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Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1969. Department of Sociology.


Copyright 1969, the author. Used by permission.


This research investigated the socialization of achievement motivation among educable mentally retarded boys.Primary concern was with strength of sons’ n Achievement in relation to age of mothers’ expectations; secondary emphasis was placed upon social class background in relation to both achievement value orientations and achievement motivation.

The pattern of acquisition of n Achievement among the mentally retarded was found, as predicted in the first hypothesis, to be similar to that of normal boys.That is, mothers of retarded boys with high achievement motivation tended to expect achievement and independence from their sons at earlier ages than did mothers of sons scoring lower in n Achievement.

The second hypothesis stated that mothers of working-class boys would impose expectation at later ages than would mothers of middle-class boys.Results were in the predicted direction, though weak.These data indicate that while motivation to achieve is similar to middle- and working-class boys, achievement orientation differs; achievement training is stressed in the middle-class, independence training in the working-class.

The third hypothesis predicted higher achievement motivation among middle-class boys than among working-class boys.This hypothesis was rejected as a slight inverse relationship prevailed between social class and strength of n Achievement.Apparently, middle-class mothers continue to do things for their sons after working-class mothers have begun expecting the boys to do these things on their own.

The last hypothesis predicted higher achievement value scores among middle-class boys than among working-class boys.Though the expected trends were present, the association was weak.The greatest difference between boys from middle- and working-class backgrounds was the predominant future-orientation of middle-class boys and present-orientation of those from working-class families.

Advisor: Richard L. Meile