive attitudes towards marriage and family life thanadolescents living in one-parent families or in remarriedfamilies. All variables give at least partial support except theMarriage Attitude variable Lack of Commitment. Youngeradolescents having the more positive attitudes (Hypothesis Four)is supported by the Family Attitude variable Cohesion, and the39Marriage Attitude variable Traditional View. Hypothesis Five(females having the more positive attitudes) is supported by oneMarriage Attitude variables, Family Life Course. ThoughTraditional View shows significance (p. 001), means are in theopposite direction of prediction.Comparisons as a Function of ConflictThe sub-scale Conflict from the Colorado Self-Report Measureof Family Functioning, used as a dependent variable, was recodedinto Low and High Conflict, and used as an independent variableto measure adolescent attitudes to Marriage and Family Life.Significant differences were found for two of the dependentvariables. The univariate F-test yielded the following results:Cohesion, (F (1,600) = 219.66, p < .0011, with means of 16.80 and13.50 for low and high conflict respectively: FamilyIdealization, [F (1,660) = 233.51, p < .001], means of 14.15 forlow conflict and 10.05 for high conflict.Cell means and the Probability level indicate that theadolescent's Perception of Family Conflict influences Perceptionof Family Cohesion and Idealization. This supports HypothesisThree that the greater the perception of family conflict, themore negative the attitude to family life.Following the preceding pattern, ANOVAS were use to examinethe effect of perception of conflict on each of the MarriageAttitude variables. The first of these analyses on the variableFamily Life Course yielded a significant main effect for Conflict[F (1,496) = 5.19, p < .023], with means of 7.29 (low conflict)and 7.72 (high conflict). On this variable a low cell scoreindicates a positive attitude.40The second of these analyses on the variable Fulfillmentyielded a significant main effect for Conflict [F (1,562) .13.11, p < .0001, with mean of 6.93 and 6.46 for low and highconflict respectively. A high cell score for this variableindicated a positive attitude. The results of this analysis arein the predicted direction, that is, the higher the perception ofconflict, the more negative the attitude towards parenting as afulfilling experience.Perception of Conflict had a nonsignificant effect on theadolescent's view of a Traditional marriage and family life[F (1,187) . .003, p < .9601.The final analysis on the variable Lack of Commitmentyielded a significant main effect [F (1,421) . 9.22, p <.003]with means of 6.33 and 6.79 for low and high conflictrespectively. This variable which measures commitment tomarriage with divorce as an option, (a high score means anegative attitude) also supports the hypothesis. Mean scoresindicate that adolescents with a higher perception of conflictwill have less commitment to marriage.The effect of Conflict on adolescent Self-Esteem yielded asignificant main effect for Conflict fF (1,725) = 55.2, p <.0001, means of 32.5 and 29.54 for low and high conflictrespectively, giving support to literature that suggestsperception of Conflict influences the Self-Esteem.In summary, Hypothesis Three (adolescents who have a greaterperception of family conflict will have more negative attitudestowards marriage and family life) is well supported by all of theFamily Attitude variables, by all but one of the Marriage41Attitude variables (Lack of Commitment), and Self-Esteem.Summary by HypothesisHypothesis One suggested that adolescents in nuclearfamilies will have more positive attitudes towards marriage andfamily life than will adolescents living in one parent familiesor in remarried families. The MANOVA revealed a significantmultivariate main effect for Parent's Marital Status on thefamily attitude variable, Cohesion. Multiple Comparisons todetermine between-group significance indicated significance inthe predicted direction between those adolescents in nuclear andre-formed families, but not between those adolescents in nuclearand single-parent families.A significant main effect was found for the family attitudevariable, Family Idealization, over the Parental marital statusvariable. Results of this analysis supports the hypothesis thatadolescents in nuclear families will have more positive attitudestowards family than those in remarried or single-parent families.These main effects are qualifed by the 3-way interaction betweenParent's marital status, and the gender and age of the subjectson the Self-Esteem variable. Follow-up simple main effectanalysis determined that the focus of this interaction was in theanalysis of the re-formed family. In this study, olderadolescent males in the re-formed family had the highest self-esteem.ANOVA analysis for the Marriage Attitude variable FamilyLife Course reveals a significant main effect for Parent'smarital status. Multiple comparisons yielded a significantdifference between adolescents in nuclear families and re-formed42families but not between adolescents in nuclear and single-parentfamilies. An interaction between Gender and Parent's maritalstatus on the Family Life Course variable took the form of higherrating by females than by males in the re-formed family group.The analysis on the marriage attitude variable Fulfillmentyielded one significant main effect for the Parent's maritalstatus variable. Multiple comparisons indicated significancebetween adolescents in nuclear and re-formed families but notbetween adolescents in nuclear and single-parent families. Thenext analysis on the variable Traditional View also yielded asignificant main effect for the Parent's marital status variable.Multiple comparisons indicated significant differences betweenadolescents in nuclear and single-parent families and between re-formed and single-parent families but not between nuclear and re-formed families. The final analysis on the variable Lack ofCommitment yielded nonsignificant main effects.Hypothesis Two predicted that adolescents who had lived inremarried families 3 years or longer would have more positiveattitudes towards marriage and family life than would adolescentswho had lived in remarried families less than 3 years. There wasonly one supporting variable, the Marriage Attitude variable