The Parental Child-Rearing Attitudes Test

The Falender and Mehrabian Parental Child-Rearing Attitudes scales are offered here primarily for research use by students. In the event they are employed in clinical settings or for any other purposes, it is strongly advised that findings based on the present instruments be checked against additional data from alternative tests and interview materials.

Contact Prof. Mehrabian regarding the test manual.
Falender and Mehrabian (1980) developed an emotion-based general framework for assessing parental attitudes toward child-rearing practices. In that approach, parental attitudes are viewed as constituting an "Emotional Climate" within which children are reared. Furthermore, the latter emotional climate is described very generally using the PAD Emotional State Model (Mehrabian, 1995).

The PAD Emotion Model
The theoretical rationale and experimental foundations for the PAD Emotional State Model have been detailed by Mehrabian (1980, 1995). You'll find detailed information about the model at:

The PAD Emotion Scales and Model
Briefly, the model consists of three nearly independent dimensions that are used to describe and measure emotional states: pleasure-displeasure, arousal-nonarousal, and dominance-submissiveness (or PAD). "Pleasure-displeasure" distinguishes the positive-negative affective quality of emotional states, "arousal-nonarousal" refers to a combination of physical activity and mental alertness, and "dominance- submissiveness" is defined in terms of control versus lack of control.

Specific terms describing emotions can be visualized as points in a three-dimensional PAD emotion space. Alternatively, when the PAD scale scores are standardized, each emotion term can be described succinctly in terms of its values on the pleasure-displeasure, arousal-nonarousal, and dominance- submissiveness axes. The following sample ratings illustrate definitions of various emotion terms when scores on each PAD scale range from -1 to +1: angry (-.51, .59, .25), bored (-.65, -.62, -.33), curious (.22, .62, -.01), dignified (.55, .22, .61), elated (.50, .42, .23), hungry (-.44, .14, -.21), inhibited (-.54, -.04, -.41), loved (.87, .54, -.18), puzzled (-.41, .48, -.33), sleepy (.20, -.70, -.44), unconcerned (-.13, -.41, .08), violent (-.50, .62, .38).

Thus, according to ratings given for "angry," it is a highly unpleasant, highly aroused, and moderately dominant emotional state. "Sleepy" consists of a moderately pleasant, extremely unaroused, and moderately submissive state, whereas "bored" is composed of highly unpleasant, highly unaroused, and moderately submissive components.

The PAD Parental Attitutdes Test Features
The Parental Attitudes Scales consist of three sets of items, with each set providing a single total score for each of the three PAD dimensions. Parents respond to the scales by agreeing or disagreeing with a variety of statements bearing on child-rearing practices (e.g., "Taking a few minutes to just be with my child helps me relax," "I don't believe in catering to my child's demands," "I leave my child with a lot of different people, so he gets used to change").

The Parental Attitudes Scales are intended primarily for experimental use. In the event they are used in clinical or applied settings, it is strongly advisable that findings based on the present instrument be checked against additional data from alternative tests and interview materials.

Falender, C.A., & Mehrabian, A. (1980). The emotional climate for children as inferred from parental attitudes. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 40, 1033-1042.

Mehrabian, A. (1980). Basic dimensions for a general psychological theory: Implications for personality, social, environmental, and developmental studies. Oelgeschlager, Gunn & Hain, Cambridge, MA.

Mehrabian, A. (1995). Framework for a comprehensive description and measurement of emotional states. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 121, 339-361.

Mehrabian, A. (1997). Manual for the PAD Parental Attitudes Scales. (Available from Albert Mehrabian, 1130 Alta Mesa Road, Monterey, CA, USA 93940).

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