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Research Grant Recipients

a. Please click on the dissertation titles to view abstracts of completed studies.

b. If you would like to view the full dissertation, please refer to the libraries of the respective institutions.

Name Title of Dissertation Dissertation No. Year of Award Institution
Teoh Zheng Yong Timothy Parental perceptions of physical punishment in Singapore Ongoing 2016 NUS
Tan Sok Ping Pauline The effect of conceptions of adolescence on children's adjustment: An intervention study Ongoing 2016 NUS
Lam Li Ting Yvonne Cognitive and linguistic processing in bilingual children Ongoing 2016 NUS
Elizabeth Jane Teh Ning Yen Cognitive-processing and verbal expression of social and emotional information in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) Ongoing 2016 NUS
Melinda Tan Meizhen A Pilot Intervention Study on a Truncated Organisational Skills Training Programme for Children with ADHD in Singapore Ongoing 2015 NIE
Amanda Tang Jing Qing Effect of reward pedagogies and reward type on reading motivation of students 111 2015 NUS
Fu Siling Charlene Growing up bilingual in Singapore Ongoing 2015 NUS
Ho Weng Siong Attitudes and usage of corporal punishment as a disciplinary tool in Singapore: The moderating role of maternal warmth and normativeness of corporal punishment 119 2015 NUS
Tan Wan Qian Parents’ expectations and children’s academic achievement: The mediating role of academic self-concept and stress 118 2015 NUS
Tok Kheng Leng An exploratory study on the characteristics of parent-child relationship among low-income families that promote children’s academic success 117 2015 NUS
Felicia Poh Lay Sin Perceptual switching in bilingual infants: Effects of language contextual cues on word learning involving tones 115 2014 NUS
Boennarti Budiman Associations among children teachers' likelihood of intervention, teaching style and bystander role behaviours in bullying situations 110 2014 NUS
Cai Yiming Sleep Hygiene of Lower Primary School Children 112 2014 NUS
Wang Liwen Joelle & Tay Zhi Wen Discrimination of lexical tones in bilingual and monolingual infants & Novel word learning in monolingual and bilingual infants: Effects of phonemic and non-phonemic variations 113 & 114 2014 NUS
Fu Siling Charlene The effects of bilingualism on early language development in Singapore Ongoing 2014 NUS
Oh Hsu Wei Promoting acceptance of young children with special needs among preschoolers in Singapore 116 2014 NIE
Tay Si Hui Deborah Do grandparenting styles moderate the effect of parenting styles on child psychosocial outcomes? 108 2014 NUS
Tan Bee Li Mindfulness, cognition and behaviour regulation among adolescents in Singapore Ongoing 2014 NIE
Lee Si Min Stephanie Developmental antecedents of perfectionism in middle childhood 107 2014 NUS
Elizabeth Boeun Kim Swimming with or against the tide: A look at Singaporean children's moral judgments Summary Available 2014 University of California, Irvine
Phua Ka Yin Phyllis The Strawberry Generation: Parenting and Hardiness 97 2013 NUS
Ngiam Xin Ying Profile of Inpatient Cases of Child Maltreatment Syndrome 105 2013 NUH
Quah Soo Li Predictors of quality of life in children with epilepsy 109 2013 NUS
Cheryl Goh Grade differences in children's problem behaviour during adolescence: Role of children's resistance to peer influence and conceptions of adolescence 104 2013 NUS
Kwan Kah Mei Rhoda Factors Influencing the Prevalence of Bilingualism amongst the Special Needs Population: An Exploratory Study 106 2013 NUS
Wah Li Ting Effects of Different Classroom Reward Pedagogies on Students' Academic Performance and Prosocial Behaviour 103 2013 NUS
Eunice Tan Zhengyi Decision-making Autonomy and Emotional Functioning during Adolescence: Role of Children's Expectation 102 2013 NUS
Chan Wan Ling Gina Parents' relationship with siblings of children with autism 94 2012 NUS
Chee Li Ping Oversized loads – children adultification in low-income families and the underlying parent-child dynamics 95 2012 NUS
Zhou Yu Qi Children’s language skills and story-telling abilities 99 2012 NUS
Wong Hui Mei An Exploratory Study on the Dynamics of Relationship Between Parent and Child Diagnosed With Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 89 2012 NUS
Ang Seow Li Does age of entry into childcare make a difference in developmental outcomes? Examining differences in literacy skills, school readiness and creativity in the context of Singapore 98 2012 NUS
Samuel Chng Chong Wei Parental weight talk: Relationship with gender, body satisfaction and eating behaviour in young Singaporean adults 93 2012 JCU
Goh Mei Fang Parental perceptions and management of sleep difficulties in Singaporean school-aged children: An exploratory mixed-methods approach 92 2012 NUS
Chan Yee Pei Investigating the effects of perceptual processing on visual working memory in individuals with autism: An event-related potential study Ongoing 2012 NTU
Zhan Siran Connecting cool & hot executive function in Asian preschoolers 90 2011 Former SMU
Teo Qiqian Beating the bully: A study of violent video games and cognitive restructuring 86 2011 NTU
Oh Hui Cheng Yvette Child care arrangements, parent-child relationship and personality variables in preschool and undergraduate samples 87 2011 NUS
Natasha Riard The links between after-school time use and psychological wellbeing in Asian adolescents: The role of social context, school satisfaction, academic stress from expectations, and achievement level 101 2011 JCU
Zhang Yinghui Lisa Ann Participate roles in school bullying and personality in a Singapore sample 96 2011 NUS
Cheung Hoi Shan The influence of maternal sensitivity, shyness, and language ability on preschoolers’ likability 100 2010 NUS
Cheng Xue Mei Sarah The role of caregiver communication in mediating the effect of multi-modal intervention on the communicative abilities of children with down syndrome 77 2010 NUS
Penny Tok Siew Leng Why aren’t children with Autism using their Language skills to solve problems? 91 2010 Victoria University of Wellington
Ong Jiehan Examining the influence of cognitive abilities on medication adherence in children with asthma 85 2009 NUS
Kwek Shu Ping Christine Treatment adherence in pediatric asthma 84 2009 NUS
Xue Jing Justine Demands, Capabilities and Positive Meanings associated with the Experience of Raising a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Exploratory Study of Families in Singapore 80 2009 NUS
Ang Amanda The effects of attributional style on the type of aggression displayed 82 2009 NUS
Norshahidah Aziz Mothering ideologies: An exploratory study of why mothers work 79 2009 NTU
Tan Sulin An examination of factors influencing help-seeking attitudes of Singapore adolescents 81 2009 NTU
Tan Cheng Yong The influence of Chinese Confucian parenting attitudes on children’s self-efficacy beliefs 83 2008 NIE
Chia Seow Cheng Eunice Women as the primary caregiver: A study of mother care patterns in Singapore 72 2008 NTU
Heng Mei Ling Madeline Reliability and Validity of the PedsQL™ 4.0 Generic Core Scales in Healthy School-going Children in Singapore II 71 2008 NUS
Lee Wei Xien Dunstan Teenagers and online harrassment: Application of a protection motivation model 78 2008 NTU
Tan Yee Jia Autism in Singapore: An epidemiology and evaluation of parents’ satisfaction with services 69 2007 NUS
Tan Yah Hui Which aspects of cognitive-linguistic processing constrain English reading comprehension in bilingual children? 75 2007 NIE
Loke Wei Yang Exploring the Relationships among Exposure to Family Violence, Cyberbullying Victimization and Depressive Symptomology among Adolescents 70 2007 NUS
Dr Patricia Tan Families’ experience of harmony and disharmony in systemic psychotherapy and its effects on family life 74 2007 Counselling & Care Centre
Koh Hwan Cui Visual Perception in Autism Spectrum Disorders 76 2007 University of Sheffield, UK
Quek Zhiwei Eugene Getting involved in fathering: A sociological analysis on Singaporean fathers 64 2007 NUS
Sim I Lin Melissa Incarcerated parents: Understanding the home-prison nexus in Singapore 67 2007 NUS
Wu Huizhen Diana Teachers’ experiences in the Integrated Childcare Programme (ICCP) 65 & 66 2007 NUS
Nah Yong Hwee Perception of social norms by children with high functioning autism 63 2006 NIE
Teo Lay Ching Linda Children and video games: An association with aggression, addiction and school grades 68 2006 NTU
Wong Hwee Bee Health-related Quality of Life in children and adolescent in Singapore 88 2006 NUS
Daryl Chow Heng Chean The influence of emotional intelligence on adolescents' problem behaviours and achievement 62 2005 NIE
Jillian-Marie Thomas Breaking away from the “Broken Family”: A sociological study on children of divorce 61 2005 NUS
Ang Xin Ying Bullying in schools: Perceptions, motivations and behaviours 53 & 54 2004 NUS
Grace Ding The determinants of emotional neglect: Perceptions among adolescents in Singapore 73 2004 NIE
Ho Wei Cheng, Benedict Theory of mind in deaf children in Singapore 55 & 56 2004 NUS
Jose Miguel M. Abito Intergenerational transmission of family formation attitudes in Singapore: The role of the father 58, 59 & 60 2004 NUS
Shiau Vee Hueng, Don Becoming a gifted child - The social construction of giftedness in Singapore 49 & 50 2004 NUS
Xie Kaixi Cassy The roles of working husbands and wives in child care: Influence of work characteristics and attitudes 51 & 52 2004 NUS
Ang Lee Hui, Elizabeth Constructs of discipline and punishment in Chinese families in Singapore: Childhood discipline as opposed to child abuse 46 & 48 2003 NUS
Koh Chia Ling When the male breadwinner no longer brings home bread: Exploring the impact of retrenchment on Singapore men and their families 45 & 47 2003 NUS
Chow Yii Mun, Genevieve Singapore youth, television and dating: A reception study 44 & 57 2003 NUS
Chan Teck Wei, Daniel Through the lens of Cooley's looking glass - Perception of Normal (Technical) Stream students 33 & 34 2002 NUS
Ruth Chiam Su-Lynn Resilience of non-delinquent sisters of juvenile delinquent girls 31 & 32 2002 NUS
Lim Hsiu Mei, Jacqueline The race to court: Parental involvement and the experiences of Chinese boys on BPC or Probation Orders 37 & 38 2002 NUS
Poh Chee Ling, Sarah Understanding adolescent girls from low-income families 39 &41 2002 NUS
Syahirah Bte Nazimuddeen The amplification of child abuse among Malays in Singapore: Folk devils, moral panics and institutional response 35 & 36 2002 NUS
Tan Yu Bee Deconstructing and redefining parenthood: A sociological insight into custodial parents’ post-divorce parenting 40 2002 NUS
Teh Chiew Guek Childhood experience of sexual abuse in Singapore 42 &43 2002 NIE
Yeo Li Ling, Selina A study on BPC adolescents and their family patterns 30 2001 NUS
Chan Wei Ling, Wendy Empowering delinquents: A guidance programme groupwork 24 & 25 2000 NUS
Ng Chee Beng, Matthew Violence in male Chinese adolescents: A case study approach 26 & 27 2000 NUS
Tan Peck Woon, Alicia The nurturing roles of grandparents in Chinese families 28 & 29 2000 NUS
Ang Pei Shin Perceptions of fathers’ roles in the family 20 & 21 1999 NUS
Tan Lee Yee, Adeline The impact of frequent business travel on the family in Singapore 22 & 23 1999 NUS
Goh Chin Inn Social Support and behavioural adjustment in children of divorce 16 & 17 1998 NUS
Kenneth Poon Behavioural family intervention in Asia 18 & 19 1998 NUS
Low Hui Ching Children beyond parental control: A follow-up study 14 1995 NUS
Wu Mei Ling The development of a viable youth drop-in centre 13 1995 NUS
Koh Hwee Cheng, Esther An exploratory study of non-custodial fathers of divorce 9 1994 NUS
Eng Peng Peng Factors associated with teenage pregnancy 10 1994 NUS
Lim Ee Ling, Elaine Before-and after-school care: Developing an assessment instrument 11 1994 NUS
Ong Kek Hin, Michael A structural and process analysis of non-clinical families 8 1994 NUS
Udhia Kumar s/o Kumaya Child abusing families: A developmental analysis 12 1994 NUS
Cheng Chai Kiew, Irene A comparative study of the social support networks of low-income families 5 & 7 1993 NUS
Song Li May Effects of parental adjustment to marital separation on children’s adjustment Unavailable 1993 NUS
Chua Lip Tong Cross-generational study of multi-problem families 6 1993 NUS
Year of Grant: 2016
Name of Grant Recipient: Teoh Zheng Yong Timothy
Title of thesis: Parental perceptions of physical punishment in Singapore
Thesis No. Ongoing

