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Korean parents' identification of emotional and behavioral problems in kindergarten-age children.

Abstract. The purpose of this study was to investigate Korean parents' identification of emotional and behavioral problems in 4- to 5-year-old children. Questionnaires about children's behaviors, in general, were completed by 375 parents of 4- to 6-year-old children in six private hindergartens in the cities of Seoul and Il-san, Korea. The results of this study were that: 1) although Korean parents generally showed an uncertain identification of the 33 emotional and behavioral problems in 4- to 5-year-old children, they most frequently identified physical and eating problem behavior and withdrawn behavior as emotional and behavioral problems; 2) Korean parents generally identified emotional and behavioral problems in 4- to 5-year-old children regardless of the children's gender, except/or disobedient behavior; and 3) three parents' demographic variables (i.e., age of the parents' own children, mother's occupation, and father's occupation) significantly but unsubstantially explained Korean parents' identificat ion of 4- to 5-year-old children's emotional and behavioral problems. The findings are discussed in terms of cultural context, as well as in relation to other studies.

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Parents' concerns about the emotional and behavioral problems of children are reflected in a number of emerging theories (e.g., theories of self-regulation) and research studies on emotional and social development. Emotional and behavioral problems (EBPs) of young children are receiving more attention than ever before (e.g., Bird, 1996; Campbell, 1990, 1995; Martens, 1993), and there is increased interest in the assessment, identification, and intervention of young children with behavior problems (Boyle & Jones, 1985; Elliot, Busse, & Gresham, 1993). In fact, studies (e.g., Jenkins, Bax, & Hart, 1980; Richman, Stevenson, & Graham, 1982) indicate that 15-20% of preschoolers have mild to severe behavior problems.

Children's behavior problems vary in type and severity, and have been classified as: 1) internalizing, or overcontrolled, problems (e.g., shyness, fearfulness, and somatic problems), and 2) externalizing, or undercontrolled, problems (e.g., fighting, showing off, and hyperactivity). These two categories of behavior problems have been found in more than 20 factor analysis studies (for study summaries, see Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1978). Also, these two behavior categories, internalizing and externalizing, have been established as two dimensions of children's emotional and behavioral problems (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1986; Hinshaw, Han, Erhardt, & Huber, 1992). These behaviors include aggression, attention problems, delinquency, social problems, somatic complaints, thought problems, and withdrawal.

Researchers (e.g., Campbell, 1995; Feil & Walker, 1995) have suggested certain considerations for defining emotional and behavioral disturbances. First, normally developing children of all ages engage in some deviant behaviors. Patterson, Reid, and Dishion (1992) have suggested that a typical preschool boy will yell, tease, or whine approximately once every three minutes. Therefore, the frequency and intensity of the "problem behavior," relative to a normative context, are critical points in defining emotional and behavioral disturbance. In this sense, significant factors in defining behavior problems, such as chronicity (over a period of time) and severity (to a marked degree), are important when differentiating between transient or mild problems and those that are persistent and debilitating (Coleman, 1996).

Korean early childhood education researchers (e.g., Hong, 1996; Jung, 1997) have studied children's behavior problems in terms of parents' and teachers' concerns. These studies have proposed similar categories of behavior problems to those found in American studies (e.g., Lim, 1998; The New Age Academic Society for Research in Early Childhood Education, 1994). However, the concern among Koreans for moral issues, rules, order, courtesy, and moderation is noteworthy. These elements do not occur in the American classification of emotional and behavioral problems (e.g., the Child Behavior Checklist and Child Behavior Questionnaire). The inclusion of these categories reflects the influence of Confucianism on Korean parents and teachers, whose concern about these aspects of children's behaviors relates to their cultural values and expectations of appropriate behaviors. These categories have several limitations, however, because there is no evidence of clear criteria for dividing and classifying the behavioral probl ems in Korean children to serve as indicators for identifying emotional and behavioral problems. Moreover, no criteria have been developed for identifying a child's emotional problems, especially, for example, in the provisions of the Korean Special Education Law (Han, 2000).

Despite the growing importance of studying emotional and behavioral problems in young children in order to identify and thus prevent problem behaviors at an early age (e.g., Campbell & Ewing, 1990; Fischer, Rolf Hasazi, & Cummings, 1984), only a few early childhood studies have focused on parents' concerns about their children's behavior problems in general settings, such as in homes, kindergatens, and public places (Hinshaw et al., 1992; Hwang & James-Roberts, 1998).

Therefore, this study examined how Korean parents identify emotional and behavioral problems in 4- to 5-year-old children, in general; what the differences are in these parents' identification of emotional and behavioral problems by the children's gender; and how the parents' demographic information explains their identification of emotional and behavioral problems in this age category. This study did not identify particular Korean children as having emotional and behavioral disturbances. To label or define certain children as being emotionally and behaviorally disturbed would be considered a stigma and is a delicate issue for Korean parents and teachers. The parents participating in the survey were not asked about EBPs related to their own kindergarten-age children or children in the kindergartens with which they were associated.

Method

Participants

The participants in the study were 375 parents of children in six private kindergartens in two Korean cities, Seoul and Il-san. Participating were 337 mothers and 24 fathers; 14 parents did not indicate their gender. The parents ranged in age from 28 to older than 42, with a mean age of 33.5 years (SD = 8.9).

