Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smidchens

Second Advisor

Dr. Carol Sheffer

Third Advisor

Dr. Stan Olson


The single-parented child has become a focal point of attention for many educators. Concomitant to the increase in the number of children coming from families that have experienced divorce of parents is an increase in the number of professional persons who have experienced divorce as adults. The nation's schools are becoming more populated with single-parented children, and are being taught by teachers who are divorced or have experienced divorce.

The problem presented in this study questions if the interaction of the marital status of the teacher (divorced or married) and the status of the child (single-parented or dual-parented) will affect the teacher's perception of the child's behavior.

Forty-eight teachers observed a video tape of two preschool-aged children. Using a rating scale, teachers assessed the behaviors of the children on the basis of the frequency and intensity of expression of each of twelve different behaviors. The role of each child was allowed to vary from that of a single-parented child to that of a dual-parented child. In this study, single-parented was due to the divorce of parents. Teachers were both married and divorced and acted as the observers/raters. Two-way fixed effects analysis of the variance was used in the analysis of the mean scores for the ratings of each behavior.

The researcher concludes that the marital status of the teacher, as well as the status of the child, both single and dual parented, contributes to the difference in the way that children are perceived by teachers. The tendency appears to be that teachers, regardless of their marital status, perceive single-parented children differently than they perceive dual-parented children. It is also evident that the marital status of the teacher affects the perception of the behaviors of both types of children. Although observed only once in this research, the combined interaction of the marital status of the teacher and the parental status of the child occurs resulting in a difference in the perception of the child's behavior by the teacher.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access