Parent-Child Interaction and Children's Self-Concept

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Capstone

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Joe Dodds

First Committee Member

Howard J. Markman

Second Committee Member

Janette B. Benson


Communication in families ; Problem-based learning ; Self-perception in children


This study is designed to investigate the relationships between marital communication, the quality of parents' ability to assist their children in joint problem-solving, and children's independent mastery attempts and perceived competence at problem-solving, and behavioral indicators of self-esteem. Couples' skill at regulating their own and their children's negative affect within the marital and parent-child family subsystems is hypothesized to predict the quality of their assistance, or scaffolding behavior, to their children during joint problem-solving. Further, the quality of parental scaffolding behavior is expected to predict children's independent mastery attempts, levels of perceived competence at problemsolving, and behavioral indicators of self-esteem. Families for the study will be those with children between 3 1/2 to six years of age recruited from subjects participating in a longitudinal study of communication in marriage being conducted at the Denver Center for Marital and Family Studies. Families will participate in three interaction tasks designed to tap parental scaffolding behavior during problemsolving with their children. Children will be administered self-report measures to tap their perceived competence at such problem-solving as those in the interaction tasks and parents will complete a questionnaire tapping the behavioral indicators of their child's self-esteem. Family interaction data will be coded with the use of a microanalytic coding system developed by this study, the Parent-Child Interaction Coding System. Marital communication data at three time points, premaritally, during the transition to parenthood , and concurrently, will be obtained from couples' interactions from the longitudinal study. The clinical significance of this study includes implications for training couples how to effectively regulate negative affect and offer their children sensitive assistance during joint problem-solving.


Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


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