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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10484/3792

Title: The effects of encouragement,praise,and discouragement on internally and externally oriented children.
Authors: Anderson, Judith.A
Issue Date: 19-Apr-2012
Abstract: The primary aim of this study was to investigate three types of parent communication—encouragement, praise, and discouragement—with regard to feelings elicited and perceived helpfulness, as reported by fifth-and sixth-grade subjects grouped according to high, medium or low locus of control. Subjects for the study were 37 male and 47 female volunteers. Bialer’s Children’s Locus of Control Scale was used to classify males and females into a high(internal),medium(middle range),or low(external) group. Encouragement, praise and discouragement were operationally defined as those responses receiving total agreement from a panel of experts as representing the Adlerian concepts under investigation. Perceptions were assessed by having subjects listen to an audio-tape, made specifically for this study, portraying parent-child interactions. Three parent responses, representing encouragement, praise and discouragement followed the presentation of each stimulus situation. Subjects rated each response: (a) on selected scales of the Semantic Differential measuring Evaluative and Potency dimensions, and (b) on a Likert scale measuring the degree of perceived helpfulness. The data were analysed by a 2 *3*3(set X locus of control X response type) analysis of variance, with repeated measures on the third dimension. A separate ANOVA was done for each of the three dependent variables—Evaluation, Potency, and Helpfulness. The following results and conclusions were reported as a result of this study: 1. Praising and encouraging responses were perceived by children as more helpful and more positive than discouraging responses. Discouraging responses were perceived as being as potent as praising responses and more potent than encouraging responses. These findings suggest that children discriminate between positive and negative parental communications. 2.Praising responses were perceived by children as more helpful, more positive ,and more potent than encouraging responses. This suggests that children prefer person-oriented praise rather than task-oriented encouragement from parents. In some respects, these findings appear to be at odds with Adlerian principles which suggest risks involved in responding to children with praise. However, this study suggests that Adlerians may have underestimated the usefulness of praise and overestimated the usefulness of encouragement. 3.Males perceived encouraging responses to be more helpful than discouraging responses, while females perceived responses defined as discouragement. Sex did not appear to function as a discriminating variable with regard to how children responded to the Evaluative and Potency dimensions. 4.Internally oriented children more clearly differentiated between praise and encouragement than did medium or low locus of control children. Praise was perceived as more helpful, more positive and more potent than encouragement. This was unexpected in light of literature which has suggested that the encouragement process can enhance the development of an internal control situation. 5.Sex did not appear to function as a discriminating variable between males and females of corresponding locus of control orientations in regard to their judgements of the helpfulness and value of parental responses. However, sex did appear to contribute to the perceptual framework within which internally oriented children judged the potency of parental responses. Males perceived discouragement as the most potent response, while females perceived praise as the most potent response. Recommendations for future research included: (1) examining children’s reactions to parental responses in an on-going parent-child relationship, (2) examining the effects encouragement, praise, and discouragement have on behavior, (3) longitudinal studies to increase understanding of how particular responses have come to take on reinforcing qualities, (4) the continued investigation of sex and locus of control as independent variables in future research of this nature.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10484/3792
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