Lackof Commitment.Hypothesis Three suggested that adolescents who have greaterperception of family conflict will have more negative attitudestowards marriage and family. This hypothesis had the support ofall variables except the Marriage Attitude variable TraditionalView.Hypothesis Four, younger adolescents will have more positive43attitudes towards marriage and family life than will olderadolescents, was supported by one Family Attitude variable,Cohesion, and one Marriage Attitude variable, Traditional View.As well an interaction between Age and Gender on the TraditionalView variable indicated that younger males in nuclear and re-formed families have the most positive attitude to this variable.Hypothesis Five suggested that females will have a morepositive attitude towards marriage and family life than willmales. The only support came from the Marriage Attitude variableFamily Life Course.No variables supported Hypothesis Six that adolescentsliving in intact families will have higher self-esteem than willadolescents living in remarried families. However, aninteraction with Parent's marital status, Gender, and Age on theSelf-Esteem variable indicated that in the re-formed family,older adolescent males have higher self-esteem than older femalesand younger males.44CHAPTER 5DiscussionThis study investigated adolescent attitudes towardsmarriage and family life in order to determine how these areinfluenced by family structure, perception of family conflict,gender and age. As well the study investigated how the self-esteem of adolescents is influenced by family structure. Thefollowing family attitudes were included in the study: perceptionof family cohesion, perception of family idealization, perceptionof family conflict. The following marriage attitudes were alsoincluded in the study: family life following a predictablecourse, parenting as a fulfilling experience, a traditional viewof marriage and family life, and lack of commitment to marriageand family life. The study found that family structure andperception of family conflict had more influence on adolescentattitudes than did age and gender. As well, the re-formed familyseemed to be the family structure that influenced self-esteem.The central focus for this study was to determine howadolescent attitudes towards marriage and family life wereinfluenced by family structure (nuclear, re-formed, single-parent). Previous studies have provided contradictory results,with some studies indicating that the effects of divorce andremarriage were negative while others did not report thisfinding. The results of this study suggest that divorce andremarriage may be problematic for adolescents. Hypothesis Onecompared the attitudes of adolescents in nuclear families toadolescents in single-parent and in remarried families (renamedre-formed family to include those couples living together but not45married). Results indicate that all variables except Lack ofCommitment show significant between-group differences and givesome support for this hypothesis. As predicted, adolescents fromnuclear families had the most positive attitudes towards marriageand family life. It was also predicted that adolescents in there-formed family would have more negative attitudes than those inthe nuclear family. This was supported by four of the variables(Cohesion, Family Idealization, Family Life Course, andFulfillment). These findings suggesting that the re-formedfamily is viewed more negatively by adolescents than the nuclearfamily is supported by several studies: Bryan, Coleman, Ganong,and Bryan (1985 & 1986); Fine (1986), and Halperin and Smith(1983). All found that the respondents' perceptions of theremarried family appeared to be more negative than perceptions ofnuclear families. This study would also seem to support Visherand Visher (1979) who suggest that often problems withadolescents (e.g. identity) increase with remarriage,particularly as they are experiencing the developmental need toloosen emotional ties with a family while the parents in a newre-formed family are attempting to develop cohesiveness.Wallerstein & Blakeslee (1989) reported that all adolescentssuffer from divorce and about half enter adulthood "worried,underachieving, self-deprecating and sometimes angry" (p. 299).Results from two variables, Family Idealization and TraditionalView would seem to support this view. In this study, adolescentsfrom single parent families seemed to respond negatively toquestions about family and marriage happiness and harmony as wellas commitment.46The Family Idealization variable gives full support toHypothesis One, which predicted that adolescents in nuclearfamilies would have more positive attitudes than adolescents inboth the re-formed and single-parent families. Data from all thevariables suggest that the nuclear family provides the optimalenvironment for nurturing positive attitudes to marriage andfamily life. One could speculate that the single-parent family,with its reduced economic and social resources (Keith and Finlay,1988) continues to negatively influence adolescent attitudes, andin spite of a greater awareness to the problems with remarriage,the complexity of this life experience seems to increase thepossibility for the adolescent to have negative attitudes.Wallerstein and Blakeslee (1989) suggest that many children andadolescents never recover from the disappointment of the divorceexperience and carry the hurt into the re-formed family, thusmaking it the family structure which carries the greatest stress.The negative attitudes adolescents develop when their parentsexperience divorce and/or remarriage would also lend support toGlenn and Kramer's (1987) study that suggests divorce has atendency to run in families and that these adolescents seem towithhold full commitment to a relationship.No significant differences were found on the variable 'Lackof Commitment'. It may be that adolescents, in spite ofdifferent family structures, are developmentally unable toconsider failure in their future relationships. This will bediscussed later in the paper.The prediction in Hypothesis One that adolescents in thenuclear family would have the most positive attitudes is47generally supported. It would seem, however, that adolescents inthe re-formed family have more negative attitudes to marriage andfamily life than those in