Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Developmental.




There seems to be a trend toward a new type of childrearing in which parents push their children to achieve. The psychological effects of parental pressure, however, have been virtually ignored by researchers. The present study examined children's responses to parent pressure. This phenomenon was explored in the context of a model, which traced the influences of SES and sex of a child on parent expectations, through to the perception of these expectations on the child's psychological functioning. One hundred and eighteen families (children enrolled in sixth through eighth grade and their parents) participated in the study. Questionnaires assessing expectations were completed by the parents, and questionnaires assessing perception of expectations and psychological outcomes were completed by the children. The overall Parent Pressure Model identified three child outcomes which were explained by the same causal sequence. The child outcomes included self-esteem, school interest, and clinical symptoms. The Self-Esteem Model and the revised School Interest and Clinical Symptoms Models supported a basic chain from SES and sex of child to parent expectations, to perception of expectations, to the subsequent child outcome. As a child's perception of parent expectations increased, a child's self-esteem increased. The revised models included a direct link between parent expectations and the child's school interest and clinical symptoms. As parent expectations and perception of expectations increased, a child's school interest increased. As parent expectations increased, a child's clinical symptoms decreased, but as perception of parent expectations increased, a child's clinical symptoms increased in a curvilinear manner. Negative effects of perception of parent expectations on clinical symptoms were most evident in low achievers. The overall results indicate that while parental pressure puts some children at risk for developing clinical symptoms, it generally has favourable effects on children. Implications for parenting and directions for future research were discussed.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1991 .R635. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 53-09, Section: B, page: 4978. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1991.