1. Croatian version of Selection, optimization and compensation questionnaire, and its demographic correlates
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb, Croatia
Theoretical framework of SOC model (Baltes et al., 1997; 1999; 2002) is developed to gain a better understanding of the factors contributing to a successful development. It attempts to specify the self-regulation strategies people use to master their lives. The aim of research presented here was twofold: to develop Croatian version of SOC questionnaire and check its psychometric properties and to examine demographic correlates of SOC scores. The sample consisted of 335 adults (202 women and 133 men). The questionnaire consisted of 49 dichotomous items measuring 4 dimensions hypothesized by the model (Elective Selection, Loss-Based Selection, Optimization and Compensation). Analyses revealed that the subscales reached psychometric properties similar to those of the original version of the questionnaire (Cronbach alpha’s ranging from 0,50 to 0,70) with low to moderate intercorrelations. Considering the length of the questionnaire suggestions for its shortening are discussed, showing that short versions keep good or gain improved psychometric properties. More educated participants, both women and men, showed higher results on Loss-based selection scale. Men reached higher scores than women on Elective selection. Age differences varied depending on subscale and gender. Correlations between spouses were found low but significant for Loss-based selection and Compensation subscales.
2. Gender differences and the degree of compatibility within mother's and father's parenting style in adolescents
Delale E. A.
University of Zagreb, Department of Social Work, Faculty of Law, Zagreb, Croatia
The goal of the study was to explore the degree of compatibility within mother's and father's parenting style in male and female adolescents. The study is a part of a broader study, which examined the relationship between parenting style and self-perceived emotional intelligence in adolescents. Parenting style was studied within the parental acceptance-rejection theory (Rohner, 1984), and discussed within the larger theoretical frame of recent models of family socialization. Measures included self-reported parental acceptance (Rohner, 1984): perceived warmth and affection, hostility and aggression, indifference and neglect, undifferentiated rejection; parental control (Ajduković & Delale, 2001): perceived settings of strict rules, restrictiveness, invasion of privacy and surveillance as well as self-perceived emotional intelligence (Delale, 2001; adapted from Takšić, 1998). Father's parenting style was significantly related to mother's at all assessed measures of parenting styles, both for boys and girls. There were also significant gender differences in the degree of compatibility of mothers' and fathers' parenting style in all measures except warmth and surveillance. Boys perceived parenting style of their parent more compatible than girls (correlations varied from 0.50 to 0.87 for boys and from 0.28 to 0.87 for girls). Since there were significant differences in perception of mothers' and fathers' parenting style, additional scores from mother's and father's parenting style were calculated and girls were more discriminative in observing their parents. Results are discussed according to gender differences in perceived emotional intelligence found in this research and better recognition of their own and other's emotions in girls. Females are socialized more than males in recognition and expression of emotions, they are biologically better equipped and they are spending more time on emotions (Mayer et al., 1999), so they could better differentiate relationships and emotion related content in their parents.
3. Psychological adjustment patterns between Italian majority and Slovene minority children
Dimitrova R., Tallandini M.
First author's affiliation: University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy
Based on the model developed by Garcia Coll and Szalacha (2004), the present research aims to explore the psychological situation of children from two native ethnic groups in Northern Italy. The model suggests that minority status leads to a decrease in children’s psychological well being, so that the ethnic minority children show more adjustment difficulties compared to the majority ones. Important buffering factors which prevent the development of negative outcomes are strong ethnic cohesion, community support and good family socio-economic conditions (Stansfeld et al., 2004). All these factors characterize the Slovene minority, which is the dominant ethnic group owning a specific minority status in North Italy. Triggered by these considerations, the present study investigates psychological adjustment of Slovene minority compared to Italian majority school-age children. Given the high ethnic density and historical presence of Slovene ethnic community in the area, it is expected that Slovene children would not present adjustment differences as compared to the Italians (Stansfeld et al., 2004). Moreover, we hypothesized gender differences with boys presenting more adjustment problems than girls (Boxer, Tisak, & Goldstein, 2004) for both groups. The sample consisted of 130 children aged 7 to 12 years – 61 Slovene minority and 69 Italian majority. To test the predictions, adjustment was assessed in terms of emotional instability, prosocial, aggressive behavior and depressive symptoms through two standardized questionnaires - Social Adjustment Capacity Indicators Questionnaire (Caprara et al., 1992) and Children’s Depression Inventory (Kovacs, 1988). Consistent with our expectations, results did not show ethnic group differences between the Slovenian and Italian participants, who presented more similarities in their self-ratings of adjustment. The gender comparisons showed that girls tend to respond more pro-socially than boys did. These results contribute to understanding the Slovene minority children’s integration, suggesting positive adjustment in relation to their school and peer-related context.