single-parent families.Hypothesis Two suggested that adolescents who had lived in are-formed family for three years or more would have a morepositive attitude toward marriage and family life than those whohad lived in a re-formed family less than three years. Nosignificant differences were found on Family Attitude variables,supporting the finding of Lutz (1983) that life in the remarriedfamily may not be as stressful as the literature suggests, andthe findings of Rnaub and Hanna (1984) that children in remarriedfamilies seemed to have a relatively high perception of familystrength and happiness with the remarriage. It may be importantfor future research to further investigate the process ofrestructuring in re-formed families. Although the literature onremarried families stresses the importance of this period, thereis some inconsistency concerning how long it takes the family tocomplete the restructuring process. It is possible that had adifferent 'time' period been chosen for this study differentresults may have been found.The only Marriage attitude variable showing between groupsignificance was Lack of Commitment. Results indicate thatadolescents living in re-formed families less than three years donot appear to have as much commitment to a future relationship,appear to question marriage, and indicate their willingness toconsider divorce as an option when faced with difficult maritalproblems. Amato's (1988) study supports this finding. Hisinvestigation of adult children of divorce suggested that they48had less idealized views of marriage, were more accepting ofdifferent alternatives to traditional family forms, but were nomore likely to favor divorce than other respondents. One couldspeculate that a negative response to this variable is notnecessarily a reflection of a negative attitude to marriage. Ina society where divorce is a common occurrence, it may beimportant for young people to know that there are coping skillsto survive a marriage breakup, that divorce can be bothnormative, for many couples nonpathological and may lead tobetter life situations (Ahrons & Rodgers, 1987).The second major purpose of this study was to investigatethe negative influences on the self-esteem of members in the re-married family. Children's self-esteem was significantly relatedto family structure in Parish and Parish's (1983) study in thatchildren in the re-married households described themselves morenegatively than did children in other family structures. Aswell, Parish and Taylor (1979) found that children in re-marriedand single-parent families reported lower self-esteem thanchildren from intact families. However, this study did notsupport the influence of structure on adolescent's self-esteemeven though a significant correlation (.2870, p = .000) was foundbetween the variables self-esteem and cohesion. Althoughperceptions of Family Idealization indicated that those insingle-parent families are less happy than those in nuclearfamilies, it was not reflected in their assessment of self-esteem. However, in a 3-way interaction between parent's maritalstatus, gender and age on the Self-Esteem variable, it was foundthat in the re-formed family, older males had higher self-esteem49than older females and younger males. This finding of greaterself-esteem for older males may reflect a cultural stereotypethat men are dominant while women are submissive (Belenky,Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule, 1986) and be heightened in thesingle-parent family when the oldest male child takes on many ofthe roles of the absent father (Ahrons & Rodgers, 1987). Theresulting high esteem in the re-formed family may indicate thatthe older male had already developed trust in self by theindependence given to him in the single-parent family (Erikson,1968) and thus the self-esteem is not lowered by the adjustmentsrequired in the re-formed family as suggested in other studies(Visher & Visher, 1979). Further study is needed to investigatethis interpretation. The data from this study seem to indicatethat the only family structure which influences self-esteem isthe re-formed family. This may further the work of Hoelter andHarper (1987). Describing family structure as traditional andnon-traditional, they suggested that family support has moreinfluence on self-esteem then family structure. In this study,by differentiating the non-traditional as single parent andremarried, it may give greater clarification to their research.Perception of Conflict as measured by a sub-scale from theColorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning (Bloom, 1985)seems to be an influential independent variable in this study,emerging as a strong negative influence on adolescent attitudestowards marriage and family life. Both Family Attitude variables(Cohesion and Family Idealization) and three of the four marriageAttitude variables (Family Life Course, Fulfillment, Lack ofCommitment) show significant between group differences. As well,50Perception of Conflict shows a significant between-groupdifference with Self-Esteem.Several studies support the influence of conflict onadolescent development. Raschke and Raschke (1979) found thatfamily structure did not significantly influence children's self-esteem, but children with greater perception of family conflicthad significantly lower self-esteem. Long and Forehand (1987)suggest that the most important mediating variable betweendivorce and child adjustment is conflict and that parentalconflict does not necessarily dissipate with divorce, but may infact increase as divorced parents wrestle with issues such asfinances and visitations. Wallerstein and Kelly (1980) reportthat the most important factor in positive readjustment forchildren after divorce is a loving, stable relationship with bothparents, parents who have dealt with their personal differencesand those who encourage cooperative parenting. This study seemsto give further support to these findings as it indicates thatadolescent family attitudes are influenced by their perception ofthe level of conflict within the family of origin. Erikson(1968) states that adolescents have distinct tasks, and theyounger adolescent must strive for trust in self and others. Instriving for this sense of self, the adolescent begins to doubtthe adult, and this appears to bring about either vocal or