Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Youths Are Most Influenced By Negative Family Members And By Positive Adults Outside The Family

Date:
February 26, 2009
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
While children look up to and aspire to be like a positive family member or peer, they are more likely to imitate traits of other role models -- including negative role models, which can lead to behavioral problems, according to researchers.

While children look up to and aspire to be like a positive family member or peer, they are more likely to imitate traits of other role models -- including negative role models, which can lead to behavioral problems, according to a Kansas State University researcher.

Brenda McDaniel, assistant professor of psychology at K-State, worked with colleagues at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa to study the relationship of moral traits shared by youths and their role models to find predictors of outcomes like youth conduct problems.

"Understanding the relationship between youths' view of self, youths' view of role models and youths' behavioral and psychological outcomes provides the knowledge to foster healthy, successful youth," McDaniel said.

The researchers surveyed 30 boys and girls, ages 7 to 14, from Boys and Girls clubs in Manhattan and in Tulsa, Okla. McDaniel said all of the participants in the study were categorized as having a lower socioeconomic status, lower academic outcomes and being at-risk.

The study asked students who they considered to be their role models or wanted to be like, and who they considered to be their anti-role models or didn't want to be like. Students rated their choices and themselves on 10 sets of moral constructs using a five-point scale, like being unfair versus fair and forgiving versus not forgiving. The youths also measured themselves on their pro-social behavior and relational aggression, and provided parenting styles experienced in their home.

Though the youths reported their ideal selves being most like a positive family member and a positive peer, results showed students were most similar to a positive adult outside the family. This provides support for programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters where an adult outside the home spends time with the youth, McDaniel said.

The researchers also found that negative family members are a strong influence on the moral traits of youths. McDaniel said children who in actuality were more like a family member they didn't want to be like had higher reports of relational aggression and also received higher forms of corporal punishment in the home, such as spanking.

"Youths' inability to incorporate positive role model behaviors into their self-concept relates to youth conduct problems, such as acting out and starting fights," McDaniel said. "Positive parenting and mother involvement seem to be key components, which aid this ability."

The researchers also found that immoral traits, like lying and being unfriendly, shared between youths and all role models was significantly predictive of youth witnessing anti-social behaviors in their neighborhood, such as vandalism.

In addition, the youths were asked to name a celebrity they look up to, but the researchers found that the famous individuals had little influence on the youths' moral traits.

The study was funded by the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station. McDaniel said future research includes laboratory-site studies where interaction between youth and a role model will be recorded and coded for important information, such as interpersonal emotional exchange and physiological stress levels.

McDaniel's colleagues for the project are Amanda Sheffield Morris, associate professor of human development and family science and Benjamin Houltberg, a doctoral student in human development and family science, both at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "Youths Are Most Influenced By Negative Family Members And By Positive Adults Outside The Family." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090226110653.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2009, February 26). Youths Are Most Influenced By Negative Family Members And By Positive Adults Outside The Family. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090226110653.htm
Kansas State University. "Youths Are Most Influenced By Negative Family Members And By Positive Adults Outside The Family." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090226110653.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) A new study says marijuana use could lead to serious heart-related complications. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins