Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology


The purpose of this study conducted in the Summer and Fall of 1991 was to determine whether parent Christian life identity ameliorates problem behavior in children with learning disorders. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and Child Behavior Checklist-Teacher Report Form (CBCL-TRF) were used to measure problem behavior of children aged 6-11 with identified learning disorders. Groupings of parents by active Christian and other (in-active Christian or non-Christian) life identity were studied. The central hypothesis was that children with identified learning disorders whose parents have an active Christian identity will have lower levels of social-emotional and behavioral problems than learning disordered children whose parents do not claim an active Christian life identity. iv Groupings by parent life identity and child problem behavior reporter (parent or teacher) were analyzed using a series of one-way and 2 X 2 ANOVA's. The broad-band scale scores from the CBCL or CBCL-TRF were the dependent variables. Child problem behavior was not found to differ significantly between groups of parents. Three ANCOVA's were performed to control for socioeconomic variables and the findings remained unchanged. Active Christian parents may nonetheless be more or less effective in coping with the effects of learning disorders in their children. This could influence the rate for clinic referral without affecting symptom severity on any referred children. Teachers were found to report a significantly lower level of internalizing problem behavior, which is consistent with results from other cross-informant studies of learning disordered children. When groupings by learning disorder severity were analyzed using a series of one-way ANOVA's, teachers reported significantly lower levels of internalizing problem behavior for children with moderate learning disorders than for children with either mild or severe learning disorders. Moderately learning disordered children may be better accomodated in the schools than mild or severely learning disordered children and therefore exhibit fewer internalizing-type problem behaviors in that setting. Parents seeking interventions for their children beyond those offered by the schools may demonstrate care and concern for their child resulting from values and beliefs which are not exclusive to parents with an active Christian life identity.

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