silentopposition to parent's guidance (Blos, 1972). Conger (1972)suggests that degree of perception of conflict may be linked toparenting style. Basing his statements on Elder and Bowerman(1964), he suggests adolescents subjected to the democraticparenting style were more likely to find their parent's fair and51reasonable. Democratic practices guided by interested parentsappeared to promote increased adolescent autonomy, and promotedpositive rather than negative identification with the parent.The democratic practice became a good model for adolescentindependence. In contrast autocratic or indifferent parentingstyles do not present models of responsibility or cooperativeindependence, and frequently promote greater conflict andhostility (Conger, 1972).This study seems to indicate that adolescent attitudes areinfluenced by conflict as well as family structure. Thus, onecould speculate that in order to reduce perception of conflictand encourage positive attitudes, it may be important for parentsto be more aware of how their children perceive conflictresolution patterns in the family.Based on the research of Ganong, Coleman and Brown (1981),it was hypothesized that females have a more positive attitude tomarriage and family life than males. The findings provide onlypartial support to this hypothesis. Gender had no significantinfluence on the adolescent family attitude variables and onlypartial influence on marriage attitude variables. Family LifeCourse, the variable that anticipates that the process of findinga partner, getting married, and having children will be a happyone, is the only supporting variable. One could speculate thatthis also reflects a social stereotype that marriage and familyis more important to females while a career holds greaterimportance to males (Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger and Tarule,1986). Further investigation indicates that it is in the re-formed family that females have the more positive attitude to52this variable. It is possible that females do not feel thedisruption in the re-formed family as keenly as males do when astepfather displaces their 'man of the house' position (Visher &Visher, 1979). Also, daughters identify with their mothers(Wallerstein & Blakeslee, 1989) and it is also possible that aremarriage experience would have romanticized the Family LifeCourse attitude. This would give further support to thehypothesis that females have the more positive attitude tomarriage and to Tamashiros's theory (1979) that marriage conceptsare age related. Although significant, Traditional View, thevariable assessing the adolescent's commitment to a long-termlegal relationship, indicates that it is males, not females, thathave the most positive attitude. This was unexpected. It ispossible today's young male is recognizing the possible financialburdens associated with divorce and remarriage (Ahrons & Rodgers,1987) and is viewing with more favor the stability of aTraditional relationship, or if this reflects a developmentalissue. Another factor may have influenced the results of thisvariable, in that one question that was part of the TraditionalView variable asked for a 'yes, no, depends' response.Approximately 75% of the students selected the 'depends'response. Because these neutral responses were omitted in theanalyses, the Traditional View variable is reflecting the viewsof only about 25% of the sample. It is possible that this 25%could have had some distinct characteristics (such as moreyounger students) which might have influenced the findings.Although the review of demographics indicated little differencescompared to the total sample, the possibility of a difference53should not be overlooked.The normal developmental process encourages adolescents tobreak gradually with the family and become independent.Therefore it was hypothesized that younger adolescents would havemore positive attitudes to marriage and family life. This wassupported by the family attitude variable Cohesion. The datareflected that younger adolescents had more positive feelingsabout family togetherness and helpfulness. Because olderadolescents have gained some autonomy or at least are acquiringan independent relationship with their parents and because theircentral focus may be toward a career or life goal (Erikson,1968), the older adolescent may be looking beyond familyrelationships and may be less influenced by them.Traditional View is the only adolescent attitude to marriagevariable that is significantly influenced by age. A furtherinvestigation showed an interaction between gender and age withyounger males in nuclear families having the most positiveattitudes to this variable. Tamashiro's (1979) research may givesome insight into these results. His study examined howadolescents think about marriage and suggests that there are fourage-related stages in acquiring marriage concepts: 1) magical,2) idealized conventional, 3) individualistic, and 4)affirmational. Tamashiro found that adolescents score higher atthe first two stages of marriage concept development and adultsscore higher at the last two stages. Two-thirds of grade tenstudents in his study scored at the Magical stage which ischaracterized by confusion and fantasy-filled ideas ofinterpersonal relationships and global emotions. Tamashiro54suggests that marriage may be a threating topic to adolescents asthey have had less experience forming ideas about it compared toother topics.The research questions associated with the variablesFamily Life Course and Traditional View are similar to a standardfairy tale plot, falling in love, getting married and livinghappily ever after. The other two marriage attitude variablesseemed more factual. They asked students to consider commitmentto marriage, divorce, and having children. Students in thisstudy seemed to respond to Family Life Course and TraditionalView in a manner that compared quite closely to Tamashiro'sdescription of 'Magical'- the standard fairy tale plot. Inaddition this study indicated that young males had the mostpositive attitude to the Tradition View variable. As adolescentmales develop later than adolescent females (Tanner, 1972), thiswould give further support to the finding that males would havethe more 'Magical' attitude to this variable.When comparing the family and the marriage attituderesponses on