+ Abstract

Abstract is unavailable.

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Year of Grant: 2016
Name of Grant Recipient: Tan Sok Ping Pauline
Title of thesis: The effect of conceptions of adolescence on children's adjustment: An intervention study
Thesis No. Ongoing

+ Abstract

Abstract is unavailable.

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Year of Grant: 2016
Name of Grant Recipient: Lam Li Ting Yvonne
Title of thesis: Cognitive and linguistic processing in bilingual children
Thesis No. Ongoing

+ Abstract

Abstract is unavailable.

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Year of Grant: 2016
Name of Grant Recipient: Elizabeth Jane Teh Ning Yen
Title of thesis: Cognitive-processing and verbal expression of social and emotional information in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
Thesis No. Ongoing

+ Abstract

Abstract is unavailable.

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Year of Grant: 2015
Name of Grant Recipient: Melinda Tan Meizhen
Title of thesis: A Pilot Intervention Study on a Truncated Organisational Skills Training Programme for Children with ADHD in Singapore
Thesis No. Ongoing

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Abstract is unavailable.

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Year of Grant: 2015
Name of Grant Recipient: Amanda Tang Jing Qing
Title of thesis: Effect of reward pedagogies and reward type on reading motivation of students
Thesis No. 111

+ Abstract

Differential effects of reward pedagogies (individualistic and cooperative-individualistic) and reward types (book and food) on the reading motivation of students were examined. Motivation to read was measured by task persistence throughout the intervention, and Motivation to Read Profile Questionnaire (MRP) and ratings by their teachers, pre and post intervention. The presence of rewards increased reading motivation as indicated by a drop in task persistence when rewards were withdrawn. Individualistic reward pedagogy resulted in a significant decrease in MRP scores. Teachers’ ratings for motivation increased significantly after rewards intervention and had a significant interaction, with ratings of students individualistic reward pedagogy. The results of this study suggest the use of rewards to increase reading motivation, and cooperative-individualistic pedagogy over individualistic pedagogy. These findings might be applicable to educational settings, especially for supplementary classes that target reading behaviour of students with weak literacy skills and low motivation to read.

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Year of Grant: 2015
Name of Grant Recipient: Fu Siling Charlene
Title of thesis: Growing up bilingual in Singapore
Thesis No. Ongoing

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Abstract is unavailable.

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Year of Grant: 2015
Name of Grant Recipient: Ho Weng Siong
Title of thesis: Attitudes and usage of corporal punishment as a disciplinary tool in Singapore: The moderating role of maternal warmth and normativeness of corporal punishment
Thesis No. 119

+ Abstract

Literature on corporal punishment has revealed a complex system of relationships between the usage of corporal punishment and the parent-child perceptions of its legitimacy. Moderating influences of parental warmth and normativeness of corporal punishment in the culture adds to its complexity. This paper investigated the relationships between parents’ and children’s opinions about corporal punishment, as well as the actual use of it. Moderating effects of child-rated maternal warmth and perceived normativeness of corporal punishment on the relationship between the use of corporal punishment and children’s opinions about it were also investigated. This was done by surveying eighty parent-child dyads independently. Only the child-report of the frequency of corporal punishment received uniquely contributed to children’s opinions about corporal punishment in a simultaneous regression, relative to parent-reports of the frequency of corporal punishment administered and opinions about corporal punishment. This was despite significant bivariate correlations between the aforementioned variables. Significant results were not found for the two moderators. This study highlighted the importance of considering children’s perspectives in corporal punishment research, as well as the need to consider a larger system of variables in order to explicate results to real world settings.

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Year of Grant: 2015
Name of Grant Recipient: Tan Wan Qian
Title of thesis: Parents’ expectations and children’s academic achievement: The mediating role of academic self-concept and stress
Thesis No. 118

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Parents are more involved in their children’s education than before. This study aims to find out if the relationship between parents’ expectations and children’s academic achievement is observed in the Singapore context. It also aims to find out if the relationship is mediated by academic self-concept and stress and moderated by gender. A total of 81 Primary 3 to 5 students and their mothers were recruited through Parent Support Groups (PSGs) and education centres. Parental expectations were measured in terms of expectations for the child’s level of educational attainment, the difference between satisfied score and expected examination score (differential score) as well as the ratings of the child’s ability as compared to their peers (compared scores). Results showed that parents’ expectations significantly predicted better academic achievement over and beyond other variables. Academic self-concept partially mediated the relationship between compared scores and academic achievement whereas gender moderated the relationship between expectations for educational attainment and academic achievement. However, academic stress did not mediate the relationship between parental expectations and academic achievement. The presence of a mediating effect by academic self-concept when parental expectations are measured in terms of compared scores implies that it is advisable for parents to think more highly of their children’s abilities as compared to their peers and avoid expressing negative judgement of their children’s academic abilities relative to their peers.

