Re: child relations test

Mon, 20 Jun 1994 18:37:07 -0500 (CDT)

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Subj: child relations test

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Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 16:08:53 +0100 (BST)
From: Andrew Parkin <>
Subject: child relations test
To: (Personal-Construct Psychology)
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Hello, I have been particularly interested in the debate on the
application of group measurements to indiviuals. I would be grateful
for on comments in this or others areas that relate to my research.

I am a clincial research fellow in child psychiatry and am
developing a test to assess the child's perception of emotional
relationships with important people in his/her life (such as friends
and other family members). A computer programmer and I are developing
software, programmed in C to run on DOS-based machine. Using this the
child can choose figures to represent important people in his/her life
and "give" or "post" answers to these people to questions about the
emotional aspects of relationships. In this way a grid is produced of
the child's responses to the questions for each family member / friend.

The questions will concern the quality and direction of different
emotions. For instance who the child loves and who the child beleives
loves them; towards whom the child feels anger / hate / etc. Now, this
pattern will clearly vary a lot and in itself may not tell us much
about the patterns of emotional relationships in children who, say,
develop emotional disorders compared with those who do not.

There will be additional questions asking the child if he/she would
like things to be different to how they are currently. My hypothesis
is that there will be a diffence between children with and children
without emotional problems with respect to whether they would like the
emotional content of important relationships to be different.

This is going to be very complex to analyse given that the number of
important people that each child chooses to include is going to vary.
However, the test is effectively measuring a difference and so
variations in the number of people the child chooses will cancel out.

I would be very grateful for any comments that anyone might have and
will be pleased to give more information about the proposed test should
you need it.

Andrew Parkin: Greenwood Institute of Child Health, Univ. of Leicester, UK.

Dear Andy:

This is a fascinating research problem. Let me encourage you to pursue it
whether or not the following suggestions are helpful.

I presume, although I am not sure, that the matrix of responses of the child
client/subject are binary, i.e., 1 and 0, or yes and no, or check and void. If
not, e.g., if on a broader rating scale, they could be transformed to a binary
dimension by collapsing. Assuming, then, this binary matrix, I would suggest
that one additional binary variable be added which was not part of the child's
responses, i.e., whether this child did or did not have emotional problems, yes
or no.

Then, I would suggest applying de Boeck (Louvan, Belgium) & Rosenberg's
(Rutgers University) HICLAS analysis to the matrix. This yields an
hierarchical cluster analysis to each individual child's protocol. In addition
to the obvious interest in how these responses are grouped and hierarchically
arranged in the HICLAS analysis, it will also be of interest whether the
identification of the child as with or without emotional problems relates to
the hierarchical structure. My hunch is that the clusters which are
independent of the added variable will be of as much or more interest as the
variables which indeed bear upon the presence or absence of disturbance.

If you are not familiar with de Boeck's HICLAS program, I suspect you can get
the most recent version from Paul de Boeck (perhaps also from Seymour
Rosenberg). I do not have the addresses handy.

Best wishes for your good research progress.

Rue L. Cromwell

University of Kansas, where else?