Instruments

The instruments used in this study were: 1) two versions (boys/girls) of the Parent Questionnaire of Children's Behaviors (PQCB), designed by the researcher, and 2) the Parent Demographic Questionnaire (PDQ), also designed by the researcher. The PQCB was compiled and developed from the following studies in the literature: 8 syndromes of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) (Achenbach, 1991), 9 categories of behavior problems of young children (The New Age Academic Society for Research in Early Childhood Education, 1994), and 12 categories of emotional and behavioral problems (Lim, 1998). Each category of the PQCB consisted of overlapping items from these three sources as well as culturally distinctive items from two of the studies that matched "A Social Life" in the Fifth Kindergarten Curriculum of Korea (Ministry of Education, 1994). Thus, the researcher derived eight categories of emotional and behavioral problems in 4- to 5-year-old Korean children as follows: withdrawn behavior, anxious behavior, aggressiv e behavior, attention problems, physical and eating problems, moral problems, social relationship problems, and rule and courtesy problems. Four statements in the category of rule and courtesy problems were drawn as culturally distinctive emotional and behavioral problems: scorns friends, speaks loudly, talks back to parents, and does not share. These statements of emotional and behavioral problems were matched with "A Social Life" in the Fifth Kindergarten Curriculum of Korea (i.e., by the items of basic daily habits, regulation of personal thoughts and behaviors, and group life).

The Parent Questionnaire of Children's Behaviors thus consists of 33 items divided according to eight different categories of emotional and behavioral problems, which were listed in the first column of the questionnaire. The parents were asked to respond to each behavior by rating it according to the statement in the second column, "I believe this behavior is a problem," using a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from "I strongly disagree" to "I strongly agree." Each category consists of statements on children's behavior problems in general (e.g., "A child prefers to play alone"), given the frequency of the behavior occurrence.

The PQCB was judged for its content for use in the study by: 1) a university faculty review panel comprising four professors, and 2) a Korean review panel consisting of four Korean Ph.D. students, at the same university in the early childhood education program, who had experience in teaching kindergarten (for more than one year) and in developing survey instrument scales.

The first survey questionnaire developed by the researcher consisted of 39 brief descriptions of children's behaviors that asked for the Korean parents' identification of emotional and behavioral problems. After the faculty and Korean student panels reviewed the PQCB, the researcher revised and reduced the questionnaire to 33 descriptions of emotional and behavioral characteristics from which Korean parents were to identify EBPs. Six items were deleted because they were redundant (e.g., prefers to be alone, can't sit still, and hard to concentrate), and some were eliminated because they described outcomes of behavior rather than the behavior itself (e.g., gets teased by friends, not liked by friends, and is mean to friends).

Reliability Analysis

Internal consistency was used to test the reliability of the PQCB. The Cronbach's coefficient alpha for the study was .95, which indicated a high degree of internal consistency among the items in the questionnaire, according to Borg and Gall (1989).

Procedure

Samplings were made in Seoul and Il-san, Korea. The staff of six private kindergartens in the two cities were chosen and contacted to identify the parent participants. The parents were informed that their participation would remain confidential and that their names would not appear on the questionnaires. The researcher asked the teachers to distribute 550 survey questionnaires, including introductory letters and informed consent forms for the parents to sign and return. The 550 questionnaires included 275 boys' questionnaires and 275 girls' questionnaires and were randomly distributed to the parents.

A total of 379 questionnaires were returned from the six kindergartens, representing a return rate of 69%. Four of the 379 questionnaires were discarded due to incomplete responses. As a result, a total of 375 questionnaires were used for the analysis, including 176 boys' questionnaires and 199 girls' questionnaires (47%/53%).

Analysis

Descriptive data analyses were conducted to examine the Korean parents' identification of emotional and behavioral problems (EBPs) in 4- to 5-year-old children. Also, an independent t-test was conducted to analyze the differences in parents' identification of EBPs by gender. To examine the relationships between the parents' nine demographic variables and their identification of EBPs, a multiple regression was conducted.

Results

Korean Parents' Identification of EBPs

As shown in Table 1, the mean item score of the physical and eating problem behavior category of emotional and behavioral problems was the highest (3.13), while the mean item score of the parents' responses to the rule and courtesy problem behavior category of EBPs was the lowest (2.77). The overall results indicated that the Korean parents were uncertain about identifying the behaviors they believed to be emotional and behavioral problems of 4- to 5-year-old children (M=2.91, SD= 1.02), although these responses were widely distributed within the range of 1 to 5. Six behavior category mean item scores were lower than 3.0, while two category mean item scores, withdrawn behavior (3.04) and physical and eating problem behavior (3.13), were above 3.0.

Descriptive statistics for the parents' responses to two versions (boys/girls) of the questionnaire items are outlined in Table 2, including the following results.

Withdrawn behavior category. About 60% of the parents agreed (47.1%/45.6%) or strongly agreed (14.7%/15.9%) that the behavior "A child hardly participates in the activity" was an emotional and behavioral problem, and almost 60% agreed (41.5%/ 37.9%) or strongly agreed (15.8%/19.5%) that the behavior "A child hardly talks to his friends," for both boys and girls, was an EBP.

Anxious behavior category. About 30% of the parents responded "uncertain" for both boys and girls in two items: "A child shows that one minute he/she is smiling, the next he/she is crying" and "A child tenses his/her muscles and shows tensed face.

Aggressive behavior category. Over 50% of the parents responded that they believed (40.5%/42.3%) or strongly believed (12.7%/ 13.3%) that the behavior of boys and girls who threaten friends is a problem. Also, similar responses were found for the item "destroying things when upset." About 60% of the parents responded positively to the item for boys and girls (32.4%/34.7% agreed; 23.7%/26.6% strongly agreed). Attention problem behavior category. The parents' responses were broadly distributed among the response scale for this item.

Physical and eating problem behavior category. Almost 50% of the parents responded that they agreed (36.7%/35%) or strongly agreed (10.7%/10.2%) with the item related to the children's often being tired, whereas 24.2% of the parents disagreed for boys and 31.5% of the parents disagreed for girls. Also, a total of 47.4% of the parents agreed for boys, and a total of 50.5% of the parents agreed for girls with the item "A child vomits when he/she eats a meal."