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Year of Grant: 2015
Name of Grant Recipient: Tok Kheng Leng
Title of thesis: An exploratory study on the characteristics of parent-child relationship among low-income families that promote children’s academic success
Thesis No. 117

+ Abstract

A high proportion of children from low-income families do not succeed academically. Yet, despite the challenges presented by their constrained socioeconomic situations, some children defy the odds to perform well in school – a phenomenon known as academic resilience. Current research is clear that parents play an important role in enabling academic resilience in children, but is silent on (1) what constitutes a strong parent-child relationship and (2) the role of children in achieving academic success. This study aims to provide the insights on the characteristics of parent-child relationships that promote academic success in children from low-income families. Guided by the positive deviance methodology, this study also hopes to unpack the strategies used by children of low-income families to excel in their academics. Six parent-child dyads (n = 12) participated in this study. Mothers and children from low-income families whose children were excelling in their studies are interviewed. Data were grouped into themes and analysed, guided by the Social Relational Theory framework. It was found that strong parent-child relationships constitute mutuality and transparency. The discussion highlights that this strong parent-child relationship creates interesting dynamics; on one hand, it empowers low-income parents to actively generate strategies to be involved in their children’s education; on the other, it grants children a sense of agency to think of strategies to overcome their challenges and achieve academic success. Strategies used by parent and child to enable child’s academic success are also uncovered. These strategies can help other children from low-income families to achieve academic resilience and excel academically.

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Year of Grant: 2014
Name of Grant Recipient: Felicia Poh Lay Sin
Title of thesis: Perceptual switching in bilingual infants: Effects of language contextual cues on word learning involving tones
Thesis No. 115

+ Abstract

Bilinguals learning a tone language and a non-tone language interpret tones differently in each of their languages. In tone languages such as Mandarin Chinese, tones distinguish lexical meaning, whereas in non-tone languages such as English, tone variations do not alter the meaning of words. The ability to interpret tones in a language-specific manner is known as ‘perceptual switching’. This study aimed to investigate whether bilingual infants could capitalise on language cues to engage in perceptual switching for tones when learning the meaning of new words. Thirteen-month-old English-Mandarin bilingual infants and English monolingual infants were taught new words using familiar phrases such as “Look at the (word).” The bilingual infants were taught new words in Mandarin Chinese and in English separately. In the Mandarin context, bilingual infants successfully integrated tones in word representations. In the English context, however, bilingual infants disregarded tone information when learning new words, performing similar to the English monolingual infants. Results revealed that 12-month-old bilinguals utilised tone information according to the language context when learning new words. Findings present preliminary evidence on perceptual switching for tones in bilingual infants, and also suggest bilinguals’ potential in attaining native-like proficiency in their languages.

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Year of Grant: 2014
Name of Grant Recipient: Boennarti Budiman
Title of thesis: Associations among children teachers' likelihood of intervention, teaching style and bystander role behaviours in bullying situations
Thesis No. 110

+ Abstract

This study investigated the relationships between teaching style and student bystander roles in physical, verbal, relational, cyber-verbal and cyber-relational bullying and whether these relationships were moderated by different teaching styles (authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and neglectful). Teacher intervention was hypothesized to have positive associations with student bystander roles that discouraged bullying and negative associations with roles that encourage bullying. These relationships were expected to exist at least in the authoritative teaching style. The data of 98 secondary school students was collected through self-reports and analysed to test these hypotheses. Findings showed associations between teacher intervention and student bystander roles in the expected direction. However, they were not present for all roles and bullying types. Contrary to hypothesis, some relationships only existed in the presence of the permissive teaching style but not the authoritative teaching style. The moderation findings had to be interpreted with caution due to the high median of control. The findings may have important implications for anti-bullying interventions if further studies can find causal links.

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Year of Grant: 2014
Name of Grant Recipient: Cai Yiming
Title of thesis: Sleep Hygiene of Lower Primary School Children
Thesis No. 112

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This paper presents the primary research conducted under The Pillow Police, a public information campaign about child sleep deprivation, initiated by four final year students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University. The campaign aimed to educate parents of primary school children aged six to nine on improving their child’s sleep hygiene.

The paper summarises primary research that shaped the campaign’s messaging, strategies and tactics. Aside from studying present literature, a survey study was also conducted. The focus of the survey was on the sleep habits of children, parents’ perception of their child’s sleep, and parents’ level of awareness of sleep deprivation.

Through analysing the data collected, sleep deprivation could be seen to be widely prevalent for children between the ages six to nine – as a majority of children in this age group were getting less than the recommended nine to 10 hours of sleep; in addition, children were also found to display symptoms of the day-time sleepiness that could be attributed to poor quality of sleep, further suggesting the prevalence of sleep deprivation.

The data also revealed insights of poor sleep hygiene amongst these children, whereby a significant percentage of them did not have a fix bedtime or routine of activities (bedtime routine) before going to sleep. Moreover, it was found that the most common activity done an hour before bedtime by children surveyed was watching television. These insights served to define the development of key messages of The Pillow Police.

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Year of Grant: 2014
Name of Grant Recipient: Wang Liwen Joelle & Tay Zhi Wen
Title of thesis: Discrimination of lexical tones in bilingual and monolingual infants & Novel word learning in monolingual and bilingual infants: Effects of phonemic and non-phonemic variations
Thesis No. 113 & 114

+ Abstract

The phenomenon of perceptual reorganisation of language has been widely investigated. Most studies have found that by the end of the infants’ first year of life, they transit from language-general to language-specific sensitivities. Separate studies have investigated the influence of acoustic salience and bilingualism on this transition. However, relatively few of these studies have focused on perceptual reorganisation in tone languages. Recent research on tone discrimination has produced inconsistent results, with some proposing perceptual reorganisation for tones to take place between 6 and 9 months and other finding non-native sensitivity even beyond the first year. The goals of the present study are to investigate bilingual infants’ native tone discrimination abilities and the interaction of acoustic salience and bilingualism on tone discrimination. Using a visual habituation paradigm with stimulus alternating trials, 12-month old English monolingual and English-Mandarin bilingual infants were tested on two Mandarin Chinese tone contrasts – one acoustically salient (Tone 1-Tone 3) and one acoustically similar (Tone 2-Tone 3). Results show that across both contrasts, monolingual infants showed discrimination whereas bilingual infants did not. In light of the existing literature, these findings suggest that much more work is required to ascertain bilingualism’s influence on tone discrimination.

 

In a recent study, 17 month old bilingual infants were found to show a developmental delay in word learning when compared to their monolingual counterparts (Bosch & Sebastian-Galles, 1997l; Fennell, Byers-Heinlein, & Werker, 2007). However, these studies have been mostly limited to the study of consonants. Several accounts have attributed the success of word learning to the ability to focus on relevant (i.e. phonemic) and ignore irrelevant (i.e. non-phonemic variations together. The present study investigates how monolingual and bilingual infants learn vowel minimal pairs/ɑ/ and /ɪ/ (Experiment 1) and ignore non-phonemic gender variations (Experiment 2) in an associative word learning task. In this task, infants were presented with two-word-object pairings that differed in their vowed (i.e. “min” and mun”), and thereafter a change in the pairings was introduced to the learnt associations at test. In experiment 1, bilinguals had a longer looking time in the Switch relative to Same trial, while there was no significant difference between the two trials for monolinguals. In experiment 2, both monolingual and bilingual did not show significant differences in their looking-time to the Switch and Same trials. The results of the study suggest that by 17 months, infants are able to ignore non-phonemic variations of speech, and that bilingual infants use prosody cues and lexical tones, which are closely related to vowels, to guide vowel word learning.

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Year of Grant: 2014
Name of Grant Recipient: Fu Siling Charlene
Title of thesis: The effects of bilingualism on early language development in Singapore
Thesis No. Ongoing

+ Abstract

Abstract is unavailable.

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Year of Grant: 2014
Name of Grant Recipient: Oh Hsu Wei
Title of thesis: Promoting acceptance of young children with special needs among preschoolers in Singapore
Thesis No. 116

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This study investigated the effectiveness of an intervention program in promoting positive attitudes of kindergarten-age children towards peers with special needs. A factorial quasi-experimental study was designed with two experimental groups and a control group. Participants included 63 typically developing children who were attending mainstream preschools in Singapore. One of the experimental groups consisted of a class with a child with special needs enrolled (n = 26) while the other experimental group (n = 17) and the control group (n = 20) comprised classes with no children with special needs. The 5-week intervention involved 10 lessons about general and specific disabilities and uses naturalistic strategies, such as structured storytelling with related activities and guided discussions. The Acceptance Scale for Kindergartens – Revised (ASK-R) was used to measure attitudes before and after the intervention. The outcomes of the ANCOVA analysis appeared to show positive, immediate effects on attitudes of kindergarten students of the experimental group, which comprised participants who had a classmate with special needs enrolled in their class. Hence, this preliminary study seemed to suggest the possibility that kindergarten students’ attitudes can be improved by a short term knowledge-based intervention program among kindergarten students who has a classmate with special needs.

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Year of Grant: 2014
Name of Grant Recipient: Tay Si Hui Deborah
Title of thesis: Do grandparenting styles moderate the effect of parenting styles on child psychosocial outcomes?
Thesis No. 108

+ Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between grandparenting behaviour, parenting styles, and child outcomes. The parenting styles studied were authoritative and authoritarian parenting styles, and the child outcomes of interest were scholastic competence, social competence, and global self-worth.