4. Attachment to family members and romantic partners with regard to completeness of family structure and the quality of parental relationship
Jelić M., Kamenov Z., Ivanković P.
First author's affiliation: Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
The aim of this research was to examine the differences in attachment to family members and romantic partners among individuals whose parents had divorced as opposed to those whose parents had high quality marriages and those whose parents had low quality marriages. 529 participants, students from various faculties of the University of Zagreb, were included in the research. 52.2% of them were female and 47.8% of them were male. The average age was M=21.6, SD=1.95. Data about family structure and the quality of parental relationship were obtained. Attachment to family members and attachment to romantic partners were assessed with comparable measures and results were computed separately for each dimension of both types of relations. Results showed significant sex differences only on Avoidance dimension in relationship with parents, but no gender differences were found on the Anxiety dimension, and no significant sex differences were found on dimensions of attachment to romantic partners. As far as effects of family structure and quality of parental relationship are concerned, significant differences emerged on Avoidance in attachment to family and on Anxiety in attachment to romantic partners due to low quality of parental relationship. No significant interactions of sex and family structure were found. Specifically, individuals whose parents had low marital quality while they were teenagers appear to be more avoidant towards their parents and more anxious in their romantic relationships in comparison with individuals in two other groups. These findings contribute to a new direction in research of consequences of divorce on children, which postulates parental marital discord accompanied by inadequate parental interaction and maladaptive communication strategies, and not merely divorce, to be the key factor detrimental to psychological functioning, well-being and social adjustment of children.
5. Parent-child conflicts and pubertal development in Croatian adolescents [presentation, ppt, 226 kB]
Keresteš G., Brković I., Kuterovac Jagodić G.
First author's affiliation: Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Conflicts between children and parents are a salient aspect of interaction in families with adolescents. Although during the last few decades many empirical studies on parent-child conflict have been conducted, their results are inconclusive and still much has to be investigated before we get clearer picture about the nature and developmental meaning of parent-child conflict. The aim of this study was to examine conflicts between Croatian adolescents and their parents, as well as to investigate relationships between conflicts and several indicators of pubertal development. The sample consisted of 219 intact families with early adolescents (10 to 15 years old). Children and parents independently completed questionnaire measure of parent-child conflict. Children's self-reports about pubertal development were also collected. Findings revealed that according to both parents' and children's ratings, conflicts were more frequent in mother-child than in father-child dyad. Parents generally perceived higher level of conflicts than children. In all parent-child dyads and according to all informants, conflicts most often occurred over home chores. Age and pubertal status, but not pubertal timing, were related to frequency of conflicts, with child's gender and source of information about conflict (i.e. informant) acting as moderators in these relationships.