Social relationship problem category. Over 50% of the parents responded that they believed (53.5%/47%) or strongly believed (2.3%/4.5%) that it is a problem if a child does not get along with his/her friends.

Parents (64.6%) disagreed that it is a problem if a girl does not do what her parents tell her to do. Only 12.6% of parents identified this behavior as a problem.

Rule and courtesy problem category. Over 50% of the parents identified children's yelling and using profanity to be an emotional and behavioral problem (39.5%/40.2% agreed; 12.8%/13.6% strongly agreed).

Differences in Korean Parents' Identification of EBPs by Children's Gender

An independent t-test analysis was used to examine how Korean parents' identification of emotional and behavioral problems differed by the gender of the 4- to 5-year-old children. (See Table 3 for a summary of the t-test results.)

Among the 33 EBPs identified, only one showed a significant difference (p < .01). The Korean parents demonstrated a significant gender difference in identification of the behavior item "A child does not follow what his/her parents tell him/her to do" as a problem. The parents were more uncertain that boys' disobedience is an emotional and behavioral problem. The data presented in Table 3 indicated that boys received the behavior item mean score of 2.67 (SD = 1.19), compared with the item mean score of 2.28 (SD = .94) for girls. Those means reflect perceptions of "uncertain" for boys and "disagree" for girls.

The Relationships Between the Korean Parents' Demographic In formation and the Parents' Identification of EBPs The data were used to examine the relationships between the Korean parents' nine demographic variables (i.e., age of the parent's own child, gender of the parent's child, number of children, age of the parent, gender of the parent, educational level of the parent, father's occupation, mother's occupation, and family type) and the parents' identification of emotional and behavioral problems in 4- to 5-year-old children. First, multiple regression was conducted with all nine independent variables. Since all nine independent variables were non-continuous variables, nine "dummy-coded" variables were used (e.g., gender of children was recoded into two levels: 0 = boy, 1 = girl). Second, a step-wise method of multiple regression analysis was conducted to identify which demographic variable is the strongest predictor for the parents' identification of children's EBPs.

The multiple regression analysis results appear in Tables 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4. As shown in Table 4.1, the age of the parents' own child was the significant predictor of their identification of EBPs in the withdrawn behavior category (p < .05). The parents who had 4-year-old children were likely to have lower scores on identification of EBPs in the withdrawn behavior category.

Table 4.2 shows that occupations of the mother and father were the most significant predictors of the parents' identification of EBPs in the withdrawn behavior category. The mothers who worked as a national officer, administrator, or professional had lower scores on the parents' EBP identification in the withdrawn behavior category. On the other hand, the fathers who worked in the service and sales sector had higher scores on the parents' EBP identification in the withdrawn behavior category. This indicates that when the mother's job was that of a national officer, administrator, or professional, the parents were likely to identify withdrawn behaviors as not being emotional and behavioral problems; however, if the father was in service and sales, the parents tended to identify children's withdrawn behaviors as being emotional and behavioral problems.

As Tables 4.3 and 4.4 indicate, the mother's job also was a significant predictor of EBPs in the social relationship problem category and in the rule and courtesy problem category (p < .05). If the mother's job was as a national officer, administrator, or professional, the parents were likely to identify the children's social relationship problems and rule and courtesy problems as not being emotional and behavioral problems.

In summary, three of the parents' demographic variables--age of the parents' own child, the mother's occupation, and the father's occupation--were significantly associated with the Korean parents' identification of withdrawn behavior, social relationship problems, and rule and courtesy problems as children's emotional and behavioral problems. However, these variables did not substantially explain the extent of the Korean parents' identification of the children's emotional and behavioral problems; for example, the highest R square = .10 in Table 4.1, which indicates that the age of the children explained only 10% of the variances in the Korean parents' identification of withdrawn behavior as being EBPs (Licht, 1995).

Discussion

The goal of this study was to investigate the extent to which Korean parents understand and could identify 4- to 5-year-old children's emotional and behavioral problems in general. Results indicate that the Korean parents showed a generally uncertain identification of 33 emotional and behavioral problems in 4- to 5-year-old children. However, the parents identified the categories of physical and eating problem and withdrawn behavior as emotional and behavioral problems at a relatively higher level, while they perceived the rule and courtesy problem category as emotional and behavioral problems at a relatively lower level.

Also, there was a significant difference in the parents' identification of the behavior item "A child does not follow what the child's parents tell the child to do" by the gender of the child. The results suggest that the parents were "uncertain" whether that behavior was a problem for boys and "disagreed" that the behavior was a problem for girls. It is noteworthy that the Korean parents generally identified emotional and behavioral problems in 4- to 5-year-old children regardless of the gender of the children.

Finally, the results of this study show that the variables of the age of the parents' own child, the mother's occupation, and the father's occupation significantly predicted the parents' identification of three categories of behavior problems (i.e., withdrawn behavior, social relationship problem, and rule and courtesy problems). However, it did not substantially explain the extent of the Korean parents' identification of the children's emotional and behavioral problems. It was concluded, based on these data and the review of the literature (e.g., Dempsey, 1991), that traditional measures of demographic factors, such as education level or income, are not sufficient predictors for the extent of parents' identification of 4- to 5-year-old children's emotional and behavioral problems.

Korean Parents' Identification of 4- to 5-Year-Old Children's EBPs

The results indicate that the Korean parents were generally uncertain about identifying emotional and behavioral problems in 4- to 5-year-old children (M = 2.91, SD = 1.02), although these responses were widely distributed within the range of 1 to 5. The results in this study could be due to the parents' lack of knowledge for defining the 33 behaviors as emotional and behavioral problems, the parents' permissive attitude toward these behaviors as being natural and age-appropriate, or the parents' belief that children usually behave this way as they grow up.

