The efficacy of verbal self-instruction as a parent training mode

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Herbert M. Dandes - Committee Chair


Modeling which is a powerful teaching method, has not been utilized or given sufficient attention in the field of parent training. One procedure which incorporates the major components of observational learning through modeling, including attention, retention, behavior production and motivation is verbal self-instruction. Verbal self-instruction is a method used to develop self-control in children. Compliance has been theorized to be the first step in developing self-control in the child. This study tested the hypothesis that mothers who taught their children specific and overt behaviors through the use of verbal self-instruction would also reduce noncompliance in their children.Thirty mother-child pairs were selected based on two criteria. Mothers had to score at least one standard deviation above the mean on the nurturance scale of the Adjective Check List. Children were in the 6 to 7 year old age range and had to exhibit at least 50% noncompliance to maternal commands. Fifteen mother-child pairs were assigned to an experimental group and 15 were assigned to a no treatment control group. Mothers in the experimental group were taught the verbal self-instruction procedure. It was found that mothers could learn to use this procedure while following a script and could teach their children specific and overt tasks through the use of this method. However, there was no difference in rates of noncompliance between children whose mothers were taught verbal self-instruction and those of children whose mothers did not receive self-instruction training. Mothers could not generalize this procedure as it applied to a different task. Mothers perceived the program to be effective for dealing with their child's problem behaviors.


Psychology, Clinical

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