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Family Structure and Child-Rearing Patterns: The Effect of Family Size and Sex Composition

Glen H. Elder, Jr. and Charles E. Bowerman
American Sociological Review
Vol. 28, No. 6 (Dec., 1963), pp. 891-905
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2090309
Page Count: 15
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Family Structure and Child-Rearing Patterns: The Effect of Family Size and Sex Composition
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Abstract

Small group research has shown that the instrumental and emotional dimensions of group life vary considerably with the number of members in the group. Although many of the findings from these studies as well as from Bossard's investigations of child development in large and small families are highly suggestive with respect to the effects of family size on child rearing, very little research has focused on this problem. Effects of the number and sex of children on paternal involvement and behavior-control methods are investigated. It was hypothesized that paternal involvement and external behavior control would occur more often in large families than in small and more often in families composed of boys rather than girls. This hypothesis was elaborated according to known variations in child rearing by the sex and social class of children. Data from a sample of 1261 Protestant seventh-grade students provided considerable support for the hypothesis.

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