Research on mindreading is one of the central topics of present-day cognitive science. Within this research, children’s thinking about the mind is especially important. The present paper will be about the relationship of the so-called ideal speech situation developed by Habermas and the child’s theory of mind. First, the ideal speech situation will be analyzed, showing the importance of the ascription of privileged access to mental states. Then, the history of first person authority within general psychology, social psychology and cognitive developmental psychology will be presented. One of the conclusions of this historical presentation is that within adult folk psychology we often ascribe privileged access to intentional states when we interpret other people’s behavior. The paper will show how we operationalized the ideal speech situation of the universal pragmatics of Habermas. In a word, we naturalize this philosophical concept. The notion of the ideal speech situation will be investigated from the point of view of contemporary empirical theory-of-mind research. Then I raise two questions: When and how does the child acquire the notion of the ideal speech situation? I will show a cognitive developmental experiment which aimed to answer the above questions. During the experiment we used a modified version of the classic theory-of-mind task developed by Bartsch and Wellman. In this task, the child has to infer the mental states from the action of a protagonist. Then we tested whether the child could select the main character on the basis of his first person verbal report. We argued that if the child was able to do this then he attributed first person authority to the character. Finally, the task analysis of our experiment will be presented. It is suggested that the acquisition of the ideal speech situation is related to the imaginative abilities of children, particularly to his or her capability to participate in imaginative conversations
Firstly, the presentation provides an overview and criticism of the main approaches to parenting – i.e. the parenting style approach (Baumrind), parenting dimensions (Barber), the domain paradigm (Turiel, Smetana), family communication patterns (Ritchie and others) etc. On the basis of the overview I emphasize the absence of in-depth conceptualization of the construct of authority and I offer preliminary theoretical conceptualization of this concept. Then the concept is analyzed and applied empirically with the help of four vignettes about different parent-adolescent conflict situations. The quantitative data (scales on conversation and conformity orientation and psychological control) further explain this concept. Both, quantitative and qualitative data point out the concept of authority style as the communication enforcement of parental authority. The sample consisted of 194 11- to 18-year-old first born adolescents and both of their parents in Slovenia; therefore the qualitative and quantitative self-reports of all three sides are presented which has indicated some methodological considerations.
8. Predictors of parenting behavior and parenting satisfaction among parents that transited to parenting during the war in Croatia [presentation, ppt, 459 kB]
Kuterovac Jagodić G., Keresteš G., Brković I.
First author's affiliation: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb, Croatia
Studies have documented a relationship between different parental stressors and parenting behavior, but effects of war on parenting behavior has not been studied often. This study examined relationship between subjective war stress, perceived social support, parental mental health indices (depression and aggressive and hostile behavior), and self-reported parenting behaviors and parenting satisfaction. The sample consisted of 812 pairs of mothers and fathers from 10 Croatian cities and towns differently affected by the war 1991-1995. The mean age of mothers was 39 and fathers 42 years at the time of data collection, i.e. 25 and 28 at the beginning of the war. The average number of children per family was two, and their age at the time of the study ranged from 10 to 15 years. There were 54.7% daughters and all the children were born during the war in Croatia. Separate hierarchical regression analyses were performed for maternal and paternal positive and negative parenting and parenting satisfaction as dependent variables. In each regression child demographic variables were entered first (age and gender), followed by self perceived negative effects of war on relationship with others, on life values and on life circumstances, social support was entered in the third step, and parental mental health indices entered in the last step. The results indicate significant association of self perceived negative effects of war, parental mental health and social support with their parenting behavior and satisfaction. These associations suggest that war and problems with mental health may have deleterious effects on parental behavior and parenting satisfaction, while self perceived social support seems to have more beneficial effect on positive parental behaviors and parenting satisfaction than on negative parental behaviors.
9. Storytelling in early childhood: Do the preschool and family environment matter?
Marjanovič Umek L., Fekonja Peklaj U.
First author's affiliation: Faculty of Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Storytelling is one of child’s pragmatic competences which is based on the expression of decontextualized contents and develops rapidly in the early childhood. The development of storytelling is affected by different factors in child’s environment, such as symbolic play or joint reading. The aim of the present study was to examine whether the child’s enrollment into a preschool institution, maternal education and the quality of home literacy environment represent important factors of child’s storytelling. The sample included 229 children, aged approximately 6 years, who at the time of the assessment, visited 1st grade of primary school. Children differed in the years they have spent in preschool prior to the primary school enrollment (children visiting preschool for 5 or 3 years and children not enrolled into preschool) and their mother’s educational level. Stories, spontaneously told by children while looking at the pictures, were analyzed with respect to the level of their coherence and cohesion using the criteria designed and established in some of our previous studies. The quality of home environment was assessed using the Home Literacy Environment Questionnaire (Marjanovič Umek, Podlesek, & Fekonja, 2005). The findings suggest that child’s enrollment into preschool, especially at the age of three, has a significant effect on his/her storytelling competence. Six years old children who entered preschool at the age of three told more coherent and cohesive stories than their peers who were not enrolled into preschool prior to entering primary school. The positive effect of preschool on child’s storytelling was evident in the group of children whose mothers had a high level of education. Maternal education proved to have a positive effect on the developmental level of child’s storytelling as well as correlated with the quality of child’s home environment related to mother’s correct use of language.