 

The main hypothesis of the study was that grandparenting behaviour would moderate the relationship between parenting styles and child outcomes, such that higher levels of grandparenting behaviour would increase the strength of the relationship between parenting styles and child outcomes. Only one moderator relationship was found: Maternal grandparenting behaviour was found to weaken the relationship between authoritative parenting style and child’s global self-worth. This was the opposite of the hypothesised direction of moderator influence, therefore this hypothesis was not supported by the present results.

 

Parenting styles were hypothesised to correlate differentially with child outcomes as well. Authoritative parenting style was hypothesised to be positively associated with all three child outcomes while authoritarian parenting style was proposed to be positively correlated with scholastic competence, but negatively correlated with social competence and global self-worth. Results supported the hypothesis that authoritative parenting style would be positively correlated to all three child outcomes, and effects of this parenting style persisted after accounting for controls for social competence and global self-worth, but not for scholastic competence. However, no significant correlations were found for authoritarian parenting style and any child outcomes.

The present findings suggest that grandparenting behaviour as measured in the current study does not play a large role in child outcomes in Singapore. These findings corroborate extant research regarding the positive effects of authoritative parenting style on child outcomes, and also contribute to the body of research on authoritarian parenting style and child outcomes in Asian contexts, on which there has been mixed findings.

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Year of Grant: 2014
Name of Grant Recipient: Tan Bee Li
Title of thesis: Mindfulness, cognition and behaviour regulation among adolescents in Singapore
Thesis No. Ongoing

+ Abstract

Abstract is unavailable.

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Year of Grant: 2014
Name of Grant Recipient: Lee Si Min Stephanie
Title of thesis: Developmental antecedents of perfectionism in middle childhood
Thesis No. 107

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Research shown that perfectionism has both adaptive and maladaptive components, with socially prescribed perfectionism (SPP) and self-oriented perfectionism critical (SOP-Critical) considered maladaptive, and self-oriented perfectionism striving (SOP-Striving) considered adaptive. Little is known about the etiological factors of perfectionism. This research aimed to address this gap in the literature by explicating the developmental antecedents of perfectionism. Specifically, the links between child temperament and parental intrusiveness on the longitudinal development of perfectionism during the middle childhood were examined. Three hundred and one primary school children, along with their parents, participated in the study over a period of five years. Measures included parental reports of child temperament, a behavioural task of parental intrusiveness, and child self-report of perfectionism. Latent growth models of perfectionism variables were specified with child temperament and parental intrusiveness as covariates. SPP was found to decrease over time for both boys and girls. Higher levels of surgency predicted greater initial status of maladaptive perfectionism for boys, while higher levels of negative affectivity and parental intrusiveness predicted higher initial status of maladaptive perfectionism for girls. For boys, higher scores on all aspects of child temperament predicted higher initial status of adaptive perfectionism, whereas for girls, greater initial status of adaptive perfectionism is predicted by higher scores of negative affectivity. Changes in perfectionism over time were not predicted by the covariates.

Results from the current paper noted gender differences in the contribution of child temperament and parental intrusiveness on the development of perfectionism. Consequently, the results could inform and contribute to the development of gender specific programmes targeted at arresting the development of maladaptive perfectionism in children. For instance, given that negative affectivity and parental intrusiveness was observed to contribute to maladaptive perfectionism only in girls, coupled with the significantly higher level of parental intrusiveness behaviours exhibited by parents of girls; perhaps, parenting programmes could highlight on the probable tendency for parents of girls to be more intrusiveness in their parenting behaviours and to teach parents to be more sensitive in their attempts at guiding their child in ways that respond to the learning needs of the child.

On the other hand, the finding that surgency contributed to maladaptive perfectionism in boys but not in girls, suggests that boys who are high in surgency could be taught on coping strategies that would help them transit to formal schooling. In addition, parenting programmes for boys could emphasize on parenting strategies that might help boys regulate their high activity level and impulsivity. Nonetheless, the finding that parental intrusiveness and child temperament had predicted the initial status of perfectionism but not the changes over time indicate that the suggestions listed above might be more applicable to the period from when the child is entering primary school to the end of the early primary school years (i.e. end primary 2).

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Year of Grant: 2014
Name of Grant Recipient: Elizabeth Boeun Kim
Title of thesis: Swimming with or against the tide: A look at Singaporean children's moral judgments
Thesis No. Summary Available

+ Abstract

Recent research has found that children tend to respond to social pressure when faced with conflict between what they perceive and what others perceive to be visually correct (Corriveau & Harris, 2010; Haun & Tomasello, 2011). Moreover, Asian American preschoolers conform to others at higher rates than Caucasian American preschoolers on visual judgments, suggesting that cultural socialisation factors may account for some of these differences (Corriveau et al., 2013). The present study explored conformity in different domains by comparing the rates at which two to six-year-old U.S. and Singaporean preschoolers agreed with an inaccurate majority on moral and social-conventional judgments (Smetana, 2012) as well as visual judgments. To examine whether child temperament and parenting influence children’s conforming behaviours, this study also looked at children’s self-control, parents’ expectations of their child’s independent behaviour, and parental control over their children’s behaviour.

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Year of Grant: 2013
Name of Grant Recipient: Phua Ka Yin Phyllis
Title of thesis: The Strawberry Generation: Parenting and Hardiness
Thesis No. 97

+ Abstract

The current young generation is sometimes referred to as the “Strawberry Generation” to describe their apparent brittleness and inability to deal with stress and difficulties. The study aims to put this line of social commentaries to the test by investigating the association between parental overprotection and the challenge dimension of hardiness, with the potential mediating effects of self-efficacy, and the moderating roles of affluence and gender. Linear regressions and mediation analyses were conducted and the results showed that mother and father overprotection are associated with hardiness challenge, but each of the predictors does not contribute uniquely to that relationship. Some moderation effects of affluence and parent-child dyads are present. The mediation was only significant for father overprotection amongst the females in the high affluence group, while the total and direct effects of both father and mother overprotection on hardiness challenge were significant only for the males from the middle affluence group. Overall, the results do not seem to support the speculations about the Strawberry Generation. Future research could explore the relationship between parenting and hardiness further by bringing in other family characteristics into the picture and also investigate other processes that might also contribute to the holistic development of a hardy disposition.

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Year of Grant: 2013
Name of Grant Recipient: Ngiam Xin Ying
Title of thesis: Profile of Inpatient Cases of Child Maltreatment Syndrome
Thesis No. 105

+ Abstract

Eighty-nine children, accounting for 90 admissions, were studied. Of these, 70% were of school-going age, with the peak ages for admission for Child Maltreatment Syndrome (CMS) at ages 7 years and 13 years. Biological fathers were the alleged perpetrators in over half of cases. 

Child protection services had been involved in 24 out of 90 cases (26.7%) before the study period, due to prior episodes of alleged maltreatment. Another 2 children (2.2%) had siblings who had been investigated for CMS. In total, 26 of the 90 children (28.9%) were from families already known to child protection services.

Physical abuse was most common, followed by neglect and sexual abuse. The most frequent methods of physical abuse were hitting or slapping with bare hands, caning, hitting with other objects, and punching.

Victims of neglect tended to be admitted as sibling groups. The most common circumstances leading to admission included abandonment by parents and parents who were deemed neglectful. 3 cases of sexual abuse involved sexual penetration, and 4 cases involved molestation.

Victims of abuse were more likely to live in homes with domestic violence (p=0.014). Of those who were victims of neglect, financial difficulty at home was a risk factor.

Nearly two-thirds of children were from households with a history of repeated violence within the home and 46.1% were from families reporting financial difficulties. In addition, 43.8% of children had parents who were divorced or separated, while 4.5% had experienced the death of a parent. Among children who had a parent with a psychiatric problem (16.9% of the cohort), the most frequent parental condition was alcohol abuse (60%).

The majority of children did not have chronic medical problems. However, 14.6% of these children were found to have a developmental disorder and 11.2% had a psychiatric diagnosis. The most common diagnosis was attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children who had a developmental disorder were more likely to have a parent with a psychiatric disorder (p=0.002).

While most children were returned to their families of origin, one-quarter were removed from their families and placed in institutions or foster care.

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Year of Grant: 2013
Name of Grant Recipient: Quah Soo Li
Title of thesis: Predictors of quality of life in children with epilepsy
Thesis No. 109

+ Abstract

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that can affect people of all ages, and is a debilitating condition. Epilepsy can result in a range of learning, cognitive, academic and social difficulties. Impairments in executive functioning and poor quality of life have been found to be common in children with epilepsy. Research has consistently shown executive dysfunction to predict poor quality of life. The aim of this study was to examine the differences in using performance-based tests and rating measures in predicting quality of life in children with epilepsy. This study also examined the contributions of epilepsy variables (Age of onset, duration of illness, seizure frequency, and anti-epileptic drug load) in predicting quality of life. 31 parents whose children had been given an epilepsy diagnosis completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF; a rating measure of executive function), and the Impact of Pediatric Epilepsy Scale (IPES; quality of life measure). Of the 31 participants, 12 agreed to undergo neuropsychological testing using three subtests (Animal Sorting, Inhibition and Word Generation) from the Developomental Neuropsychoological Assessment II (NEPSY – II; a performance-based test). Spearman’s correlation showed the summary indexes on the BRIEF significantly correlated with overall quality of life, and with most of the items on the IPES. Comparatively, only few significant correlations were found when the NEPSY-II subtests were correlated with the IPES. Executive function as assessed with rating measure was also found to account for 55% of variance on the overall quality of life measure. Findings on this study were similar to that of previous research who also found small or no correlation to quality of life measures with performance based tests. This highlights the low ecological validity of traditional performance based tests, and the utility of rating measures in understanding quality of life in children with epilepsy.