the questionnaire, it appears that students found iteasier to respond to the family attitude questions. This isapparent in the higher response rate as well as fewer neutralresponses given to the family attitude questions. Low responserates to the marriage attitude questions could indicate thatwhile students felt they had knowledge of family experiences,they did not have similar knowledge of the marriage experience.It may be that children and adolescents (particularly adolescentmales) simply have different attitudes to marriage and to familyand that similar responses to these two experiences should not be55expected. The findings in this study would suggest this andwould support Tamashiro's theory that until a more maturecognitive level is reached, adolescents' cannot apply their ownfamily situation to what may happen in the future.Family structure exerts no independent effect on self-esteem(Hypothesis Six) but interacts with gender to have an effect onboth the younger and the older adolescent. Of interest are theother independent variables that significantly influenced self-esteem: gender, age, educational level of the father andperception of family conflict. This study focused only on howthe self-esteem of adolescents was influenced by familystructure, but the influence of these other variables suggeststhat they should be the focus of further research.Data from the gender variable seem to give support forthe cultural stereotype that males play a dominate role (Belenky,Clinchy, Goldberger and Tarule, 1986). It is unclear whetherthis is a characteristic of this particular sample, reflecting aconservative nature in the community or whether there is someother reason for this finding. Based on developmental theory,and on the literature on divorce and remarriage, there does seemto be a possible explanation for higher self-esteem by oldermales. This study also indicates that although father'seducational level is associated with a high self-esteem, themother's educational level is not. However, the PearsonCorrelation coefficient for mother and father's education is(.5154, p^.000). One could speculate that home environmentswith above average educational levels may be conducive topositive interaction with children, encouragement of their56education, thus fostering positive self-esteem. As the familyenvironment is what is expected to foster either positive ornegative self-esteem, it was expected that perception of conflictwould influence self-esteem.57CHAPTER 6SummaryThe purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudesof Canadian adolescents towards marriage and family life and todetermine how these were influenced by selected variables. Manyimportant changes have occurred in the North American family inthe last 25 years, and it is important to consider how thesechanges may be influencing the next generation. Few studies onthis topic have been carried out with Canadian adolescents, andthus it is anticipated that this study would make a contributionto the understanding of Canadian families.A junior-senior high school in a western province of Canadawas selected for the study. Although the population was aconvenience sample it was considered to be representative of amiddle-class, predominately white, traditionally rural community,but with a growing urban population.Bias could have been introduced into the study in severalways. As the investigator was a counsellor in the school, somestudents may have responded differently than they would have ifthe investigator was unknown. However, there seemed to beexcellent support for the study from all concerned (schooladministration, parents, and students), and the high responserate may be one indication of that support. Inadvertently, thequestions in the family attitude measure remained in their sub-groups on the final questionnaire. Some students may haverecognized the attitude being examined and provided sociallyacceptable responses rather than their own attitudes. Because ofthis possibility, all questionnaires were reviewed but no58apparent pattern of socially desired responses was detected.Several cautions related to methodological procedure and theanalysis should also be noted. The Colorado Self-Report measureof Family Functioning (Bloom, 1985) measures the perception offamily members concerning their family functioning. Theperspective offered here is that attitudes are the externalmanifestation of a perception. Therefore, it should be notedthat the data gathered in this study are at best indirectassessments of attitudes. As well, Bloom (1985) indicated therewas inter-correlation among the Family variables. Since theConflict measure used to analyze Hypothesis Three was one of thesub-groups of the Colorado Self-Report Measure of FamilyFunctioning, interpretation of the results for this hypothesisshould be made with caution.This study indicates that family structure does have aninfluence on adolescent attitudes to marriage and family. Italso suggests that it may be the re-formed family, not thesingle-parent family, that most negatively affects adolescentattitudes. It was anticipated that the restructuring period in are-formed family would be a difficult transitional period foradolescents. However, there was little support for this.Although adolescents in the re-formed family indicate they havemore negative attitudes when compared to other family structures,it would seem that within the re-formed family, the reportedturbulence during this restructuring period does not appear toinfluence these attitudes. More investigation is needed todetermine influences during the restructuring period. A 'time'other than three years may have given different results. As59well, other factors such as the age of the children (Mills, 1984)may influence this restructuring period.In this study, perception of conflict also appeared to be anindependent variable influencing adolescent attitudes to marriageand family life. It would appear that in order to understandadolescent attitude development, as well as the influences onself-esteem, further research investigating sources of theadolescent's perception of conflict would seem to be vital. Offurther interest is that the influences of gender and age seemedto be more closely tied to developmental issues and social valuesrather than to be influencing attitudes of those