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VI. GENERAL SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS In this investigation an attempt was made to determine the attitudes of mothers attending study groups toward the fifty behavior problems rated by Wickman's teachers and clinicians. The effect of instruction was measured by giving the test at the beginning of the first and at the end of the last meeting. This is the first of the many studies inspired by Wickman's report that has adequately controlled the age and sex of the child considered and the cultural background of the rater. The analysis of nearly five thousand forms obtained from a fairly representative sampling of the city and rural mothers who attended the free study groups taught both by child development specialists and by local leaders throws needed light upon the strength and consistency of these women's opinions and prejudices. Although the actual amount of child psychology learned under these conditions cannot be compared with that learned under regular classroom conditions, there is unmistakable evidence that trained leaders succeeded in imparting to even the less privileged mothers many established principles of training , development, and mental hygiene. This fact in itself is valuable to all persons interested in the improvement and expansion of parent education. The specific findings of the analysis were grouped under a number of general headings. These are summarized briefly as follows: CHARACTERISTICS OF MOTHERS 1. These data represent the opinions of a group of women who were somewhat superior to the general population in education and socio-economic status, but very similar to the usual study group members. 2. There was a direct relationship between the age of the child considered and the age of the mother taking the test. This results from the fact that mothers tended to elect study courses dealing with children of the same age as their own. Mothers of preschool children naturally tended to be younger than mothers of adolescents. 3. Women with little education and those from the lower 84 GENERAL SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 85 occupations tended to have more children than those of superior background. 4. There were well denned differences between the women who took the test at the first meeting only, at the last meeting only, and at both meetings. It is probable that the two latter groups were somewhat superior in cultural background to the women whose attendance fell off after the first meeting. 5. These differences were also found in the number of meetings attended. Mothers who took the test twice were present at the greatest number of meetings. Women who enrolled late but were present at the last meeting attended nearly as many meetings as those who took the test twice. Those who filled out the first form but not the second had a much poorer attendance . From the data at hand it is impossible to determine the extent to which differences of opinion in these groups may have resulted from the amount of instruction received or from the initial superiority of the members. 6. It seems reasonable, however, that the close correspondence of opinion between women taking the test at the close of a period of instruction, regardless of whether they took the test at the beginning of the period, should be taken as evidence that their opinions were influenced by the subject matter taught. 7. There were certain well defined differences in age, number of children, and cultural advantages between city and rural women. CHARACTERISTICS OF OPINIONS 1. Problems were considered more serious in children of 9 and 15 than in children of 5. 2. Most problems were considered somewhat more serious in girls than in boys. 3. Nearly all problems were rated as less serious after the mothers had received instruction. This change, however, did not appreciably affect the actual rank-order of seriousness of the traits. 4. Attitudes toward problems in children of 9 and of 15 were more fixed than those toward similar problems in children of 5. 5. There was more agreement among the various groups in regard to problems occurring in young children than in older children. 6. Mothers agreed very closely with each other concerning 86 PARENT EDUCATION the most and the least serious traits, irrespective of the age and sex of the child considered. 7. Mothers with little education were most likely to consider problems as very serious before instruction. These mothers also changed their opinions more after instruction than did mothers with more education. ATTITUDES TOWARD VARIOUS TRAITS 1. Both before and after instruction parents were...


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