College course enrollment and its relationship to child-rearing attitudes

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The purpose of this research was to study whether child-rearing attitudes would differ over time in three different classes in the Department of Management, Housing and Family Development, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. These classes were Creative Expression of Young Children (Class I); Human Development I: Infancy Through Middle Childhood (Class II); and Introductory Household Equipment (Class III).

A total of one hundred and twenty-two subjects were given both a pre- and a posttest using the Child-Rearing Attitude Scale developed by Block (1955). Information was gathered on subjects' age, sex, race, year in school, previous child-related courses, education and marital status of parents, and parent's child-rearing behavior.

Using the t-test as the statistical method of analysis, results showed significant differences between pretest and posttest means for each individual class. Statistically significant differences were also found between the pretest and posttest means of Classes I and II and Classes I and III. However, when a correction was made for initial pretest differences, no further increase in mean differences on the posttest were found.

A much higher percentage of subjects in Class I answered “yes” when asked if they had taken any previous child-related courses and reported having taken more of these courses than subjects in either Classes II or III. Results showed that Class I subjects had the lowest mean scores on the Child-Rearing Attitude Scale, which reflects more democratic, rather than authoritarian, child-rearing attributes.