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Perceived actions of parents and attitudes of youth.

In 1988, Parish reported that perceived loving actions by parents were significantly correlated with college students' self-concepts, but not their evaluations of parents. In that study, parents' actions toward one another were surveyed on the Love/Hate Checklist (see Parish, 1988), which consists of 45 "loving" and 45 "hateful" alphabetically arranged adverbs, from which the respondent selects 25 that best describe how one parent acts toward the other. To assess self-concepts and evaluations of parents, the Personal Attribute Inventory (see Parish, Bryant, & Shirazi, 1976) was used. It consists of 50 positive and 50 negative alphabetically arranged adjectives, from which the respondent selects 30 that best describe the target person in question.

The Pearson correlation between how fathers were perceived to act toward mothers and the respondents' self-concepts was highly significant (r = .61, p |is less than~ .01), and the correlation between how mothers were perceived to act toward fathers and the respondents' self-concepts was also statistically significant (r = .58, p |is less than~ .01). As noted, however, college students' scores on the Love/Hate Checklist regarding fathers' actions toward mothers, and vice versa, were not found to be significantly correlated with how they evaluated their mothers or their fathers, according to their descriptions of them on separate forms of the Personal Attribute Inventory.
Table 1
Summary of Demographic Data
High School Level
 Fr. So. Jr. Sr. Total
Males 8 16 20 19 63
Females 17 28 40 26 111

These findings were thought to be consistent with Raschke and Raschke's (1979) contention that individuals' self-concepts are likely to be diminished where conflict prevails between parents, but that such individuals are likely to continue to love their parents whether or not their parents mistreated them or each other. The present study sought to determine whether Parish's (1988) findings would be replicated in a sample of high school students.


A total of 174 students from a midwestern high school voluntarily participated in the present study (see Table 1 for demographic data regarding this sample). These students were asked to complete, in a counterbalanced fashion, two forms of the Revised Love/Hate Checklist, which consists of 20 "loving" and 20 "hateful" alphabetically arranged adverbs, from which the respondents check 10 that best describe (1) how their father acts toward their mother, and (2) how their mother acts toward their father. This revised version of the Love/Hate Checklist was derived from the original Love/Hate Checklist (Parish, 1988), and is composed of adverbs that high school youth have been found to readily comprehend. Respondents also filled out three forms of the Personal Attribute Inventory (PAI; Parish et al., 1976) in order to ascertain their (1) self-concepts, (2) evaluations of mothers, and (3) evaluations of fathers. After all surveys were completed, the respondents were asked to provide information regarding their gender and year in high school.


Pearson product-moment correlations between respondents' Revised Love/Hate Checklist scores and their PAI scores are presented in Table 3. As shown in Table 3, the findings from the present study differ greatly from those reported by Parish (1988). Specifically, Parish (1988) found that college students' self-concepts correlated significantly with the perceived actions of their parents, but that was not the case here for high school students. In addition, Parish (1988) reported no significant correlations between parents' actions toward each other and college students' evaluations of them, but in the present study it was revealed that fathers' actions toward mothers and mothers' actions toward fathers were significantly related to how both fathers and mothers were evaluated by high school students.
Table 2
Revised Love/Hate Checklist
Please read through this list and select exactly 10 words which
seem to best describe how your father (mother) acts toward your
mother (father). Indicate your selection by placing an X in the
appropriate space next to each word.
----- Abusively (01) ----- Insensitively (21)
----- Accusingly (02) ----- Lively 22)
----- Appreciatively (03) ----- Loyally (23)
----- Backbitingly (04) ----- Miserably (24)
----- Badly (05) ----- Nastily (25)
----- Belovedly (06) ----- Negatively (26)
----- Blessedly (07) ----- Peacefully (27)
----- Coldly (08) ----- Pleasingly (28)
----- Cruelly (09) ----- Pleasurably (29)
----- Damnably (10) ----- Praisingly (30)
----- Delightfully (11) ----- Rudely (31)
----- Discouragingly (12) ----- Sweetly (32)
----- Faithfully (13) ----- Terribly (33)
----- Fantastically (14) ----- Thankfully (34)
----- Gently (15) ----- Thoughtfully (35)
----- Happily (16) ----- Trustingly (36)
----- Harshly (17) ----- Truthfully (37)
----- Impolitely (18) ----- Unappreciatively (38)
----- Inconsiderably (19) ----- Violently (39)
----- Inhumanely (20) ----- Wonderfully (40)


To explain why these findings differ so much from one another is beyond the scope of the present study. More research is needed to determine if these differences are merely reflective of the samples surveyed, or are indicative of developmental shifts that occur as individuals move from adolescence to adulthood. Nevertheless, it is important for teachers, counselors, and parents who are seeking to understand adolescents or young adults to be aware of these contrasting results.


Parish, T. S. (1988). The Love/Hate Checklist: A preliminary report. Psychological Reports, 63, 67-70.

Parish, T. S., Bryant, W., & Shirazi, A. (1976). The Personal Attribute Inventory. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 42, 715-720.

Raschke, H. J., & Raschke, V. J. (1979). Family conflicts and children's self-concepts: A comparison of intact and single-parent families. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 41, 367-374.

James R. Necessary, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana.

Reprint requests to Thomas S. Parish, Ph.D., Professor, Counselor Education and Educational Psychology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506.
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Author:Parish, Thomas S.; Necessary, James R.
Date:Mar 22, 1993
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