Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Special Education

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Patterson

Second Advisor

Dr. Alonzo Hannaford

Third Advisor

Dr. Lewis Walker

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Benjamin Wilson


This study compared the self-concept of Black males residing in father-present and father-absent low socioeconomic status homes, who were between the ages of 8-12, and who were enrolled in emotionally impaired, or regular education classes. Literature indicated that since 1970, the number of children reared in one-parent homes has increased by over 60%, with over 90% of these children living with their mothers. This changing lifestyle has prompted researchers to investigate the effects of father-absence on children; especially on boys.

It was hypothesized that self-concept would be influenced by father status, chronological age, and class placement. These three independent variables resulted in a total of eight comparison groups. Black male students with chronological ages between 8-12 years from two school districts were identified. From this population a total of 80 were randomly selected for study. Two students were selected for each of the eight comparison groups.

All subjects were administered the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale. A three-way analysis of variance was performed on the total self-concept scores, and on the six Piers-Harris self-concept components. It was found that Black males in regular education had a significantly higher self-concept than Black males in emotionally impaired classes, regardless of father status or their age. Analyses of the self-concept component scores revealed significantly lower self-concepts for the emotionally impaired in the areas of Behavior, Anxiety, and Popularity, regardless of father status or chronological age.

On the basis of this evidence, it was concluded that neither father-presence nor chronological age significantly affected the total or the dimensional self-concepts of the Black male students. Rather, class placement was the only variable that produced a significant effect on the children's self-concepts.

Further research was recommended to identify other factors which may affect self-concept. These include: teacher perceptions of a child's self-concept, home environment (extended families and surrogate fathers), community factors, and the quality of contact that a child has with his father.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access