The results of this study are supported by cross-national studies and a few Korean research studies (Kim, 1996; Lim, 1998; Matsuura et al., 1993; Weine, Phillips, & Achenbach, 1995). Matsuura et al. (1993), in a cross-national study of children with emotional and behavioral problems, found that internalizing behaviors (e.g., withdrawn behavior and anxious behavior) were more common than antisocial behaviors among Korean children. Weine et al. (1995) reported that Chinese children, compared with American children, were rated higher on delinquent behavior and anxious/depressed syndromes and on internalizing. Also, studies by Kim (1996) and Lim (1998) have indicated that Korean parents are highly concerned with 4- to 5-year-old children's withdrawn and passive behaviors as well as with their health and eating problems, which is consistent with the results of this study. Thus, the Korean parents' highest mean item score in children's withdrawn behaviors in this study suggests that the parents may not identify the se passive behaviors as reflecting the gentleness or kindness of children. As such traits have been commonly considered virtues in Asian culture, children's internalizing behaviors often have been ignored (Rubin & Mills, 1990). However, rule and courtesy problem behavior was one of the highest parental concerns in the previous two Korean studies by Kim and Lim. In this study, however, the rule and courtesy category held the parents' lowest mean item response for children's emotional and behavioral problems. This difference can be explained by the different response of the parents to the behavior problems of children in general in this study, compared to parents' response to the behavior problems of their own children in previous studies. Therefore, the parents in this study may have expressed their difficulty with identifying rule and courtesy problems as EBPs in children in general.

Withdrawn behavior category. Approximately 60% of the parents identified children's hardly participating in an activity to be an emotional and behavioral problem. This percentage may reflect the Korean parents' concern with this behavior as not only a withdrawn behavior problem but also a learning problem, as indicated in Lim's study (1998) in which Korean parents strongly expressed their concerns about children's learning problem behavior. This result may be related to the Korean parents' emphasis on the cognitive development of children; for example, if the child shows any problematic behaviors that interfere with the learning process, the parents may show concern and perceive the behavior as a problem.

Anxious behavior category. Two items, "A child cries a lot" and "A child cries and turns red-faced when something goes against the child's will," both got almost 40% of the parents' agreement or disagreement. This response may show the Korean parents' ambivalent perception of the children's frequent crying behavior as a natural and age-related behavior even though the frequency of the behavior (i.e., "at least once a day" in PQCB) would make it an emotional and behavioral problem.

Aggressive behavior category. Almost 60% of the parents in this study agreed that it is a problem if children threaten their friends or destroy things when upset. However, the parents agreed only on half of the aggressive behavior items. In contrast to a cross-national study (Matsuura et al., 1993), where the parents reported that antisocial and other problem behaviors at home were more frequent in Japanese and Korean boys than in Chinese boys, the results of this study show no gender difference in the aggressive behavior category

Attention problem category. In other studies (Campbell, 1995; Newth & Corbett, 1993), parents reported inattention as their highest concern among children's behavior problems; this study, however, showed a widely distributed response to the item of attention problem, in a range of "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree."

Physical and eating problem category. This behavior category received the Korean parents' highest mean score as being considered emotional and behavioral problems. Nevertheless, this highest mean score still represents uncertain identification of physical and eating problems as EBPs. It is unclear whether the Korean parents' highest mean score on the physical and eating problem category is due to the distinctive characteristic of this item compared to other behavior problems, which can be easily observed at home in daily routines. This result indicates that the Korean parents may believe that the child's physical well-being is the highest priority in the child's development. In fact, the Kindergarten Education Curriculum of Korea emphasizes "healthy life" as the first educational goal to be addressed in the daily life of kindergartners. This result is consistent with other studies showing that parents are concerned with children's eating, toileting, and sleeping problems (e.g., Jenkins et al., 1980; Stallard, 1993). However, the result in this study of Korean parents and EBPs is different from Kang's study (1998), which showed that the parents' highest response to children's emotional and behavioral problems was the children's personal characteristics related to behavioral problems in normal children; in contrast, in Kang's study, the parents' highest response to emotional and behavioral problems in regard to having children referred for psychiatric care was in the hyperactivity and inattention problem and language problem categories.

Social relationship problem category. Over 50% of the parents responded that it is a problem if the children do not get along with their friends. This finding is consistent with those from other research studies (Kim, 1996; Lim, 1998; Matsuura et al., 1993), in which parents perceived not getting along with friends, not being liked by friends, and being solitary to be emotional and behavioral problems in preschool-age children.

Rule and courtesy problem category. This study showed the lowest mean score on the Korean parents' identification of rule and courtesy problems as EBPs. The parents (64%) in this study did not identify a girl's behavior of not doing what her parents tell her to do as being a problem; in contrast, the parents in the study of Matsuura et al. (1993) indicated that Korean parents consider girls' disobedience to be more of a problem than parents of Japanese girls do. However, the Korean parents here tended to express more concern for eating or daily living habits than for rule and courtesy in children's behavior problems; conversely, in another study (Lin, 1998), teachers indicated more concern for rule and courtesy than for eating or daily living habits.

The findings in this study support a recent parenting trend that young Korean parents are less likely to teach their children courtesy and adherence to rules (Lee, 1998). Also, this may imply that disobedience is no longer perceived as an emotional and behavioral problem.

The Differences in Korean Parents' identification of EBPs by the Children's Gender

Among the 33 items of emotional and behavioral problems, the Korean parents had only one item of significant difference in their identification of emotional and behavioral problems, when considered by gender of the children. That is, they displayed significantly higher scores (p < .01) for boys on the behavior item "A child does not follow what the child's parents tell the child to do" than for girls. Otherwise, the Korean parents in this study identified emotional and behavioral problems without regard for the children's gender.