10. Stress experiences and family coping strategies among families with adolescent children
Mihic I., Zotovic M., Petrovic J., Jerkovic I., Dedic M.
First author's affiliation: University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia
The research presented in this paper aims to investigate relations between stress experiences of adolescents and the coping strategies in their families. The sample consisted of 201 adolescents, aged 15 to 19 years. All the participants gave information on their stress experiences (Risk scale, Grossman et al., 1990) and then assessed the dominant coping strategies in their families (F-COPES, McCubbin et al., 1981). The most frequent stress experiences among the participants are death of a family member or a person close to the adolescent (60.2%) and car accident (42.3%). Most of the adolescents from the sample have had 2 stress experiences by the time of research. Dominant coping strategies were internal coping strategies (redefining and passive assessment). Based on the number of indicated stress experiences, all participants were divided into two groups: with low stress experiences (up to 2), and high stress experiences (3 or more stress experiences). Research results indicate that these two groups significantly differ in dominant coping family strategies. The participants from the group with higher stress experiences assessed that their families rarely use redefining, and mostly use passive assessment and seeking institutional help as the strategies when coping with stressful events. These results indicate tendency that cumulative family stress may lower the adaptive behaviors and beliefs within family, and alter the family coping mechanisms towards collective denial of the stressful experience itself, and/or family’s capabilities to cope with it.
11. Gender differences in some aspects of sexuality among Croatian adults
University of Zadar, Department of Psychology, Zadar, Croatia
Human sexuality includes three important concepts: sexual-esteem, sexual-depression and sexual-preoccupation. Snell and Papini (1989) define sexual-esteem as positive regard for and confidence in the capacity to experience one's sexuality in a satisfying and enjoyable way. Sexual-depression is defined as the experience of feelings of depression regarding one's sex life and finally sexual-preoccupation is defined as the tendency to think about sex to an excessive degree. The results from Snell and Papini's (1989) initial study revealed considerable similarity between men's and women's sexual-esteem tendencies. Analyses revealed a significant gender effect only for the sexual-preoccupation subscale, with males reporting higher levels of sexual-preoccupation than females. Some interesting results about gender differences were reported in studies which examined sociosexuality (person’s inclination to engage in sexual intercourse in the absence of strong emotional commitment to his/her partner). The purpose of the present contribution is to present the results of a study designed to examine some aspects of sexuality and gender differences among young and middle aged adults. Therefore, the first aim was to examine gender differences in sexual-esteem, sexual-depression, sexual-preoccupation and sociosexuality, while the second aim included analysis of relation between examined variables. The 101 participants (48 males and 53 females) in this research filled out The Sexuality Scale (Snell & Papini, 1989) and The Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (Simpson & Gangestad, 1991). Results of this study showed expected differences in some aspects of sexuality among male and female participants. Males show higher tendencies in sexual-preoccupation and more comfort with engaging in casual sex than female participants.
12. Evaluating the socio-emotional and communicative development in day-care: Observational tools for nurses and parents
Ongari B., Francesca T.