experiencingdivorce and remarriage.It was of interest to see how students responded differentlyto family and marriage attitude questions. Their experience withfamily and lack of experience with marriage seemed to make iteasier for them to respond to the family attitude questions.As self-esteem has been linked to family structure in anumber of studies, it is interesting to see that the significantlink in this study was with the re-formed family, malesindicating the highest self-esteem. Thus, in this study, thevariables influencing self-esteem seemed to be gender andconflict. It was not the intention of this study to examineself-esteem beyond the influence of family structure.In society with relatively high divorce and remarriage itmay be important to notice that this is another study thatsuggests that family structure and perception of conflict mayhave a negative influence on adolescent attitudes. It may alsobe of interest that in these finding, self-esteem is not60influenced by all family structures but only linked to the re-formed family. However it will take future research to confirmthese findings.BIBLIOGRAPHYAmato, P. R. (1988). Parental divorce and attitudestowards marriage and family life. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 5a, 453-461.Ahrons, C. R., & Rodgers, R. H. (1987). Divorced families:A multidisciplinary view. New York: Norton.Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. EnglewoodCliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B. M., Goldberger, N. R., Tarule,J. M., (1986). Women's ways of knowing. New York:Basic Books, Inc.Blos, P. (1972). The child analyst looks at the youngadolescent. In J. Kagan & R. Coles (Eds.), Twelve to sixteen: Early adolescence (pp.55-72). New York:Norton.Bryan, L. R., Coleman, M., Ganong, L. H., & Bryan, S. H.(1986). Person perception: Family structure as a cuefor stereotyping. Journal of Marriage and the Family,la, 169-174.Bryan, S. H., Ganong, L. H., Coleman, M., & Bryan, L. R.(1985). Counselors' perceptions of stepparents andstepchildren. 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The effects of parentaldivorce and parental conflict on children: An Overview.Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, a,292-296.Lutz, P. (1983). The stepfamily: An adolescentperspective. Family Relations, la, 367-375.Mills, D. M. (1984). A model for step family development.Family Relations, 21, 365-372.Parish, T. S. (1981). Young adult's evaluations ofthemselves and their parents as a function of familystructure and disposition. Journal of Youth andAdolescence, la, 2, 173-178.Parish, J. G., & Parish, T. S. (1983). Children'sself-concepts as related to family structure and familyconcept. Adolescence, la, 21, 649-658.Parish, T. S., & Parish, J. G. (1983). Relationship betweenevaluations of one's self and one's family by childrenfrom intact, reconstituted, and single-parent families.The Journal of Genetic Psycholoory, 143, 293-294.Parish, T. S., & Taylor, J. C. (1979). The impact of divorceand subsequent father absence on children's and adolescents'self-concepts. 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Sequence, tempo, and individualvariation in growth and development of boys and girls agedtwelve to sixteen. In J. Kagan & R. Coles (Eds.). Twelve to sixteen: Early Adolescence (pp.1 -24). New York:Norton. W.W. Norton.Thornton, A., (1989). Changing attitudes toward familyissues in the united states. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 5a, 873-893.66Visher, E. M., & Visher, J. S. (1979). Step-families: Aauide to workina with stepparents and stepchildren. NewYork: Brunner/Mazel.Wallerstein, J. S., & Blakeslee, S. (1989). Second chances.New York, Ticknor & Fields.Wallerstein, J. S., & Kelly, J. B. (1974). The effects ofparental divorce: The adolescent experience. In AnthonyE, Koupernik C. (Ed.), The Child and His Family, Vol. 3,(pp.479-505). New York, Wiley.Wallerstein, J. S., & Kelly, J. B.(1980). California'schildren of divorce. Psycholoay Today, 11 (8), 66-76.White, J. M. (1990, Summer) 1 in 3 divorce statistic iswrong [Letter to the editor]. B.C. Council for the Family, p.3, 23.6768Table 1Age and Gender of SubjectsGenderAge Male Female Total*13 38 52 9014 59 57 11615 71 58 13016 110 84 19417 84 83 16718 54 31 8519 7 3 10Total 424 368 792 *No response = 869Table 2Marital Status of ParentsGroup^ N*Married^ 586Remarried less than 3 years^ 25Remarried more than 3 years 48Previously married, now a single parent^ 64Previously married, living with someone 27Other^ 34Don't Know 4Total^ 788* No response . 1270Table 3Educational Level of FatherGroup^ NSome high school 159 19.9Finished grade 12 144 18.0Some college or trade training 196 24.5Bachelors Degree 52 6.8Masters Degree or more 83 10.4Don't know 131 16.4Missing 35 4.471Table 4Educational Level of MotherGroup^ N^%Some high school 117 14.5Finished grade 12 209 26.2Some college or trade training 242 30.1Bachelors Degree 76 9.5Masters Degree or more 29 3.6Don't know 101 12.6Missing 26 3.2Figure 1Self-Esteem as a Function of Parental MaritalStatus, Age, and Gender33Nuclear^FamilyEat32ee31m 30 Legend29 MaleFemaleYoung^OldReformed Family72EStaem33323130 Legend 29 MaleFemaleYoung^Old33Single-Parent^FamilyESt32ee31Legendm 30 Male29 FemaleYoung^OldFigure 2Family Life Course as a Function of Parental MaritalStatus and Gender7310Fami1 9YLif^8eCoU^7rSe61^ 2^ 3Parent's Marital StatusLegendMaleFemaleFigure 3Traditional View as a Function of Age and Gender8Traditi 7ona15Young^ OldLegendMaleFemale74APPENDIX ADateDear Students,I am a counsellor in this school, and I am completingmy Masters programme in Family Studies at the University ofBritish Columbia. As part of this program I am required tocomplete a research thesis. Chilliwack has been chosen asthe district where this study will take place.The purpose of the study is to identify adolescentattitudes toward marriage and family life and to determinehow these are related to selected personal and familyvariables. It is anticipated that this study will make animportant contribution to the Canadian literature aboutadolescents and families and will provide useful informationfor those who work with Canadian adolescents in theeducational setting.In the research questionnaire, you will be asked toprovide some information about yourself and your family,your views