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Year of Grant: 2013
Name of Grant Recipient: Cheryl Goh
Title of thesis: Grade differences in children's problem behaviour during adolescence: Role of children's resistance to peer influence and conceptions of adolescence
Thesis No. 104

+ Abstract

The present study on Singapore adolescents from 7th to 10th grade (secondary one to four) reveals that older adolescents in Singapore engaged in more problem behaviours (domains of school academic, peer relationship and underage problem behaviours) than the younger ones. The level of problem behaviours increased significantly from 7th to 8th grade, and then maintained stable as they progress through mid-adolescence from 8th to 10th grade. The mechanisms of the observed grade difference in children’s problem behaviours were explored where there were conclusive evidence of partial mediation effect of children’s view of adolescence as a time to individuate from parents, and a time to orientate towards peers. In other words, older adolescents are more likely to view adolescence as a time to individuate from their parents and orientate towards their peers, and such views in turn predicted an increase in their problem behaviours. It was noted, however, that children’s view that adolescence is a time to fulfil obligation towards parents was not a significant mediator of grade differences in problem behaviours.

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Year of Grant: 2013
Name of Grant Recipient: Kwan Kah Mei Rhoda
Title of thesis: Factors Influencing the Prevalence of Bilingualism amongst the Special Needs Population: An Exploratory Study
Thesis No. 106

+ Abstract

Bilingualism is often discouraged among the special needs population, and in multilingual Singapore, this might be a problem. Parents and professionals were surveyed to find out what factors might influence parents when choosing their children’s bilingual status. Using thematic analysis, parents were found to consider their child’s ability to learn when making this decision while quantitative analyses found that when parents did not consider the possibility of bilingualism being confusing to the child, they were more likely to raise their child as bilingual. There were no significant relationships between the a) number of factors parents considered, b) professional recommendations parents received, c) parental demographics, and d) child’s own verbal ability with the child’s eventual bilingual status. As for the professionals’ questionnaire, no significant relationships were found between a) professional’ keeping up with current research, b) the levels of functioning of the children they work with, and c) their own bilingual status with the recommendations of mono/bilingualism that they gave. Based on these findings, it is proposed that more research needs to be done to find out what factors have an impact of parents’ decisions and professionals’ recommendations, and a need for literature to be disseminated to the wider public.

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Year of Grant: 2013
Name of Grant Recipient: Wah Li Ting
Title of thesis: Effects of Different Classroom Reward Pedagogies on Students' Academic Performance and Prosocial Behaviour
Thesis No. 103

+ Abstract

This research examines the differential effects of reward pedagogies on academic test performance and development of prosocial behaviour in Singapore classrooms, exploring how different reward pedagogies may work differently for students of different abilities, primary levels and genders across time. Two studies were conducted and a total of 71 teachers and 2,486 Primary 3 and Primary 4 children were recruited. The first study examines the effects of competitive, cooperative and individualistic reward pedagogies. A control group was also included in Study 1. Two additional reward pedagogies - cooperative-competitive and cooperative-individualistic reward pedagogies, were examined in the second study. For each study, classes were randomly assigned to one reward pedagogy and students were rewarded for their performance in spelling tests. Results of the 5-way mixed ANOVA showed that effects of reward pedagogies on students’ academic performance and prosocial behaviour development vary by students’ primary levels and ability groups. The implementation of cooperative-individualistic reward pedagogies in classrooms led to improvements in academic performance for students of varying different abilities, primary levels and gender. The use of cooperative-individualistic rewards pedagogy to reward students’ performance also has the additional incidental benefit of developing students’ prosocial behaviours.

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Year of Grant: 2013
Name of Grant Recipient: Eunice Tan Zhengyi
Title of thesis: Decision-making Autonomy and Emotional Functioning during Adolescence: Role of Children's Expectation
Thesis No. 102

+ Abstract

This cross-sectional study examined adolescents’ decision-making autonomy and its relation to emotional functioning in Singapore, with attention given to the moderating effects of educational level and desires on autonomy. A total of 302 Singaporean adolescents from secondary one to four (Grades seven to ten) (M = 14.51 years) reported on their emotional functioning, and their actual and ideal autonomy levels on personal decision-making issues. Adolescents’ actual autonomy was found to increase from secondary one to three; mainly driven by increased child decision-making from secondary one to four, decreased parent-child joint decision-making from secondary one to two, and decreased parent decision-making from secondary one to three. Regression analyses indicated that educational level did not moderate the relationship between autonomy and emotional functioning, whereas those with incongruent levels experienced poorer emotional functioning. Notably, this effect was only observed at secondary two and when autonomy was assessed in terms of unilateral child decision-making. Such findings serve to deepen our understanding on adolescents’ autonomy and emotional functioning, especially in the relatively unstudied yet interesting bicultural context of Singapore.

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Year of Grant: 2012
Name of Grant Recipient: Chan Wan Ling Gina
Title of thesis: Parents' relationship with siblings of children with autism
Thesis No. 94

+ Abstract

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has become prevalent amongst children in Singapore. Autism does not only affect the child alone, but the family unit as well. As caring for a child with autism requires much time and effort, this leaves parents with little time for the other children in the family. Intervention work should therefore be catered for all members of the family, especially the neuro-typical children in these families who are often overlooked.

This qualitative study aims to examine the impacts of ASD on the relationship between parents and their neuro-typical children, and to also explore how the neuro-typical children cope with the impacts of having an autistic sibling in the family. Five Singaporean families (n=10) participated in this study. Mothers (n=5) and their neuro-typical children (n=5) were interviewed to provide understanding of the relationships and interactions within the families. This study utilised principles of the Social Relational Theory to analyse the findings. It was found that having an autistic child in the family imposed certain constraints and additional responsibilities for the family members. Despite so, findings indicated that the neuro-typical children coped well with such constraints. The parent-child relationship between the mothers and the neuro-typical children was generally good. Both the mothers and the neuro-typical children were seen to be equal agents in influencing the interactions with each other, and contributed in maintaining the close relationship through various strategies. The discussions highlight the agency of mothers and the neuro-typical children, and the bidirectional influences in the parent-child dyad.

Recommendations to bridge service gaps to meet the needs of the neuro-typical siblings of Autistic children are made. It is strongly recommended for practitioners to incorporate elements of child's agency when expanding their scope of psychosocial intervention work with the neuro-typical children.

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Year of Grant: 2012
Name of Grant Recipient: Chee Li Ping
Title of thesis: Oversized loads – children adultification in low-income families and the underlying parent-child dynamics
Thesis No. 95

+ Abstract

While abject poverty might have vanished in Singapore, many families face relative poverty due to the growing income divide. Contrary to recent conceptualizations of childhood as a period where children are dependent on adults and sheltered from harsh conditions and complicated issues, many children within these low-income families assume responsibilities beyond what is typical of their peers. The process in which children are prematurely exposed to adult information and undertake substantial adult roles and responsibilities within their families is termed as parentification.

Going beyond delineating the positive and negative outcomes of such a process, this qualitative research examines how children, as active agents in their families, negotiate the roles and responsibilities that their parents attempt to transfer to them. Using children's sharing of household burden (both in practical chores and emotional stresses) as a window of investigation, this study explores the communication patterns and parent-child dynamics within low-income families in Singapore. In-depth interviews were conducted with parent and child dyads in a total of five families. The social relational theory proposed by Kuczynski which supports the bidirectional conceptualization of parent-child dynamics provided the theoretical framework in examining the empirical data.

The various cases presented provide contextual understanding of the familial values, parenting perspectives and subsequent behaviors of children that are crucial for empathic and non-stigmatizing interventions. The findings support that children are not passively restrained by parental instructions or circumstances but actively negotiate the burdens placed upon them and influence their environments. Stories of strengths and resilience of how these children cope with material deficits and the lack of resources in their families were elicited. This paper provides recommendations for practitioners to adopt a strengths perspective, consider children's agency and resources when working with low-income families, and support mothers as they cope with their numerous burdens and responsibilities.

