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Parents’ beliefs, attitudes, and values and their relationship to the home environments provided for developmentally delayed infants involved in a home-based intervention program Tolleson, Barbara Lynn Martin

Abstract

The home environment has been shown to be of critical importance for optimal child development, particularly for infants demonstrating developmental delays with or without organic cause. Successful intervention programs for these children have been linked to parent involvement and to concomitant changes in the home environment. Little research, however, has concerned itself with parental beliefs, attitudes and values which may be reflected in the kinds of home environments provided for these delayed children. The present study, therefore, provides an initial investigation into several of these parental factors as they relate to the child's early environment. Fifty-nine families involved in a home-based intervention program for developmentally delayed infants were visited. Home environments were assessed by means of the HOME, a statistically reliable scale developed by Bettye Caldwell (1972) to measure important aspects of the quantity and quality of social, emotional, and cognitive support available to the young child within the home. Parents of these families were asked to complete a questionnaire containing various belief, attitude, and value scales. Parental beliefs, attitudes and values were found to significantly relate to the kinds of home environments experienced by the developmentally delayed infants in the Program sample. In general, parents providing the most optimal home environments were those who believed in their ability to influence their children's development, felt a personal sense of responsibility towards that development, accepted their children for who they were and felt warmly towards them, and who endorsed such relational values as family security and loving. Results were more striking for mothers than for fathers, perhaps due in part to their greater involvement with Program staff and activities. Further research is needed in order to clarify the complex relationship observed between Program impact and these various parental beliefs, attitudes, and values.

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