Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Henry B. Biller


The objectives were two-fold: 1) to determine the extent to which current models of parent-child interactions and imaginal activity are an artifact of the level of data analyzed, and 2) to determine to what extent and in what manner interactions with both parents are related to the imaginal activity of young adults. It was anticipated that the study would help illuminate the antecedent conditions that are associated with various patterns of imagining.

The subjects were 229 college students who participated in two group testing sessions. In the first session, subjects completed the 344-item Imaginal Processes Inventory developed by Singer and Antrobus (1970). During the second session, subjects were asked to retrospectively rate their parents' behavior toward them on Schaefer's Children's Report of Parental Behavior Inventory (1965a). Separate 192-item father and mother response forms were administered in counterbalanced order.

The items from both forms of the CR-PBI and from the IPI were separately analyzed using the MAP method of principal components analysis with varimax rotation. The results failed to support the present scoring systems for either inventory. Further, there were significant discrepancies between identified components and current models of both parent-child interactions and imaginal activity. With respect to parent-child interactions, for both the father and the mother, the majority of identified variance was accounted for by three components. In both sets, a bipolar component representing parental support was identified. Beyond this, however, there was little cross-identification between components. For the father, the other major components related to authoritative control and control through love withdrawal, whereas for the mother, they referred to authoritarian control and detached control. With regard to imaginal activity, three major components relating to the qualitative aspects of the imagining experience were identified. These included: the emotional tone of daydreaming, absorption in daydreaming, and prospective daydreaming.

Relationships between the imaginal variables and the parent variables developed from the principal components analyses were examined using Pearson correlations, as well as regression and canonical correlation to assess the multivariate relationships between the sets of data. Results indicated that 1) imaginal activity was related to control exerted by both parents within the context of emotional support, and 2) imaginal activity was more highly associated with the quality of interaction with the opposite-sex parent, particularly with regard to females. Overall, however, the results were not as promising as anticipated; relationships accounted for only a small proportion of the variance and predictive power was not substantially enhanced by the addition of variables to either the independent or dependent variable sets.

The results relating to both the structure of parent-child interactions and imaginal activity and the relationships between these domains are discussed in terms of correspondence to previous findings and implications for future research.



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