about yourself and your family, and yourexpectations toward your own future family.The questionnaire will take about 20 minutes tocomplete. Participation is this study is voluntary, and youhave the right to refuse to participate or to withdraw atany time, and this will have no bearing on your standing inthis class. If, however, the questionnaire is completed, itwill be assumed that your consent has been given.Individuals will not be identified in any way and allinformation will be kept completely confidential.Thank you for participating in this study.J. Cyrull7576ATTITUDES TOWARDS MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LIFEThis questionnaire asks about your views and expectationsregarding marriage and family life. Please answer each questionby circling the best response for each item.SECTION I: THIS SECTION ASKS FOR INFORMATION ABOUT YOU ANDYOUR FAMILY. PLEASE CIRCLE YOUR RESPONSE.1. What is your gender? (1) male (2) female2. How old are you? (1) 12^(2) 13^(3) 14^(4) 15(5) 16^(6) 17^(7) 18^(8) 19^(9) other3. Are the parents you live with:(1) married ?(2) remarried (less than 3 years)?(3) remarried (3 years or more)?(4) previously married, now living alone?(5) previously married, living with someone?(6) other(7) don't know4. Is the mother you live with:(1) your biological mother?(2) your step-mother?(3) your adopted mother?(4) other5. Is the father you live with:(1) your biological father?(2) your step-father?(3) your adopted father?(4) other6. What is your father's highest level of education?(1) Some high school(2) Finished grade 12(3) Had some college or trade training(4) Bachelors Degree(5) Masters Degree or more(6) Don't know7. What is your mother's highest level of education?(1) some high school(2) Finished grade 12(3) Had some college of trade training(4) Bachelors Degree(5) Masters Degree or more(6) Don't know77SECTION II: THIS SECTION ASKS ABOUT YOUR VIEWS ON YOUR PRESENTFAMILY. PLEASE CIRCLE THE RESPONSE WHICH BEST REFLECTS YOURVIEWS. FOR QUESTIONS IN THIS SECTION, PLEASE USE THE FOLLOWINGRESPONSE CODE.(1) Very true for my family(2) Fairly true for my family(3) Fairly untrue for my family(4) Very untrue for my family[Cohesion]8. Family members really help and support one another.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)9. There is a feeling of togetherness in our family.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)10. Our family do not do things together.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)11. Our family really get along well with each other.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)12. Family members seem to avoid contact with each otherwhen at home.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)[Conflict]13. We fight a lot in our family.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)14. Family members sometimes get so angry they throw things.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)15. Family members hardly ever lose their tempers.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)16. Family members sometimes hit each other.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)17. Family members rarely criticize each other.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)[Family Idealization]18. I don't think any family can live together with greaterharmony than my family.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)7819. I don't think anyone could possibly be happier than myfamily and I when we are together.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)20. my family has all the qualities I've always wanted in afamily.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)21. Our family is as well adjusted as any family inthis world could be.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)22. my family could be happier than it is.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)SECTION III: THIS SECTION ASKS FOR YOUR VIEWS ABOUT YOURSELF.PLEASE CIRCLE THE RESPONSE WHICH BEST REFLECTS YOUR VIEWS. FORQUESTIONS IN THIS SECTION, PLEASE USE THE FOLLOWING RESPONSECODE.(1) I strongly agree(2) I agree(3) I disagree(4) I strongly disagree23. I feel that I'm a person of worth, at least on an equalbasis with others.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)24. I feel that I have a number of good qualities.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)25. All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)26. I am able to do things as well as most other people.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)27. I feel I do not have much to be proud of.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)28. I take a positive attitude toward myself.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)29. On the whole, I am satisfied with myself.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)30. I wish I could have more respect for myself.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)31. I certainly feel useless at times.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)7932. At times I think I am no good at all.(1)^(2)^(3)^(4)SECTION IV: THIS SECTION ASKS ABOUT YOUR EXPECTATIONS CONCERNINGYOUR FUTURE FAMILY. PLEASE CIRCLE THE RESPONSE WHICH BESTREFLECTS YOUR EXPECTATIONS.33. Most people will live fuller happier lives if theychoose legal marriage rather than staying single orjust living with someone.(1) disagree^(4) mostly agree(2) mostly disagree^(5) agree(3) neither34. One sees so few good marriages that one questions it asa way of life.(1) disagree^(4) mostly agree(2) mostly disagree^(5) agree(3) neither35. How important is it to you to have a good marriage andfamily life?(1) extremely important^(3) somewhat important(2) quite important^(4) not important36. Do you think that you would prefer to have a mate forfor most of your life or would you prefer not to have amate?(1) Definitely prefer to have a mate(2) Probably prefer to have a mate(3) Not sure(4) Probably prefer not to have a mate(5) Definitely prefer not to have a mate37. Which do you think you are most likely to choose in thelong run?(1) Getting married^(3) Not getting married(2) I have no idea (4) Am already married38. If it were up to you what would be the ideal age for youto get married?(1) Before 20 (4) 25-30(2) 20-25 (5) 30+(3) 25-30 (6) Not marry39. when there are children in the family, parents shouldstay together even if they don't get along.