Out of the picture: A study of family drawings by children from step-, single-parent, and non-step families

J Dunn, T G O'Connor, I Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Investigated the family drawings of 180 children ages 5 to 7 years in various family settings, including stepfather, single-parent, complex stepfamilies, and 2-parent control families. The relations of family type and biological relatedness to omission of family members and grouping of parents were examined. Children from step- and single-parent families were more likely to exclude family members than children from "control" non-step families, and exclusion was predicted from biological relatedness. Children who were biologically related to both resident parents were also more likely to group their parents together. Omission of family members was found to be associated with children's adjustment (specifically more externalizing and internalizing behavior) as reported by teachers and parents. The results indicate that biological relatedness is a salient aspect of very young children's representations of their families. The association between adjustment and exclusion of family members and grouping of parents indicates that family drawings may be useful research and clinical tools, when used in combination with other methods of assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505 - 512
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Volume31
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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