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Year of Grant: 2012
Name of Grant Recipient: Zhou Yu Qi
Title of thesis: Children’s language skills and story-telling abilities
Thesis No. 99

+ Abstract

Psychologists have long been discussing how situational variables (e.g. adult's interactional style) can influence children's speech production and language disfluency (i.e. repetition and revision of sentences and phrases). But consistent findings were rare (Bernstein-Ratner, 2004). Previous study has found that stuttering children tend to have more speech disfluency when being interrupted by another interaction partner (Yaruss, 1997). Current experiment aimed to replicate this finding with typically fluent children. 22 English-speaking children aged 7 to 9 years old were recruited for this study, and were assigned randomly either to the experiment condition, where they interact with an interruptive experimenter, or to the control condition, where they interact with a cooperative experimenter. Results showed that children who had been interacted with an interruptive experimenter had more speech disfluency in their later story-telling task compared to their story-telling before the interaction. Children in the control condition, however, had a trend to have less speech disfluency in their later story-telling. Implication of the findings is that interruptive interactional style could potentially increase children's cognitive work load when performing other task such as language production, causing their speech to be more error-prone. To promote children's speech fluency, adult's interaction and language input should be adjusted to match children's ongoing activity, both in tempo and contents.

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Year of Grant: 2012
Name of Grant Recipient: Wong Hui Mei
Title of thesis: An Exploratory Study on the Dynamics of Relationship Between Parent and Child Diagnosed With Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Thesis No. 89

+ Abstract

Previous research has established that parents of children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and their children influence each other in many dimensions, such as parenting stresses, parent-child interactions and parent- child relationship. This study provided in-depth insights on the dynamics of the relationship between parents and their children with ADHD, by exploring the stressful and relaxing moments in the relationship, their interactions during stressful moments and how is the parent-child relationship perceived. Five Singaporean families (n=13) participated in this study. Parents and their child with ADHD were interviewed. Data were grouped into themes and analysed, guided by the social relational theory framework.


It was found that parents experienced stressful moments which revolve around their child's behaviour and academics; during these stressful moments, parents and children interacted with each other using their strategies. Bidirectional influences were observed in all families. The parent-child relationship in these families was not dominated by the child's ADHD and overly characterized by stress. Parents and children shared pleasurable moments together. In fact, contrary to many other studies, the parent-child relationship was generally good in these families; there is the possible recovery of negative dynamics. Parents were able to recognize the strengths of their children. It is strongly recommended for practitioners to adopt the strengths perspective in their work with these families and to incorporate elements of child's agency and bidirectional influences when planning for interventions.

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Year of Grant: 2012
Name of Grant Recipient: Ang Seow Li
Title of thesis: Does age of entry into childcare make a difference in developmental outcomes? Examining differences in literacy skills, school readiness and creativity in the context of Singapore
Thesis No. 98

+ Abstract

Previous research indicated that exposure to preschool education at an earlier age is beneficial for children's developmental outcomes. The present study extended early childhood research by investigating the effects of age of entry into childcare centres in Singapore given the paucity of early childhood literature in Singapore. Children (n = 124) were examined at the end of preschool education using measures of literacy skills, school readiness and creativity.

It was hypothesized that an earlier age of entry would be associated with higher levels of literacy skills and school readiness but lower levels of creativity. The current study further sought to examine whether there were differences in developmental outcomes when age of entry was examined as a categorical and continuous variable.

The results showed that an earlier age of entry into childcare was associated with greater gains in literacy skills. It was also found that children in the toddler group and n1 group displayed significantly higher creativity than children who entered childcare in nursery and later. However school readiness was not associated with the age of entry into childcare. Implications for preschool curriculum and recommendations for future policy formulation on preschool education are discussed.

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Year of Grant: 2012
Name of Grant Recipient: Samuel Chng Chong Wei
Title of thesis: Parental weight talk: Relationship with gender, body satisfaction and eating behaviour in young Singaporean adults
Thesis No. 93

+ Abstract

The present chapter reviews existing literature regarding parental influence via parental comments regarding body shape, weight and eating habits on body dissatisfaction and disordered eating in young adults. The available literature suggests that parents are important sources of influence for their offspring in the development and appearance of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. A review of the mechanisms of parental influence indicates that parental comments influence offspring via active influence rather than through modelling. Three categories of parental comments (negative, positive and importance and comparison) were reviewed to better understand these comments. A possible mediator role of body dissatisfaction in the relationship between parental comments and disordered eating, and gender considerations were also discussed. The need for further research to address the knowledge gap in the young adult population was also highlighted.

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Year of Grant: 2012
Name of Grant Recipient: Goh Mei Fang
Title of thesis: Parental perceptions and management of sleep difficulties in Singaporean school-aged children: An exploratory mixed-methods approach
Thesis No. 92

+ Abstract

Background: While often prevalent, sleep difficulties are often overlooked in school-aged children. Existing studies indicate that parents tend to overestimate the adequacy of sleep and underestimate their child's sleep needs. Cross-cultural differences in sleep practices and parental perceptions on what constitutes good and healthy sleep in children have been found, thus stressing the need to consider sleep within a broader family and cultural context.

Aims: This study examined parent-reported sleep habits, behaviours, perceptions of sleep, and sleep management in a sample of 73 children (aged 7 – 12 years) in Singapore. Parents completed a battery of standardised and open-ended questionnaires on their child's sleep habits, practices, and their children's emotional and behavioural functioning.

Results: Average daily sleep duration was much lower than the 10 hours/day recommended for school-aged children. Sleep-related anxiety (e.g. fear of sleeping alone or in the dark) were associated with higher rates of sleep difficulties and often cited as reasons for co-sleeping practices. Participating children scored higher on bedtime resistance, sleep duration, sleep anxiety, and daytime sleepiness compared to the normative community US sample. Broader parental knowledge of children's sleep and healthy sleep practices were often found to be incorrect, inadequate, or not conducive for good sleep. Parents with higher sleep knowledge scores were more likely to implement at least some of the recommend sleep hygiene practices.

Discussion: The results of this study are discussed in relation to existing cross-cultural literature on children's sleep. The present findings identified the need to promote healthy sleep practices and emphasise the importance of screening for sleep difficulties in school-aged children. Specific recommendations to addressing these issues, and implications for health promotion and clinical practice in Singapore are discussed.

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Year of Grant: 2012
Name of Grant Recipient: Chan Yee Pei
Title of thesis: Investigating the effects of perceptual processing on visual working memory in individuals with autism: An event-related potential study
Thesis No. Ongoing

+ Abstract

Abstract is unavailable.

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Year of Grant: 2011
Name of Grant Recipient: Zhan Siran
Title of thesis: Connecting cool & hot executive function in Asian preschoolers
Thesis No. 90

+ Abstract

This study aims to compare the development of executive function, intelligence, and verbal ability in Singaporean and Chinese preschoolers. Sixty nine Singaporean preschoolers and 46 Chinese preschoolers were recruited to complete a battery of tests that assessed their cognitive inhibition, working memory, motivational inhibition, intelligence, and verbal ability. Significant cross-cultural differences exist in verbal ability, indicated by receptive vocabulary, and working memory, with Chinese preschoolers showing developmental advantage on both measures. In both samples, working memory performance positively correlated with verbal ability. Cross-cultural difference in working memory disappeared after the effect of differential verbal ability is controlled for. One possible explanation for Singaporean preschoolers‟ poorer receptive vocabulary could be their bilingual exposure, which can reduce their cognitive resources for mastering each language. However, unlike bilinguals in earlier studies, Singaporean preschoolers did not demonstrate superior cognitive inhibitory control relative to their monolingual Chinese counterpart. Together, the findings suggest that Singaporean preschoolers might not be truly bilingual in their language practices and hence did not enjoy the cognitive benefits of bilingualism while their exposure to multiple languages might have taken a toll on their language competence. Future research is needed to shed light on the exact impact of a Singaporean-style bilingual environment on children‟s cognitive and language development.

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Year of Grant: 2011
Name of Grant Recipient: Teo Qiqian
Title of thesis: Beating the bully: A study of violent video games and cognitive restructuring
Thesis No. 86

+ Abstract

This experimental study examines the effect of violent games and cognitive restructuring on attitudes towards bullying behaviour, aggressive cognition, attitudes towards prosocial behaviour and state hostility. On hundred and eighty-one young adults were randomly assigned to play a violent video game (high vs. low cognitive restructuring) or a nonviolent game. Findings show that violent game play and cognitive restructuring had no effect on attitudes, but led to increased levels of aggressive cognitive and state hostility. Contrary to expectation, under high cognitive restructuring conditions, males with high trait aggression had lower levels of aggressive cognition than those with low trait aggression.

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Year of Grant: 2011
Name of Grant Recipient: Oh Hui Cheng Yvette
Title of thesis: Child care arrangements, parent-child relationship and personality variables in preschool and undergraduate samples
Thesis No. 87

+ Abstract

This research examined how child care arrangements (non-parental 'fostered' care, non-parental care and parental care) during the age from four to six are related parent-child relationship and the child's personality variables. It was also of interest whether parent-child time was one distinct feature of the care arrangements. These were studied in an undergraduate sample (Study 1; n=131) using retrospective self-report method and a preschool sample (STudy 2) using a longitudinal method, following the children (n=21) and their parents (n=19 for mothers, n=7 for fathers) for a period of two to three months. The parents completed a self-report questionnaire and a time-log sheet while the child participants were interviewed separately. Results suggest that child care arrangments were related to overall rejection, warmth/acceptance and indifference/neglect from mothers. Amount and perceived sufficiency parent-child time were also associated with the different types of child care arrangements. Non-parental 'fostered' care differed from non-parental care in the undergraduate sample while non-parental care differed from parental care in the preschool sample. There were personality differences across the different child care arrangements for the preschool sample but not for the undergraduate sample. More studies are needed in this new area of research.