This result is consistent with those from a cross-national study by Matsuura et al. (1993), which showed that no gender difference is found in regard to identification of EBPs for Korean children. However, small gender differences in this study show similarity to other research studies (Kim, 1996; Weine et al., 1995; Weisz et al., 1987). The results of these studies indicate that boys show more externalizing behaviors (e.g., aggressive behavior and attention problem) than girls among Asian children. Parents expressed their concerns with girls' internalizing behaviors (e.g., shyness, anxiety, and depression) in these studies. However, these gender differences were small.

The finding of a gender difference in this study concerning disobedient behavior may suggest that Korean parents are likely to be more tolerant of girls' disobedient behavior than toward boys'.

The Relationships Between the Korean Parents' Demographic In formation and the Parents' Identification of EBPs in 4-to 5-Year-Old Children

The results show that three demographic variables of the parents (age of the parents' own child, mother's occupation, and father's occupation) significantly predicted the parents' identification of three categories--withdrawn behavior, social relationship problems, and rule and courtesy problems--as being EBPs in 4- to 5-year-old children. However, these variables did not substantially explain the extent of the Korean parents' identification of children's emotional and behavioral problems.

By comparison, Kang's study (1998) found that the age of the children was related to the types of emotional and behavioral problems; in particular, those of 3- to 4-year-old children were related to a higher response of the parents to concerns with withdrawn behavior. Unlike Kang's study, this study reported that having 4-year-old children was associated with the parents' lower response of identifying withdrawn behavior as an EBP compared to parents having 5and 6-year-old children. Even though these results are different, they suggest that the age of the children may be related to parent identification of some types of emotional and behavioral problems (e.g., withdrawn behavior). In addition, this result supports the findings of Koot's study (1993) in which Dutch parents reported age-related increases in internalizing problems such as fearfulness and self-awareness.

Moreover, the results here indicate that at age 4, the children may begin to develop their characteristics after they have passed the period called "Go-woon Se Sal," which in Korean means "sweet 3-year-old." A child's development of personality characteristics and behaviors becomes distinctive and may create problems around the ages of 5 and 6, called "Mi-un Il-gop Sal," which in Korean means "undesirable 7-year-old" (a 6-year-old in Korea is considered to be 7 as Koreans count the 10 months of pregnancy as the child's first year of life).

These two Korean traditional child development terms, "Go-woon Se Sal" and "Miun fl-gop Sal," have important meanings in terms of children's emotional and behavioral problems in this study. At the age of 2, or "Go-woon Se Sal," children are still considered to be babies, even though they have started to learn basic appropriate behaviors (Yoo, 1986). But if children make mistakes or misbehave, they are considered too young to act like an adult. This perspective is consistent with that of other Asian cultures, including Japanese, Chinese, and Thai (Newth & Corbett, 1993). By the age of 5 to 6, children learn behavioral disciplines such as table manners, sleeping manners, and fear and independence training (Yoo, 1990). However, some parents consider the children to be too young for harshiy enforced strict behavioral disciplines.

The period called "Mi-woon Il-gop Sal" has three meanings for parents and grandparents (Yoo, 1990). First, during this time, parents will endure and permit a child's inappropriate behavior (e.g., rough behavior and whining) until formal and rigid education and discipline begin. Second, the parents may have an understanding attitude towards their child's changed behavior and development. As a child grows, the parents may feel proud of him or her, while at the same time miss the baby characteristics. Therefore, for example, when the child expresses constant curiosity or mimics curse words learned from peers, the parents likely would forgive or tolerate this behavior. Their rationale may be that "It is time for the child to show these undesirable behaviors." Third, during this stage the parents may feel strongly that it is time to initiate formal education, gender role education, and disciplined behaviors, as the child may exhibit much rougher behaviors than before. Therefore, this period reflects the parents' i ntegrated emotional expression toward the child's growth (Lee, 1977).

The other six demographic variables of the parents were not associated with identification of emotional and behavioral problems. In particular, there was no influence by gender differences on the parents' identification of emotional and behavioral problems, which is different from two cross-national studies (Weine et al., 1995; Weisz et al., 1987). In those studies with Thai and Chinese children, boys showed higher scores of externalizing behavior (e.g., aggressive problems, delinquent behavior, and attention problems) than girls did. However, the present study result is supported by the studies of Kang (1998) and Matsuura et al. (1993), which showed that gender difference was not related to types of Korean children's emotional and behavioral problems.

Also, the variable of family type was not correlated with the parents' identification of emotional and behavioral problems. This result is inconsistent with two research studies showing significant effects of family type on identification of children's emotional and behavioral problems (Al Awad & Sonuga-Barke, 1992; Hwang & JamesRoberts, 1998). Those studies have suggested that children from extended families, among both Korean and Sudanese children, had a lower incidence of behavior problems. The present result regarding family type may have been different from previous studies, because of the high proportion of nuclear families (81.9%), rather than extended families, participating in this study. However, this result is supported by Kang's study (1998), in which family type was not related to Korean children's emotional and behavioral problem categories, either.

Finally, this study did not indicate significant effects with regard to the number of children, age of parents, gender of parents, and educational level of parents on the parents' identification of children's emotional and behavioral problems, which was consistent with results from two other studies (Kang, 1998; Matsuura et al., 1993). This suggests that the parents of this study responded to their identification of emotional and behavioral problems in 4- to 5-year-old children regardless of these demographic differences.

These findings should be interpreted in light of the study limitations: 1) the pool of parents participating in this were drawn from only two cities, Seoul and Il-san, and so the results of this study cannot be generalized to other geographic areas in Korea; 2) the parents' responses may not be representative of the total population of Korean parents who have 4- to 6-year-old children; and 3) the findings on emotional and behavioral problems may not be necessarily representative of other Asian cultures.

