Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)


School of Social Work

Degree Name



This study was concerned with twenty-one cases seen by Family Ser vice of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Cincinnati, Ohio during 1952 and 1953 around the problem of parent-child relationships, in an effort (l) to determine what the parental attitude was toward the child presenting the behavior problem, (2) to determine how this attitude affected the child and his development, and (3) to examine all available family back ground material in an attempt to determine the existence of common fac tors. Interest in this study developed as a result of a series of seminars held in the agency concerning direct treatment of children, and because the writer had in her case load an instance of damaged parent-child rela tionships. It was deemed significant because it is recognized that healthy parent-child relationships are important in the development of a child's personality and because a relatively large number of the cases handled by this agency involved problems in parent-child relationships.

Only twelve cases involving children in the latency period - between six and twelve years of age - were included in the study. Because in each of the cases the mother initiated contact with the agency, the material relating to the parent concerned the mother only. Data were secured from the case records in the agency. A check was made of all intake interviews for 1952 and 1953 to determine how many cases were accepted by the agency for continued service. Cases that were closed before being assigned to a continuing worker were eliminated. The cases were read and if the client did not continue contact long enough for the worker to evaluate the ser vices rendered, that case was eliminated. After this examination of cases, there were twenty-one which fell within the area of interest. Because this was such a small number, it was felt that it would be best to include the entire group.

Data were compiled on schedules formulated by the writer. Literature pertaining to parent-child relationships and to the latency period was read to give background information for the study.

In the light of the purposes mentioned, the following general conclu sions were reached:

1. The majority of the twenty-one children studied manifested dis turbances of social behavior, although there were some instances of physiological disorders.

2. The mothers, in general, had given some consideration as to fac tors contributing to the problems of their children, but only eight of them saw themselves as being involved in the genesis of the problem.

3. The mothers, in general, felt that their marital adjustment was not too satisfactory and this factor possibly influenced their feelings toward their children.

4. In all but three of the cases, the mothers felt that their own family relationships had been unsatisfactory and had left them emotionally deprived.

5. Seventeen of the mothers showed adverse attitudes toward their children. In fourteen of the seventeen cases, the mothers had not worked out their own dependency needs and this possibly af fected their ability to help their children grow to maturity satisfactorily.

6. An examination of the cases revealed that a specific attitude of a mother toward her child did not seem to foster a specific behavior problem

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