The effects of family authority structure and socioeconomic status on field independence

Ann E. Maceachron, Leopold W. Gruenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Previous research suggests that paternal family authority structures (FAS) and higher socioeconomic status backgrounds (SES) are associated with field independence (FI), an individual differences variable referencing analytical cognitive style. The common conceptual ground between FAS and SES is that both provide the stable, differentiated environments believed to be implicated in the development of FI. The main question of the present study is whether FAS and SES are loosely coupled in the environment and thus have a separate impact on FI, or whether they form a cluster and thus have an overlapping impact on FI. The Ss were 50 American females on a hospital nursing staff. FI was measured by the Portable Rod-and-Frame Test, SES by Ss education and other background variables, and FAS by six items from Bronfenbrenner and Devereux's FAS measure. The results indicate that both FAS and SES had a direct but separate impact on FI. The results also indicate that specific areas of FAS and SES were particularly important in predicting FI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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