In conclusion, the following points need to be considered for reflecting on the final findings of this study and for future research. First, the purpose of this study was to investigate the extent of these Korean parents' identification of emotional and behavioral problems, emphasizing the frequency of the behavior that was described in each behavior item. According to previous study results, there has been no attempt to investigate parents' concerns about the emotional and behavioral problems by three behavior occurrence conditions or standards (i.e., frequency, intensity, and duration) with Korean children. These standards may influence parents' perceptions of what constitutes an emotional and behavioral problem in children. Therefore, more detailed study is needed to examine the parents' perceptions in terms of these three standards for children's emotional and behavioral problems.

Second, this study used a five-point Likert-scaled survey questionnaire (e.g., strongly disagree, disagree, uncertain, agree, and strongly agree) to elicit the parents' responses to 33 behavior items. However, the results revealed that a high proportion of the parents' responses were "uncertain" throughout the 33 behavior items, which made it difficult to examine the parents' identification of children's emotional and behavioral problems. It seems that the parents may have checked "uncertain" when they felt it was hard to define the behavior as an EBP; or, when they did not want to respond to the question items, they might have responded with "uncertain." Therefore, the researcher recommends using a four-point Likert scale rating for similar studies in the future, leaving out the choice of "uncertain."

Finally, this study showed that three of the parents' demographic variables (e.g., gender, family type, and educational level of the parent) did not significantly predict the extent of the parents' identification of emotional and behavioral problems in 4- to 5-year-old children. Therefore, it is recommended that other types of parents' environmental information (e.g., stressful life events and marital stress) that could contribute to their identification of children's emotional and behavioral problems be considered in future studies.
Table 1

Means and Standard Deviations of Behavior Categories

Behavior category n M SD

Withdrawn behavior 355 3.04 1.04
Anxious behavior 358 2.82 .84
Aggressive behavior 360 2.83 .91
Attention problem 367 2.81 1.16
Physical and eating problem 366 3.13 1.13
Social relationship problem 369 2.94 1.10
Moral problem 364 2.90 1.26
Rule and courtesy problem 355 2.77 .75
Total behavior items 339 2.91 1.02

Note: Response scale: 1=strongly disagree; 2=disagree; 3=uncertain;
4=agree; and 5=strongly agree. Unequal number of cases in each category
is due to missing cases.

Table 2

Frequencies, Percentages, Means, and Standard Deviations of Korean
Parents' Identification of EBPs in 4- to 5-Year-Old Children

Behavior (Total) Gender n SD% D% Un%

Withdrawn behavior
 Q4. Doesn't talk to new friend (366) B 169 23.7 21.9 19.5
 G 197 25.9 19.8 22.3
 Q8. Hardly talks (366) B 171 26.9 11.1 4.7
 G 195 27.2 8.2 7.2
 Q21. Asks mom to do on behalf
 of him/her (367) B 170 18.2 15.9 12.9
 G 197 22.3 15.7 18.8
 Q22. Rarely smiles/eats (368) B 171 21.1 11.7 10.5
 G 197 21.3 9.1 13.7
 Q31. Hardly participates (365) B 170 16.5 12.4 9.4
 G 195 22.1 9.2 7.2

Anxious behavior
 Q3. Mood swings (369) B 170 23.5 11.8 33.5
 G 199 21.1 15.6 30.7
 Q5. Cries a lot (368) B 171 27.5 19.9 11.7
 G 197 24.9 14.7 16.8
 Q12. Imitates baby acts (368) B 170 21.2 20.6 23.5
 G 198 21.7 22.2 22.2
 Q14. Tenses muscles/face (366) B 168 16.7 13.1 26.8
 G 198 17.2 9.1 28.3
 Q17. Cries when something goes
 against will (371) B 173 24.9 19.1 10.4
 G 198 27.3 16.2 11.6

Aggressive behavior
 Q7. Threatens (369) B 173 26.0 10.4 10.4
 G 196 29.1 11.7 3.6
 Q9. Screams when upset (371) B 174 22.4 20.1 13.2
 G 197 23.4 17.3 14.7
 Q15. Destroys things when
 upset (372) B 173 32.9 6.9 4.0
 G 199 30.2 7.0 1.5
 Q19. Fights with friends (370) B 172 25.6 23.3 15.1
 G 198 28.8 19.7 21.7
 Q25. Scratches and bites (368) B 171 31.6 12.3 8.8
 G 197 25.4 10.7 11.7
 Q26. Teases friends (368) B 171 26.9 17.0 16.4
 G 197 24.9 17.8 16.8
 Q29. Not following directions (366) B 169 18.3 24.3 17.2
 G 197 17.8 21.8 25.9
 Q32. Jealous (364) B 168 20.2 23.8 25.0
 G 196 27.0 20.9 25.0

Attention problem
 Q28. Easily distracted (367) B 171 18.1 19.3 25.7
 G 196 20.4 17.9 25.5

Physical and eating problem
 Q6. Tired a lot (366) B 169 11.2 13.0 28.4
 G 197 18.3 13.2 23.4
 Q16. Vomits (369) B 171 22.8 8.8 21.1
 G 198 21.7 8.6 19.2

