Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Children of divorced parents -- Education; Single-parent families -- United States;


This study was designed to determine if there is a significant difference in selected behaviors of children from divorced/separated families in the parochial school system as compared with children of intact families within the same school system. The relationship was examined by taking into consideration the child's self evaluation of his/her home, school, and peer relationships and teacher's evaluation of school related behavior. Four parochial elementary schools with relatively equal economic status were selected from the metropolitan area of a large mid-western city. Subjects included four hundred eighty-three fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students and their respective homeroom teachers. Sixty-three of these students were from divorced or separated families. The remaining four hundred twenty students were from two parent families including natural parent families, remarried parents, which could include step or an adoptive parent, and conceivably some unidentified adoptive parents. Data were collected during the months of January through March, 1983. Two subscales from the Brown and Hammill Behavior Rating Profile (BRP), the Student Rating Scale (SRS) and Teacher Rating Scale (TRS), were used to generate data for this investigation. The 60-item SRS, assessing home, school, and peer-related behaviors, was administered to all student participants. School and peer-related behavior of these students was assessed by their respective homeroom teachers through administration of the 30-item TRS. All data were coded for computer analysis by school, grade, sex and family structure. Raw scores were converted to standard scores for analysis purpose. For each scale score, means and standard deviations were obtained by grade level. One way analysis of variance with correction for unequal group size was utilized to test for significant differences between divorced/separated and intact students. Findings of the investigation indicated some significant differences were found in behaviors of students from divorced/separated and intact families. Mean scores for the divorced/separated group were all lower in home, school, peer, and teacher-rated behaviors than those from the intact group; however, no statistically significant difference was found between the groups in home and school-rated behaviors. Therefore, the general hypothesis that there would be no significant difference between children of divorced/separated and intact families was rejected. Based on the results of this study it was concluded that children from divorced/separated and intact families perceived their home and school behavior with relative sameness, while reporting significant difference in peer-related behavior. Teacher assessments indicated significant differences between the groups both in school and in peer behavior. Future research efforts should be designed to investigate and describe more fully special needs of children from divorced/separated families. It was recommended, also, that teacher inservice programs, specific to developmental and psychological issues of the single-parent child, be incorporated early in the school calendar year to support this segment of the school population.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of School Administration and Personnel Services

First Advisor

Robert L. Frank

Second Advisor

Audrey L. Smith

Third Advisor

Robert J. Krawjewski


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