Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Allan Berman


The process by which children develop internal models of the self and others has been an area of much theoretical interest. This study explored the influence of parental affective and verbal socialization messages as well as children's own mastery experiences on the child's emerging internal models of self and significant others. The goals of the study were to replicate the association between parental control style and child compliance as reported in the child development literature and to examine the relationship between child compliance and child self-concept. The sample studied consisted of 46 children and their mothers who participated in a larger longitudinal study of infant temperament involving assessments at infancy, 2 ½ years and 5 years of age. Child compliance scores were coded from a mother/child clean-up task at 2 ½ and 5 years. Maternal control scores were coded from a mother/child problem-solving task at 2 ½ years and from the clean-up task at 2 ½ and 5 years. The child self-concept scores were coded from a self-concept interview at 5 years. Bivariate correlations demonstrated some support for the distinction between child committed and situational compliance as discussed in Kochanska's (1995) work on child internalization and compliance. Support is similarly provided for the association between more committed forms of child compliance and more supportive, less controlling parenting styles. In the area of child self-concept, an association was demonstrated between children who display committed compliance and children who identified themselves as demonstrating more self-control, suggesting support for future exploration into the role of child temperament as a potential mediating variable.



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