Social relationship problem
 Q2. Plays alone (371) B 172 18.0 19.8 13.4
 G 199 25.1 18.1 15.6
 Q20. Does not get along (370) B 172 18.0 18.0 8.1
 G 198 20.7 14.1 13.6
Moral problem
 Q11. Not sorry (368) B 171 29.2 15.8 10.5
 G 197 21.8 19.3 18.8
 Q18. Lies (371) B 174 36.2 9.2 8.6
 G 197 34.0 9.1 6.6
 Q27. Steals (369) B 172 36.0 5.8 1.7
 G 197 33.0 4.6 3.6
Rule and courtesy problem
 Q1. Does not share (368) B 172 26.7 20.3 4.1
 G 196 30.1 16.8 6.1
 Q10. Noncompliant (370) B 172 23.3 22.1 19.8
 G 198 20.7 43.9 22.7
 Q13. Yells (371) B 172 37.2 8.1 2.3
 G 199 30.2 9.5 6.5
 Q23. Scorns friends (368) B 171 27.5 12.9 11.1
 G 197 25.9 13.2 11.2
 Q24. Asks too many questions (367) B 171 40.4 13.5 7.0
 G 196 40.8 13.8 11.7
 Q30. Talks back (364) B 169 19.5 17.8 22.5
 G 195 20.0 19.0 19.5
 Q33. Speaks loudly (363) B 169 19.5 16.0 24.9
 G 194 19.6 16.0 23.7

Behavior (Total) A% SA% M SD

Withdrawn behavior
 Q4. Doesn't talk to new friend (366) 34.9 0 2.66 1.19
 31.5 .5 2.61 1.19
 Q8. Hardly talks (366) 41.5 15.8 3.08 1.50
 37.9 19.5 3.14 1.52
 Q21. Asks mom to do on behalf
 of him/her (367) 50.6 2.4 3.03 1.22
 41.6 1.5 2.84 1.23
 Q22. Rarely smiles/eats (368) 40.4 16.4 3.19 1.41
 41.6 14.2 3.18 1.38
 Q31. Hardly participates (365) 47.1 14.7 3.31 1.32
 45.6 15.9 3.24 1.42

Anxious behavior
 Q3. Mood swings (369) 29.4 1.8 2.74 1.17
 30.2 2.5 2.77 1.17
 Q5. Cries a lot (368) 40.9 0 2.66 1.27
 41.1 2.5 2.82 1.28
 Q12. Imitates baby acts (368) 34.7 0 2.72 1.15
 32.8 1.0 2.69 1.17
 Q14. Tenses muscles/face (366) 39.9 3.6 3.01 1.16
 35.4 10.1 3.12 1.24
 Q17. Cries when something goes
 against will (371) 43.4 2.3 2.79 1.30
 41.4 3.5 2.78 1.33

Aggressive behavior
 Q7. Threatens (369) 40.5 12.7 3.03 1.44
 42.3 13.3 2.99 1.50
 Q9. Screams when upset (371) 43.2 .6 2.80 1.24
 41.1 3.6 2.84 1.28
 Q15. Destroys things when
 upset (372) 32.4 23.7 3.07 1.63
 34.7 26.6 3.21 1.63
 Q19. Fights with friends (370) 35.5 .6 2.62 1.22
 28.3 1.5 2.54 1.22
 Q25. Scratches and bites (368) 39.8 7.6 2.80 1.43
 43.1 9.1 3.00 1.39
 Q26. Teases friends (368) 38.0 1.8 2.71 1.27
 37.6 3.0 2.76 1.27
 Q29. Not following directions (366) 39.1 1.2 2.80 1.18
 34.0 .5 2.78 1.12
 Q32. Jealous (364) 31.0 0 2.67 1.12
 26.5 .5 2.53 1.17

Attention problem
 Q28. Easily distracted (367) 36.3 .6 2.82 1.13
 33.7 2.6 2.80 1.18

Physical and eating problem
 Q6. Tired a lot (366) 36.7 10.7 3.22 1.15
 35.0 10.2 3.06 1.27
 Q16. Vomits (369) 33.9 13.5 3.06 1.37
 32.8 17.7 3.16 1.40

Social relationship problem
 Q2. Plays alone (371) 45.3 3.5 2.97 1.23
 39.7 1.5 2.74 1.26
 Q20. Does not get along (370) 53.5 2.3 3.04 1.24
 47.0 4.5 3.01 1.28
Moral problem
 Q11. Not sorry (368) 42.7 1.8 2.72 1.33
 37.6 2.5 2.80 1.23
 Q18. Lies (371) 37.9 8.0 2.72 1.48
 39.6 10.7 2.84 1.50
 Q27. Steals (369) 29.1 27.3 3.06 1.70
 29.4 29.4 3.18 1.68
Rule and courtesy problem
 Q1. Does not share (368) 45.9 2.9 2.78 1.35
 42.9 4.1 2.74 1.38
 Q10. Noncompliant (370) 34.3 .6 2.67 1.19
 12.1 .5 2.28 .94
 Q13. Yells (371) 39.5 12.8 2.83 1.57
 40.2 13.6 2.97 1.50
 Q23. Scorns friends (368) 43.3 5.3 2.86 1.36
 41.6 8.1 2.93 1.38
 Q24. Asks too many questions (367) 30.4 8.8 2.54 1.48
 28.6 5.1 2.43 1.40
 Q30. Talks back (364) 37.3 3.0 2.86 1.20
 40.5 1.0 2.84 1.19
 Q33. Speaks loudly (363) 37.3 2.4 2.87 1.18
 38.7 2.1 2.88 1.19

Note. Response scale: 1 =strongly disagree; 2=disagree; 3=uncertain;
4=agree; and 5=strongly agree. Unequal number of cases in each category
is due to missing cases.

