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Richmond, W. (1934). The Development of Mental Health in a Group of Young Children. An Analysis of Factors in Purposeful Activity. By Elizabeth Skelding Moore, University of Iowa. Studies in Child Welfare, Vol. IV, No. 6, July 15, 1931.. Psychoanal. Rev., 21(1):114-115.

(1934). Psychoanalytic Review, 21(1):114-115

The Development of Mental Health in a Group of Young Children. An Analysis of Factors in Purposeful Activity. By Elizabeth Skelding Moore, University of Iowa. Studies in Child Welfare, Vol. IV, No. 6, July 15, 1931.

Review by:
Winifred Richmond

This monograph reports a study carried out in the pre-school laboratories of the Iowa Child Welfare Research Station during the years 1926-27-28. Fifty-one children, two, three and four years of age were the subjects, children of the professional and student class, coming from homes whose income was adequate for the child's physical development. The study sought to discover the motives of young children, how they develop and are affected by the environment and what is the effect of their increasing integration upon the child's mental health. Since all the aspects of personality could scarcely be taken into account, the study was limited to the five “basic “aspects—initiative, creative ability, perseverance, poise and friendliness, though these are not assumed to be of greater importance than other aspects of child behavior. Five methods of approach were used—the controlled experiment, rating of the child's behavior by adults familiar with him, checking of the teacher's reaction to the child's need, observation in the schoolroom and home visits. The terms were carefully defined and the inductive method was followed so that the observer might avoid the pitfall of seeing only what she was looking for. The data were analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Briefly summarized the results are as follows:

Children of two and three years of age have already established widely different behavior patterns in respect to the personality traits studied. In addition there was a tendency for some children to deviate more than others on many items of behavior and for the child who had difficulty in one field to have difficulty in another. This would indicate, instead of specific conditioning, a general tendency toward difficulty in adjustment.

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