First author's affiliation: Department of Human and Social Sciences, University of Trento, Trento, Italy
This contribution focuses on a research project whose aim was to evaluate a battery of tools which allows caregivers (parents and nurses) to monitor the emotional wellbeing and the first emergence of the socio-communicative abilities of each child within the peer group at the day-care center. Using individualized observations our objective was to analyze the quality of the children’s socio-emotional adaptation to the educational context, particularly focusing on a) the quality of play and social interaction, b) the differences related to the temperament, c) the degree of the communicative competence. In order to obtain reliable individual profiles, the effects of variables such as age, sex, amount of time attending the day-care were controlled, as well as the concurrent validity of each tool. Nurses observed 265 children (22-38 months old) attending day-care centers using the Socio-Affective Profile (PSA, Dumas, La Frenière, Capuano, & Durning, 1997). A half of the sample was then submitted to other tools. Six specific episodes of the daily life for each child have been video-registered by the nurses and coded with a specific system for evaluating the Social Interactions (ISN, Ongari, Tomasi, & Zoccatelli, 2004) derived from the Play Observation Scale (Rubin, 1976).The mother and the nurse fulfilled the Italian Questionnaire on Temperament (QUIT, Axia, 2002), which assesses the usual behavior of the child in the relationship with others, during play and coping with unexpected things. Moreover, the connection between the quality of the affective-emotional adaptation and the socio-communication competence has been checked with a questionnaire (QCSP, Molina, Bulgarelli, Marsan, Spinelli, & Miceli, 2002). At last, a questionnaire which analyzes the representations of each caregiver with respect to her own effective interaction with the child and her image of her own caring role has been purposed to the mothers and to the nurses (QZ; Zaouche-Gaudron; Ricaud-Droisy, & Beaumatin, 2002).
The presentation intends to give an overview of the observational and experimental methods in today’s psycholinguistics, regarding language acquisition as a life-long experience from fetus to adolescent and even beyond. It also offers an informative guide to the history and evolution of empirical, applied psycholinguistic techniques, aiming to describe background mechanisms of language processing, perception, production, and acquisition, giving us an insight into fetal sensitivity to speech input, and to the intricacies of language processing both in the preverbal and in the verbal stages (Karmiloff & Karmiloff-Smith, 2002). The new paradigms introduced by the cognitive turn of the 1960’s affected research in the study of language and the mind, bringing on a revolutionary change in experimental techniques, due to which the focus of attention shifted from production to comprehension. The emerging innovative research methods allow us to investigate the multi-level process of language use and acquisition from new perspectives, and examine the development which begins during intrauterine life (Gleason & Ratner, 1998). The new findings also contribute to the resolution of long-standing debates in the discipline, such as the primacy of nature vs. nurture, or that of blind imitation vs. rule application. In the preverbal period children actively communicate through proto-communicative acts and through different actions (e.g. joint attention, following adults’ gaze) (Tomasello, 2002), which serve as important instances of active participation in social settings. Through such interpersonal interactions children begin their journey of socialization, in which language plays a crucial, if not the most important role. The mapping of the intricacies of the experimental paradigms prevalent in today’s psycholinguistic research, and the understanding of the underlying mechanisms that fuel language acquisition may shed light on the cognitive strategies that are responsible for the construction, comprehension and production of language at all stages of our ontogenetic development
14. Incremental validity of personality hardiness over the Big Five in predicting psychological well-being of young adults
Smiljanič S., Zupančič M.
First author's affiliation: Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Extant research provides evidence of considerable association between basic personality dimensions and psychological well-being. Except for openness, four dimensions of the five-factor model (FFM) of personality are related to well-being. Dimensions of psychological well-being are also linked to personality hardiness. According to Ryff (1989), people with more hardy personality perceive life events mainly as positive, they are active in everyday life and estimate unexpected changes as a challenge in life. In the present research, the dimensions of FFM and personality hardiness were explored as predictors of psychological well-being in Slovene young adults. Relations of these variables with gender, age, education and developmental tasks successfully mastered were also examined. Data are based on self-reports using the BFQ (Caprara, et. al., 1997), Psychological Well-Being Scales (Ryff, 1989), Questionnaire of Personality Hardiness DRS-II (Sinclair & Oliver, 2003) and Demographic List, including reports on mastery of developmental tasks of young adulthood. Participants (N = 150) were aged from 24 to 45 years. The results suggest no differences among young adults in psychological well-being by gender, age, education, and developmental tasks already mastered. Multiple regression analyses show that both the FFM dimensions and the dimensions of personality hardiness predict considerable portions of variance in all of the dimensions of psychological well-being. Moreover, hierarchical multiple linear regressions demonstrate that the dimensions of hardiness have a substantial incremental power over and above the FFM in predicting psychological well-being. The FFM dimensions also contribute significantly over and above the prediction based on dimensions of hardiness. However, the incremental predictive value of the FFM is weaker than the incremental power of personality hardiness.