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Year of Grant: 2011
Name of Grant Recipient: Natasha Riard
Title of thesis: The links between after-school time use and psychological wellbeing in Asian adolescents: The role of social context, school satisfaction, academic stress from expectations, and achievement level
Thesis No. 101

+ Abstract

The activities that adolescents engage in, and whom they engage in them with, have the potential to influence the course of their development (Brofenbrenner, 1994). Yet little is known about how these factors relate to adolescent psychological wellbeing. This study was the first to assess links between time spent in three key after-school activities (academics, screen time, active leisure), as well as time spent in the social context of these activities, and psychological wellbeing (depression and life satisfaction) in adolescents in Singapore.  It also explored mediators and moderators of the relationship between time spent on academic activities and psychological wellbeing: school satisfaction, academic stress from expectations, and achievement level. This study employed a cross-sectional non-experimental research design. Data was collected from 134 adolescents in Singapore (M age = 13.1 years, SD = .45). Participants completed a weekly time diary, in conjunction with the DASS-21, Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale, Multidimensional Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale (school satisfaction subscale), and the Academic Expectations Stress Inventory. Results indicated that adolescents spent a third of their daily after-school time on screen time activities (M=3.23, SD = 1.72), followed by academic (M=1.27, SD=1.01), and active leisure activities (M=.97, SD=.60). Adolescents spent most of their academic and active leisure time alone or with friends, and most of their screen time alone or with family. More than half the sample reported elevated symptoms of depression, although most were mildly satisfied with the quality of their life. Time spent in the social context of activities could explain the variance in depression while time spent in activities, per se, could not. Increased time spent watching television as a family, and increased time spent alone in academic activities were related to decreased depression scores. Increased time spent on academic activities (regardless of social context) was related to increased psychological wellbeing. School satisfaction was a significant mediator of this relationship, while achievement level was a significant moderator. 

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Year of Grant: 2011
Name of Grant Recipient: Zhang Yinghui Lisa Ann
Title of thesis: Participate roles in school bullying and personality in a Singapore sample
Thesis No. 96

+ Abstract

This study investigated the social nature and personality aspects of school bullying and focused on the 'bystanders' in the bullying process. Of particular interest was the influence of potential person-specific and situational moderators on the participant roles adopted by these 'bystanders' in response to bullying situations. A sample of 223 students in Singapore reported on their personality and was given hypothetical scenarios, which differed in their contexts (size of peer group and level of closeness with peers in the peer group), and gave responses on how likely they would adopt different participant roles in each situation. Different participant roles were associated with different personality dimensions. Also, participants were more likely to take on the Defender and Reporter roles in smaller peer groups. As for the Assistant role, it was more likely adopted in closer peer groups that were larger in size, and in smaller peer groups that were lower in closeness. Situational factors, in addition to individual characteristics like personality, thus do play contributory roles in the adoption of participant roles in bullying and should be explored in future research.

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Year of Grant: 2010
Name of Grant Recipient: Cheung Hoi Shan
Title of thesis: The influence of maternal sensitivity, shyness, and language ability on preschoolers’ likability
Thesis No. 100

+ Abstract

Research has shown that having good relationships with peers is advantageous to children’s well-being, making it relevant to examine the factors which may predict children’s likability in the peer group. This study looked at how maternal sensitivity, child shyness, children’s vocabulary and pragmatic language skills may predict likability by peers in preschool. Past studies have shown how these predictors were individually related to children’s quality of peer relationships. This dissertation extends existing research by examining in a single study the relative contributions made by these four variables in the prediction of children’s likability by peers. Of particular interest is how maternal sensitivity and child shyness may be linked to likability in the local context, with implications for the cross-cultural relevance of these concepts in Singapore. The differential susceptibility hypothesis, which posits that maternal sensitivity interacts with child shyness in influencing children’s likability by peers, was also tested; along with language skills as mediators in the associations between sensitivity and shyness on the one hand, and likability by peers on the other.

The sample included 164 mother-child dyads belonging to the four major ethnic groups in Singapore (Chinese, Malay, Indian and Others). Children (72 boys, 92 girls) were between ages 52 and 79 months (M = 67.07, SD = 6.67). Mother-child interactions in a free play session were coded using the Emotional Availability (EA) Scales (fourth edition) as a measure of maternal sensitivity. Mothers also completed measures on child shyness (Children’s Behaviour Questionnaire) and pragmatic language difficulty (Children’s Communication Checklist-2). Receptive and expressive vocabularies were tested using the Expressive One-word Vocabulary Test-4 and the locally-developed Bilingual Language Assessment Battery respectively. In the third quarter of the school year, the author visited the preschools to obtain likability ratings from classmates.

Gender differences were found in the association between the predictors and likability by peers. Teachers and children also seemed to judge children’s likability by peers on different basis. Shyness in boys was related to their being well-liked by female peers, implying that shyness has a positive connotation within the opposite sex peer group in this culture. Contrary to expectation, maternal sensitivity was related to boys’ being less well-liked by girls. Low pragmatic language difficulty was associated with girls’ likability by male peers, with it being the only significant predictor. Furthermore, better vocabulary skills predicted more favourable teachers’ ratings of peer likability while low shyness and pragmatic language difficulty predicted the same for girls. These findings vindicated the use of a cross-informant methodology, in order to provide a more complete picture of children’s relative standing within the peer group.

The differential susceptibility hypothesis was, however, not supported. Vocabulary skills and pragmatic language difficulty mediated the associations between maternal sensitivity, child shyness and peer likability as rated by teachers, but only for girls. This suggests the importance of language ability in accounting for variations in how well-liked children were by peers.

The results and details of the method raised questions as to the importance of maternal sensitivity in Singapore families, and as to whether or not the EA Scales validly measured it, since the results are not entirely consistent with those studies elsewhere. This dissertation, being the first local study conducted to look at how maternal sensitivity (as understood in the western contest) was related to peer likability, has brought to light possible cultural variations in the understanding of the concept of sensitivity. Local research is very much needed to further understand how best sensitivity may be measured in Singapore. 

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Year of Grant: 2010
Name of Grant Recipient: Cheng Xue Mei Sarah
Title of thesis: The role of caregiver communication in mediating the effect of multi-modal intervention on the communicative abilities of children with down syndrome
Thesis No. 77

+ Abstract

Growing evidence suggests that improved child communicative function of children with developmental disabilities affects caregiver communicative strategies (Yoder & Warren, 2001a) within a transactional model of caregiver-child interactions. Certain caregiver communication strategies are posited to be child-dependent, while others are predicted by non-child variables. The communication patterns of 10 children with Down syndrome (DS) interacting with their caregivers in a 15-minute free play session were examined in a longitudinal study at pre- and post-intervention. Intervention was targeted at increasing child receptive vocabulary. Caregiver linguistic mapping and affirmations were positively predicted by the increase child-initiated joint engagement episodes, whereas increase in caregiver affirmations and decrease in caregiver redirecting attention were not. Results provide support a transactional model of caregiver-child interactions. Clinical implications for DS children include intervention targeted at increasing initiating behaviours rather than receptive language, and training to encourage caregivers to structure interactions to increase child-initiated joint engagement episodes.

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Year of Grant: 2010
Name of Grant Recipient: Penny Tok Siew Leng
Title of thesis: Why aren’t children with Autism using their Language skills to solve problems?
Thesis No. 91

+ Abstract

Is the spontaneous recruitment of subvocal verbal meditation (inner speech) in High Functioning Autism (HFA) intact, impared or simply uneven? Research into this area is still in its embryonic stage. This thesis aims to systematically review the current literature on inner speech functioning and then proceed to investigate the relationship between inner speech use and three key areas of higher order cognitive functioning: working memory, categorisation and false belief reasoning.

Inner speech use was measured by comparing performance of the various tasks under a silent condition and under the application of a dual-task paradigm (articulatory suppression). It was theorised that articulatory suppression would tie up any verbal resources necessary for subvocal meditation and as such would cause a detriment in performance when the task was performed under suppression.

As predicted, the results showed an uneven profile in HFA's recruitment of inner speech. On a task of working memory (measured by the Self-Ordered Pointing Task, Petrides and Milner, 1982), the use of subvocal language was found to be uneven. Whild under moderate cognitive load, inner speech recruitment was intact. However when cognitive load was increased to a critical level, HFA no longer recruited inner speech. An intact ability to recruit inner speech was found when the HFA group were tested on their ability to spontaneously categorise visually presented objects. Finally in a key area of false belief understanding in Theory of Mind (ToM) which is one of the cardinal impairments found in HFA, inner speech use was found to be impaired.

