Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Child Development and Family Relations


Child Development and Family Relations

First Advisor

Dr. R. C. Smart


This thesis examines the relationship between father perception by pre-adolescent boys and their perception of another non- parental adult authority figure . Reflecting Piaget 's theory that children apply perceived parental behavior patterns to other individuals (assimilation), it was hypothesized that boys ' perceptions of their fat her would be similar to their perceptions of their teacher , a non-parental adult authority figure.

A review of the lit erature established t he relevance of studying personality development through children's reports of perceptions . A review of these studies during the 1960's then led to the for malstatement of the hypothesis.

The subjects were all the fifth- and sixth- grade boys in a suburban parochial school . A modified version of the Children ' s Reports of Parental Behavior Inventory was administered twice in a single session, one form for the father and one form for the teacher . A factor analysis of t he boys ' father and teacher perceptions was performed and compared to test t he similarity in perceptions.

Within limits t he perceptions were similar. Two f act or dimensions were isolated and labeled Demanding and Accepting. They were extracted from intercorrelations for both teacher and father forms of the inventory. Further statistic analyses using subjects ' factor scores revealed certain real differences in boys' perceptions of the two adults . It is suggested that boys live in two distinct contexts as their social horizon begins to emerge. They react in similar but not identical ways t o home and social situations. Research with more refined instruments may be necessary t o account for these. distinctions and how the child perceives them.

The relevance of the findings to three theoretical issues is discussed : Erikson's stage of Industry vs . Inferiority; Piaget's theory of Assimilation; and Kagan's theoretical description of the acquisition of identification.

Some limitations of the study are listed.