15. Family in a developmental context: Do communication technologies
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Recent studies on adolescent behavior in both Europe and the USA suggest that the use of new communication technologies (mobile telephones and particularly internet) relate to age: children seem most likely to use internet to play games, adolescents to establish and maintain social relationships, and adults to search for different kinds of information. In Europe, there is a significant proportion of families in which children/adolescents know much more than parents do about communication technologies (like purchasing items, communicating with authorities via internet portals and so on). The fact that these children seem to help their parents to cope with the societal requirements, and not the vice versa, has an impact on various aspects of family life, including parental roles, statuses, and family decision making processes. The paper presents findings from a larger study on Slovenian adolescents who were given scales of family functioning, personality, as well as adolescents' experience and attitudes toward communication technologies. The findings suggest that the gap between adolescent's and parental experience with communication technologies relates to some vital family processes and relations. The implications of these findings are further discussed.
16. Effects of early learning experience on infants' exploration skills [presentation, pdf, 1965 kB]
Tsolo M., Needham A., Libertus K.
First author's affiliation: Center for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck College, London, United Kingdom
We explored whether enrichment of infants’ early experiences as agents able to act on objects would have an effect on their object exploration skills. Three-month-old infants were given the opportunity to reach for and ‘grasp’ objects while wearing “sticky mittens”: mittens with palms that stuck to the edges of toys and allowed the infants to pick up the toys. The effects of this experience on their object exploration behavior were assessed by comparing their exploratory skills before and after the experience with the infants freely exploring a gummy teether. Their skills were also compared to the skills of another group of infants of the same age (control group), who did not actively manipulate the objects but were just passive observers of objects’ movements. We predicted that the looking and reaching behavior towards objects will increase in the experimental group after they have received the simulated experience of reaching. The results indicated that after the learning experience infants in the experimental group became more interested in the object, indexed by significantly longer looking in the second than in the first test phase, and also compared to the control group at the second test phase. We also examined infants’ latency to touch once an object had been introduced and while the two groups did not differ significantly in the first phase, latency in the second phase dropped considerably in the experimental group but not in the control group. These measures provide a demonstration of the experimental group infants’ increased interest in the object and a decreased interest in the external environment following their experience with “sticky mittens”. This suggests that the learning experience with mittens and the new ability to bring objects closer to their faces motivated babies to keep their attention on the object.
17. The present situation and prospects of the studies on Chinese left-at-home rural countryside children
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Since early 1980s, China has undergone the course of Opening Policy and social transformation. Due to the fast economic growth in urban cities, a great number of peasant workforce have migrated to towns and cities, or even foreign countries to look for urban jobs. As most of these peasant workers are unable to migrate with their child, consequently, their children became so-called “left-at-home” rural countryside children. In the beginning, little attention has been paid to this special group by the society. However, today the population of “left-at-home” rural countryside children has already exceeded a number of 20 million, and their educational and psychological developmental problems turned out to be remarkable. In 2002, Chinese government has begun to fully recognize the severity of this social problem, while in 2004, more close attention has been paid both from Chinese government and academia. At present, plenty of surveys and studies have been made. Generally, these research could be classified into 4 groups: current situational surveys; quantitative studies on psychological health of left-at-home children, their personality and self-esteem, parenting styles and family function, their social support system and problem behaviors; a small quantity of qualitative studies on the process of how these left-at-home children adapt their daily life; and limited studies on developing questionnaires. During these years, many surveys and studies focusing on left-at-home children have been done, however, the findings have not been well organized and classified. Therefore, in this article the author has first discussed the accurate definition of “left-at-home” rural countryside children. Secondly, the findings of former surveys and studies are summarized, and their insufficiency discussed. Finally, the author has prospected the future studies on Chinese “left-at-home” rural countryside children.