Table 3

T-test for Parent's Identification of Children's EBPs by the Children's
Gender

Item Gender n M SD t

Q1. Does not share Boy 172 2.78 1.35 .28
 Girl 196 2.74 1.38
Q2. Plays alone Boy 172 2.97 1.23 1.71
 Girl 199 2.74 1.26
Q3. Mood swings Boy 170 2.74 1.17 -.27
 Girl 199 2.77 1.17
Q4. Doesn't talk to new friends Boy 169 2.66 1.19 .38
 Girl 197 2.61 1.19
Q5. Cries a lot Boy 171 2.66 1.27 -1.18
 Girl 197 2.82 1.28
Q6. Tired a lot Boy 169 3.22 1.15 1.32
 Girl 197 3.06 1.27
Q7. Threatens Boy 173 3.03 1.44 .29
 Girl 196 2.99 1.50
Q8. Hardly talks Boy 171 3.08 1.50 -.39
 Girl 195 3.14 1.52
Q9. Screams when upset Boy 174 2.80 1.24 -.33
 Girl 197 2.84 1.28
Q10. Noncompliant Boy 172 2.67 1.19 3.46
 Girl 198 2.28 .94
Q11. Not sorry Boy 171 2.72 1.33 -.58
 Girl 197 2.80 1.23
Q12. Imitates baby acts Boy 170 2.72 1.15 .21
 Girl 198 2.69 1.17
Q13. Yells Boy 172 2.83 1.57 -.93
 Girl 199 2.97 1.50
Q14. Tenses muscles/face Boy 168 3.01 1.16 -.91
 Girl 198 3.12 1.24
Q15. Destroys things when upset Boy 173 3.07 1.63 -.81
 Girl 199 3.21 1.63
Q16. Vomits Boy 171 3.06 1.37 -.67
 Girl 198 3.16 1.40
Q17. Cries when something goes
 against him/her Boy 173 2.79 1.30 .10
 Girl 198 2.78 1.33
Q18. Lies Boy 174 2.72 1.48 -.73
 Girl 197 2.84 1.50
Q19. Fights with friends Boy 172 2.62 1.22 .64
 Girl 198 2.54 1.22
Q20. Does not get along Boy 172 3.04 1.24 .27
 Girl 198 3.01 1.28
Q21. Asks mom to do behalf of
 him/her Boy 170 3.03 1.22 1.46
 Girl 197 2.84 1.23
Q22. Rarely smiles/eats Boy 171 3.19 1.41 .07
 Girl 197 3.18 1.38
Q23. Scorns friends Boy 171 2.86 1.36 -.48
 Girl 197 2.93 1.38
Q24. Asks too many questions Boy 171 2.54 1.48 .69
 Girl 196 2.43 1.40
Q25. Scratches and bites Boy 171 2.80 1.44 -1.39
 Girl 197 3.00 1.39
Q26. Teases friends Boy 171 2.71 1.27 -.40
 Girl 197 2.76 1.27
Q27. Steals Boy 172 3.06 1.70 -.68
 Girl 197 3.18 1.68
Q28. Easily distracted Boy 171 2.82 1.13 .15
 Girl 196 2.80 1.18
Q29. Not following directions Boy 169 2.80 1.18 .23
 Girl 197 2.78 1.12
Q30. Talks back Boy 169 2.86 1.20 .22
 Girl 195 2.84 1.20
Q31. Hardly participates Boy 170 3.31 1.32 .49
 Girl 195 3.24 1.42
Q32. Jealous Boy 168 2.67 1.12 1.17
 Girl 196 2.53 1.17
Q33. Speaks loudly Boy 169 2.87 1.18 -.05
 Girl 194 2.88 1.19

Item p

Q1. Does not share .783

Q2. Plays alone .089

Q3. Mood swings .789

Q4. Doesn't talk to new friends .703

Q5. Cries a lot .240

Q6. Tired a lot .187

Q7. Threatens .770

Q8. Hardly talks .697

Q9. Screams when upset .739

Q10. Noncompliant .001 **

Q11. Not sorry .562

Q12. Imitates baby acts .832

Q13. Yells .352

Q14. Tenses muscles/face .361

Q15. Destroys things when upset .421

Q16. Vomits .503

Q17. Cries when something goes
 against him/her .918

Q18. Lies .465

Q19. Fights with friends .522

Q20. Does not get along .786

Q21. Asks mom to do behalf of
 him/her .147

Q22. Rarely smiles/eats .944

Q23. Scorns friends .630

Q24. Asks too many questions .488

Q25. Scratches and bites .166

Q26. Teases friends .686

Q27. Steals .498

Q28. Easily distracted .884

Q29. Not following directions .815

Q30. Talks back .824

Q31. Hardly participates .625

Q32. Jealous .242

Q33. Speaks loudly .959

Note. Bold item shows significantly different item.

** p < .01.

Table 4.1

Multiple Regression Analysis for Withdrawn Behavior Category

Independent variable B SE B [beta] t p

Age of child
4 -1.08 .53 -.41 -2.02 .04 *
5 -.84 .52 -.41 -1.62 .11
6 -.94 .53 -.42 -1.79 .08
Contant 3.98 2.43 1.64 .10

F = 1.39; df = 24/337; Multiple R = 31; R Square = .10; * p <.05.

Table 4.2

Stepwise Multiple Regression Analysis for Withdrawn Behavior Category

Independent variable B SE B [beta] t p

Father's occupation
 Service; Sales .31 .13 .13 2.35 .02 *
Mother's occupation
 National officer
 Administrator
 Professional -.52 .23 -.13 -2.27 .02 *
Constant 3.3 .25 13.3 00

F = 5.58; df = 2/337; Multiple R = .18; R Square = .03; * p <.05.

Table 4.3

Multiple Regression Analysis for Social Relationship Problem Category

Independent variable B SE B [beta] t p

Mother's occupation
 National officer
 Administrator
 Professional -.62 .30 -.13 -2.06 .04 *
Constant 3.51 2.67 1.32 .19

F = .77; df = 24/350; Multiple R = .23; R Square = .05; * p<.05

Table 4.4

Multiple Regression Analysis for Rule and Courtesy Problem Category

Independent variable B SE B [beta] t p

Mother's occupation
 National officer
 Administrator
 Professional -.42 .21 -.13 -2.02 .04 *
Constant 4.15 1.83 2.27 .02

F = .73; df = 24/338; Multiple R = .23; R Square = .05; * p <.05.


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