Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


A model of parental functioning was formulated to integrate the disparate findings from research in child development, child abuse, social support and parenting. The conceptual model, based on family systems theory, interrelated parental Psychological Resources, Social and Financial Support, and Parenting Style with the outcome variable, Family Adjustment. The use of LISREL enabled the evaluation of the measurement and structural qualities of the potential model.;Seventy Ontario families participated by completing survey packages, either in response to solicitation through a school board in a small city, or to newspaper advertisements in a larger city. Seventy children between the ages of eleven and sixteen years participated, along with 68 mothers and 38 fathers. The families had an average of 2.7 children and an average annual income of {dollar}38,000. No differences in the data were attributed to source (smaller versus larger city) or sex of parents.;Using LISREL, the model was revised with the mothers' data. Measures of variables that reflected poor distributions, frequent missing data, or insignificant contributions to the model were excluded. In the revised model, the structural analyses yielded a significant relationship between Psychological Resources and Family Adjustment. Social Support and Parenting Style also related significantly to Psychological Resources. The revised model was replicated with the fathers' data except that the relationship between Parenting Style and Psychological Resources was no longer upheld. The overall fit indices of the model for both the mothers and the fathers' data were acceptable.;The Psychological Resources variable was of central importance since it had the sole direct relationship with Family Adjustment. Implications are that interventions should focus on parental Psychological Resources. Future research is required on the sex differences in Parenting Style, on the causal relationship among the variables, and on the generalizability of the model.



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