Description: Different family structures and levels of parental and financial stress were investigated in relation to children's overtly expressed fears, and secondarily, covertly measured fears and concerns. The family structures consisted of divorced and remarried families divided into those divorced less than two years and those divorced greater than two years. Intact families were used as the control group. One-hundred-twenty-one children from six to eleven years of age and their biological mothers from a semirural, southwestern town comprised the sample. The children were administered five instruments assessing overt fears, covert fears/concerns, and positiveness in family relationships. Mothers were given eight self-report measures which included a questionnaire, a report of their child's overt fears, and an indication of the positiveness in family relationships. Results indicated that the children of divorced, single mothers tended to report greater overt fears than remarried and intact families. Indications of covert fears of death and separation were also suggested. This was especially true for those single mothers divorced less than two years. Children of intact families did not generally differ from remarried groups although there were implications that remarriage too soon after divorce may impact covert fears as well as positive feelings toward the stepfather. Children of mothers reporting high levels of stress reported greater levels of overt fears than children of low stress mothers. Financial stress for mothers appeared to have greater implications for children's overt and covert fears than did parental stress. In contrast to the children of mothers reporting high levels of stress, mothers who reported low levels of stress tended to have children who reported fewer overt fears but greater covert fears and concerns. Recommendations for future research including adding parental measures to assess the coping styles as well as the effectiveness of such coping with divorce and remarriage, using different measures of ...
Date: May 1989
Creator: Pickard, David C.
Item Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Partner: UNT Libraries