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Judging development and sexual identity in children's art

This study identified selected characteristics of sexual identity and artistic development using 481 pictures from a collection of 1,008 pictures drawn by first through fourth grade males and females. The pictures were collected by the E. C. Brown Trust Foundation to study children’s concepts of reproduction. Three general hypotheses were developed: 1. Sex differences are observable in children's art; II. There are observable differences in artistic development as grade level changes; III. Observations by social workers of content in children's art are reliable. From a search of the literature, certain variables were identified, including content, use of color, and aspects of form, space, and execution. Hypotheses stating that these vary in relation to grade level and sex were developed to be tested. Data were collected by means of a pretested schedule. A sample of sixty pictures was viewed by each of five observers, independently and blind. Data were transcribed and evaluated using tests of reliability and association. The findings indicated that differences related to sex and grade level of the artist can be observed with statistical reliability by social workers. Three factors affected the interpretation of the findings: a number of uncontrolled variables; the absence of norms of children’s art verified by research against which to measure findings; and the relatively low reliability of judgment. Implications for social work are mainly cautionary. Art is such a complex and subjective matter that until parameters have been established by research, its use as a tool for evaluating human behavior cannot be recommended.
Date01 May 1969
CreatorsDietsche, Susan Lathrop, Fenske, Helen Lieberman, Jones, Robert A., Loy, Robert D., Smith, Robert L.
Source SetsPortland State University
Detected LanguageEnglish
SourceDissertations and Theses

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