A factorial analysis of families and familial problematic areas based on socioeconomic status




Price, Jeanette M.,1946-

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Purpose: The purpose of this study were to analyze parents who had been classified across income levels, and the problematic areas they verbalized during child-custody investigations at the time of their divorce. It was hypothesized that the higher the family was located on a stratified socioeconomic scale, the more internalized and ideational versus physical and environmental their family problems would become. Methods: Data were recorded from cases found at the Dallas County Juvenile Department. All information was analyzed across the socioeconomic levels--0-$5,000, $5,001-$10,000, $10,001-$20,000, and $20,001 and over gross income per year—to provide a comparative analysis of descriptive factors as well as of familial problematic areas. Findings: 1. Parents tended to be older when they married and separated as income rose, with the length of their marriage generally increasing. Those involved in their first marriage at the time of the custody suit decreased with a rise in income. 2. Average number of children in the custody suit varied between two and three, being slightly less for parents in the highest income group. Ages of children involved tended to rise as income rose. 3. Parents’ educational level rose with a rise in income with parents in the last two income groups tending to have similar higher educational background. 4. Communal effort in employment was noted most in the two middle income groups. The lowest income group followed the highest income group in “Fathers only” being employed. More fathers held positions requiring higher education as income rose with the exception of the highest income group wherein 71 per cent of the fathers could not be classified. 5. Mothers tended to rise in occupational level and in being unemployed as income rose with those in the second income group scoring the lowest percentage of housewives and highest of laborers. Although the hypothesis was not sustained to a significant statistical degree, the following trends were found: 1. Child-centered problems, Sexual difficulties, and Parental strife were the three main areas of complaints for fathers with the order of importance varying with income level. Fathers in the third income group included Emotional instability in their chief complaints. More mothers reported Child-centered problems, Financial difficulties, Parental strife, and Sexual difficulties in all groups with the order of importance varying with income. Emotional instability was a major complaint in the highest income group. 2. Percentages of parents giving similar complaints varied across income levels. The percentage of fathers versus mothers within an income level giving the complaints was often discrepant. 3. Both parents’ complaints in the combined allegation groups showed a split between the two lower and two higher income levels: Child-centered problems were reported most frequently in all groups, and Parental strife and Sexual difficulties exchanged second and third place between the groups. Financial difficulties scored in fourth place in the two lower groups with Emotional instability holding that position in the two higher groups. 4. The third income group scored significantly in excepting to the hypothesis such that, although the hypothesis tended to be supported, it could not be unconditionally accepted. 5. Children were the major focal point of discussion in the child-custody cases studied. More specific and less general information was needed in some areas of parental background as well as in the areas of parental and familial problems.