Current Projects

Explicit Attitudes Toward the One and Two-Child Family: We have been creating an instrument to assess attitudes toward one and two-child families, in order to identify beliefs and values that underlie the motivation for these two family sizes. Most Americans and Texans think that having two children is the right number, yet many stop at one child. While economic stress may discourage many parents from having a second child, our research focuses on additional differences that may directly influence the experiences of only children as they grow up. In terms of education, the research literature about only children in the U.S. and China indicates that they are more educationally successful than their peers, especially those with many siblings.  So far, our research indicates that one cause for this advantage may be the special characteristics of parents of one child, who may feel disadvantaged economically, but value education highly. These parents stop at one child in order to ensure the educational success of their child. In addition, we plan to consider implicit attitudes about the one and two child family, unconscious motivations that may promote one or two child families.

Historically, only children and their parents have been perceived negatively.  In China, for example, only children have been stereotyped as Little Emperors, who are assumed to be egocentric and helpless. In order to examine the validity of this view, we published a review of the Chinese research about psychopathology and only children. Below is an abstract from this study.