(1) strongly agree^(4) disagree(2) agree^(5) strongly disagree(3) don't know40. Divorce is usually the best solution when a couplecan't seem to work out their marriage problems.(1) strongly agree^(4) disagree(2) agree^(5) strongly disagree(3) don't know41. If you did get married, how likely do you think it isthat you would stay married to the same person for life?(1) Very likely^(4) Fairly unlikely(2) Fairly likely (5) Very unlikely(3) Uncertain42. Do you feel almost all married couples who can, oughtto have children?(1) Yes(2) No(3) Depends43. Being a father and raising children is one of themost fulfilling experiences a man can have.(1) Disagree^(4) Mostly agree(2) Mostly disagree^(5) Agree(3) Neither44. Being a mother and raising children is one of themost fulfilling experiences a woman can have.(1) Disagree^(4) Mostly agree(2) Mostly disagree^(5) Agree(3) Neither45. If you did get married, how likely is it that you wouldwant to have children?(1) Very likely^(4) Fairly unlikely(2) Fairly likely (5) Very unlikely(3) Uncertain (6) Already have children80APPENDIX B: INSTRUMENTS REVIEWED FOR STUDYAttitude toward Marriage Scale. (R. J. Hill, 1951). InAttitude toward Marriage Scale. Unpublished manuscript,Stanford University. [Cited in Ganong, L., Coleman, M., &Brown, G. (1981). Effect of family structure on maritalattitudes of adolescents. Adolescence, 16, 62, 281-288.Child -Parent Relationship Scale. (G. E. Swanson, 1950).The development of an instrument for rating child-parentrelationships. Social Forces, 29, 84-90.Colorado Self -Report Measure of Family Functioning.(B. L. Bloom, 1985). A factor analysis of self-reportmeasures of family functioning. Family Process, 24,225-239.Conflict Tactics Scales (CT). (M. A. Straus, 1979).Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence: The conflicttactics scales. Journal of Marriage and the Family, Feb.,75-88.Familial Specificity -Diffuseness. (L. Podell, 1967).Occupational and familial role-expectations. Journal ofMarriage and the Family, 29, 492-493.Familism Scale. (P. L. Heller, 1970). Familism scale ameasure of family solidarity. Journal of Marriage and theFamily, Feb., 73-80.Family Attitude Measure. (P. R. Amato, 1988). Parentaldivorce and attitudes towards marriage and family life.Journal of Marriage and the Family, 50, 453-461.Marriage Role Expectation Inventory. (M. S. Dunn,1960). Marriage role expectations of adolescents.Marriage and Family Living, May, 99-110.Monitoring the Future. (A. Thornton, 1989). Changingattitudes towards family issues in the United States.Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, 873-893.Romantic Love Complex. (C.B. Spaulding, 1970). Theromantic love complex in american culture. Sociologyand Social Research, 55, 82-100.Self -Esteem Scale. (M. Rosenberg, 1962). Society andthe Adolescent Self-Image. New Jersey: PrincetonUniversity Press.Self -Report Family Inventory. (W. R. Beavers, R. B.Hampson, & Y. F. Hulgus, 1985). Commentary: The81beavers systems approach to family assessment. FamilyProcess, 24, 398-405.Untitled instrument on Orientations of college girlstowards feminine role behavior. (K. Kammeyer, 1967).Sibling position and the feminine role. Journal ofMarriage and the Family, 29, 494-499.Untitled instrument on adolescent's perception ofconflict. (M. J. Martin, W. R. Schumm, M. A. Bugaighis,A. P. Jurich, & S. R. Bollman, 1987). Family violenceand adolescents' perception of outcomes of familyconflict. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 49,165-171.Untitled instrument on Conflict and Family Structure.(H. J. Raschke, V. J. Raschke, 1979). Family conflictand children's self-concepts: A comparison of intactand single-parent families. Journal of Marriage and theFamily, May, 367-375.Untitled instrument on Family Images. (W. L. Slocum,& C. L. Stone, 1959). A method for measuring familyimages held by teen-ages. Marriage and Family Living,Aug., 245-250.82APPENDIX CDateI am a counsellor at Sardis Secondary School,completing my Master of Arts degree in Family Studies at theUniversity of British Columbia. One of the requirements ofthis degree is the completion of a research thesis. Thepurpose of this letter is to request your permission tocarry out my thesis study at Sardis Secondary School.The purpose of my thesis is to investigate theattitudes of Canadian adolescents towards marriage andfamily life and to determine how these are related toselected personal and family variables (age, gender,conflict). Since most similar studies have been carried outin United States, it is anticipated this study will make animportant contribution to the Canadian literature aboutadolescents and families and will provide useful informationfor those who work with Canadian adolescents in theeducational setting.I would like to include all students in SardisSecondary School in my study. However, letters will be sentto parents, requesting permission to include their childrenin the study, and parents will have the right to refuse toallow a child to participate. As well, students will havethe right to refuse to participate in the study, and thisrefusal will in no way affect their standing in the school.If the student completes the questionnaire, however, it willbe assumed that their consent has been given to participatein the study. Permission to conduct this study has been83submitted simultaneously for approval to the University ofBritish Columbia Human Subjects Research Ethics Committee.A copy of their approval will be forwarded to you as soon asit is received.A copy of the questionnaire to be used in my study isattached. It should take students approximately 20 minutesto complete this instrument. These would be administered inall English classes either by the classroom teacher or bymyself, at a time to be determined in consultation with theschool principal. Students absent at the time of writingwill be given an opportunity to participate in the study ata later date. Responses of individuals will not beidentified in any way, and all responses will be keptconfidential.If you have questions regarding this study, I would bepleased to meet with you to discuss these questions. Thankyou for your consideration of my request.Yours truly,Jean Cvrull84umbia


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