Conditions of life and parental values

Ailsa Burns*, Ross Homel, Jacqueline Goodnow

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    The study constitutes an expansion of Kohn's work on social class and parental values, in two directions: firstly a search for value dimensions other than Kohn's self‐direction/conformity; and secondly, an investigation of three aspects of social structure: immigrant status, quality of neighbourhood and housing type. Data were collected from parents of 305 9–11‐year‐olds resident in Sydney. Kohn's parental values instrument was used, but analysed using a multivariate linear model rather than the traditional way (factor analysis followed by a univariate multiple regression). Immigrant status, neighbourhood quality, family income, child's sex and street type all predicted particular parental value sets. Non Anglo immigrnts differed from other groups in their strong emphasis on school performance, sex role performance and sibling relations. Parents in higher quality neighbourhoods put greater value on children's sociability than did those in higher risk neighbourhoods. Self‐control, school performance and neatness/cleanliness were favoured by middle income families. Parents living in industrial/commercial streets devalued school performance, achievement striving and curiosity. Parental occupation and education did not have significant predictive power over and above the contribution of these variables. Reanalysis of the data using Kohn's factor analytic procedure gave the traditional self‐direction/conformity factor, but immigrant status, quality of neighbourhood and income continued to explain more variance than occupation or education. Implications of the findings are discussed. 1984 Australian Psychological Society

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)219-237
    Number of pages19
    JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1984


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