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Preadolescents' Social-Emotional Adjustment and Selective Attrition in Family Research
Daniel A. Weinberger, Steven K. Tublin, Martin E. Ford and S. Shirley Feldman
Vol. 61, No. 5 (Oct., 1990), pp. 1374-1386
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130749
Page Count: 13
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Researchers often ask subjects to commit considerable time and effort to completing tasks that are not especially enjoyable. In a multistage investigation of sixth-grade boys and their families, we hypothesized that boys who were prone to high levels of distress (i. e., anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and low well-being) but only low or moderate levels of self-restraint (i. e., consideration of others, impulse control, suppression of aggression, and responsibility) would be particularly unlikely to agree to participate. Consistent with this hypothesis, boys from 33 class-rooms who were nominated by their peers as high in distress and moderate or low in self-restraint were significantly less likely than other boys to take part in an in-class survey. In addition, the families of boys who scored high in distress and moderate or low in self-restraint on the Weinberger Adjustment Inventory (WAI) were less likely than other families to agree to an observation session in their homes and to a series of telephone interviews about daily events in the boys' lives. Across the 3 phases of the research, the cumulative attrition rate of these at-risk boys was approximately 80%, compared to only 50% for those low in distress and/or high in self-restraint. These results suggest that the children of greatest interest in studies of social competence and family interaction may often be among those least adequately represented.
Child Development © 1990 Society for Research in Child Development