The Development of Structural Complexity in the Child's Concept of Family: The Effect of Cognitive Stage, Sex, and Intactness of Family
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Twenty-eight boys and 28 girls at each of the Piagetian preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational cognitive stages were given an interview focusing on their concepts of family. Half of each group were from intact families, and half were from divorced families. Interviews were scored for two structural aspects of the concept of family: conceptual level, and use of dimensions that structure the concept. The complexity of children's concepts was strongly related to cognitive stage and, to a lesser degree, to sex. Frequency of use of concept dimensions was strongly affected by general developmental level, though not specifically cognitive stage, and by intactness of family, but to a lesser degree by sex. Specific information is provided on the effect of these factors on perceptions of family composition, parental roles, and breadth of family activities.
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