Overall, the results of inner speech use appear to be intriguingly mixed with impairments in some areas and an intact ability in others. This is a very significant finding as it highlights and clarifies the direct relationship between an impaired ability to use inner speech and measurable cognitive ability. As autism is a pervasive, lifelong developmental disability the wider implications of this research will also aid in informing others in curriculum development and teaching methodology to help those with autism cope better with their daily challenges. Finally, implications and directions for future research based will be discussed.

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Year of Grant: 2009
Name of Grant Recipient: Ong Jiehan
Title of thesis: Examining the influence of cognitive abilities on medication adherence in children with asthma
Thesis No. 85

+ Abstract

Asthma is one of the most prevalent paediatric chronic illnesses in the world and it has one of the highest medication nonadherence rates. In Singapore, the prevalence rate of asthma is approximately 5%, and 58.7% of children with poorly controlled asthma were found not using their medications regularly (Global Initiative for Asthma [GINA], 2004; Yang et al, 2007). Adherence to medical regimens is a cognitively demanding task, yet many discussions of adherence overlook the role played by cognitive processes. This study aims to examine the relationship between cognitive functioning (attention, verbal learning and memory), asthma knowledge and medication adherence in children with asthma. 40 children (ages 7 to 12 years old) and their parents completed a set of questionnaires. In addition, the children had to complete a set of cognitive assessments. Chi-square tests, independent t-tests and simple correlation were conducted. No association was found between the child's asthma knowledge and cognitive abilities. The findings suggested that although limited, cognitive functions might play a more indirect role in medication adherence.

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Year of Grant: 2009
Name of Grant Recipient: Kwek Shu Ping Christine
Title of thesis: Treatment adherence in pediatric asthma
Thesis No. 84

+ Abstract

Asthma is the most common chronic paediatric disease. However, despite the medical advancements, the lack of asthma control has been a prevalent problem. Treatment adherence is the cornerstone to effective asthma control but it has been a pervasive obstacle. Due to the collectivistic nature of Singapore, the present study sought to identify and examine the relationships between psychosocial factors which are family and parent-focused, and treatment adherence. These include parental self-efficacy, family management, number of caregivers, parental beliefs about medications, parental asthma knowledge and the parent-physician relationship. Questionnaires designed to measure the respective factors were completed by a sample of asthmatic children and their parents. Results indicate that family management and the number of caregivers are predictors of treatment adherence. Further, the study found that better family asthma management was associated with higher treatment adherence. In addition, the number of caregivers was negatively correlated with treatment compliance. No significant relationships were found between the remaining factors and treatment adherence as well as between treatment and adherence and asthma control. These findings provide preliminary evidence reflecting the importance of family and parent-focused psychosocial factors and warrants further investigation of family influences on asthma adherence behaviours in Singapore's paediatric population.

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Year of Grant: 2009
Name of Grant Recipient: Xue Jing Justine
Title of thesis: Demands, Capabilities and Positive Meanings associated with the Experience of Raising a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Exploratory Study of Families in Singapore
Thesis No. 80

+ Abstract

Research has shown that families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are at higher risk for stress than families of children with developmental disabilities. In fact, most research in this field has focused on parental stress, anxiety and depression. There has been, however, increasing research in recent years exploring the process of adjustment and successful adaptation of families. This study aims to investigate factors related to resilience in families of children with ASD in Singapore by using the Family Adjustment and Adaptation Response model as a theoretical framework. Sixty-five parents of 3-11 year old children with ASD completed a series of questionnaires exploring perceived stress, ASD demands and other stressful events, sources of support, coping behaviours and meanings associated with the experience of caring for a child with ASD. Results showed that families in our sample have relatively low demands, high coping and positive meanings which were related to family functioning. These findings suggest that many of the families in our sample appear to be adapting well. The paper discusses the results in relation to existing literature, strengths, limitations and methodological issues of the study and possible implications for working with families of children with ASD.

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Year of Grant: 2009
Name of Grant Recipient: Ang Amanda
Title of thesis: The effects of attributional style on the type of aggression displayed
Thesis No. 82

+ Abstract

The objective of this paper is to explore two major questions: (a) what is the relationship between attributional styles and the type of aggression displayed, and (b) does empathy serve as a moderator between attributional style and aggression. This paper examines how individuals with internal and external attributional styles differ in the type (Proactive and Reactive Aggression) as well as the level of aggression they display. Additionally, this study also looks at empathy as a possible buffer to the effects of attributions on aggressive responding, and investigates if empathy will be useful in moderating the effects of attributional styles on aggression levels. Three pilot studies were conducted: two to develop a procedure to prime internal and external attributional styles (Studies 1a and 1b), the other (Study 2) to develop a procedure for experimentally arousing empathy. Study 3 adopted these processes to investigate the effects of attributional style and empathy on proactive and reactive aggression. The three hypotheses are as follows:

Hypothesis 1: A person with an external attributional style will engage in more reactive aggression and less proactive aggression, while a person with an internal attributional style will engage more in both proactive and reactive aggression.

Hypothesis 2: A higher level of empathy will lead to a decrease in the levels of both reactive and proactive aggression.

Hypothesis 3: Empathy will moderate the relation between attributional style and reactive aggression, where it will decrease the level of reactive aggression in both internal and external attributional groups.

It was observed that attributional styles had a significant main effect on proactive and reactive aggression. Findings indicated priming of external attributional styles caused a spike in both reactive and proactive aggression levels, and internal attributional style caused a significant decrease in reactive aggression. From an applied perspective, intervention programs on aggression can get people to focus more on an internal attributional style, where this may conceivably help lower one's reactive aggression tendencies. Empathy did not obtain significant effects on proactive and reactive aggression nor did it moderate the attributional styles-reactive aggression relationship. However, given the preliminary nature of this study, this paper suggests a fruitful avenue for future research.

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Year of Grant: 2009
Name of Grant Recipient: Norshahidah Aziz
Title of thesis: Mothering ideologies: An exploratory study of why mothers work
Thesis No. 79

+ Abstract

The involvement of mothers of younger children in the labour market is a new phenomenon for Singapore. In a qualitative study of twenty married working mothers, with at least one child below the age of six years, this paper seeks to understand the reasons for maternal employment. It will be reported that working mothers in this study are working not out of necessity, but by their own choice. In addition, this paper identifies a typology of mothering ideologies among working mothers that reflects the interaction between mothering and employment. There are four types of working mothers in this study: (a) the home-maker, (b) the high-flyer, (c) the escapist, and (d) the transient. Finally, by providing useful insights to the characteristics of each of these mothers, this paper allows policy-makers to identify the problems that these mothers encounter and propose strategies for the benefit of the working mothers, family and children.

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Year of Grant: 2009
Name of Grant Recipient: Tan Sulin
Title of thesis: An examination of factors influencing help-seeking attitudes of Singapore adolescents
Thesis No. 81

+ Abstract

The current study aims to provide insight into the factors that influence the professional psychological help-seeking attitudes of Singapore secondary school students. The sociopsychological variables of anticipated utility, self-disclosure, stigma, social support and social norm, together with other variables such as nature of problem, previous counselling experience and perceived behavioural control are examined for their relationship with the help-seeking attitudes of Singapore adolescents.

1871 students from the secondary one to five levels in four mainstream secondary schools participated in the study. They were administered a self-report questionnaire that involved rating on a five-point Likert-type scale, their thoughts about seeking help from a professional counsellor. The students were administered the questionnaire in their school during the post-examination period in May 2009.

The findings suggest that higher levels of anticipated utility, social norm and selfdisclosure, and lower levels of social stigma and social support contributed to more favourable attitudes towards seeking professional help. Additionally, type of problem and perceived behavioural control were found to have some effect on help-seeking attitudes. Specially, students who perceived a choice in seeking counselling had more favourable attitudes towards counselling than students who did not perceive a choice. Type of problem had different effects on help-seeking attitudes depending on whether the student was a nonhelp-seeker, a voluntary client, or an involuntary client. Surprisingly though, previous counselling experience did not contribute to variability in help-seeking attitudes.

The findings of the study provide evidence for the cross-cultural applicability of the sociopsychological variables, at least in the Singapore adolescent population, in influencing help-seeking attitudes. The current study also highlights the importance of having separate xi analyses for the different types of counselling clients since different factors make different contributions to help-seeking attitudes, depending on whether the student is a voluntary or involuntary client. The implications for the psycho educational and outreach efforts to promote a positive help-seeking culture in school are discussed. The study proposes further recommendations for future research.

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Year of Grant: 2008
Name of Grant Recipient: Tan Cheng Yong
Title of thesis: The influence of Chinese Confucian parenting attitudes on children’s self-efficacy beliefs
Thesis No. 83

+ Abstract

Although there has been much research on the influence of parenting on children's development, there is a paucity of studies examining the impact of parenting on children's self-efficacy beliefs. The purpose of the present study is to address this gap by examining the influence of parenting attitudes on children's self-efficacy beliefs using a sample of 284 Chinese fifth and sixth graders as well as their parents living in Singapore. To circumvent the problem of a lack of culturally sensitive parenting attitudes, the Confucian literature was examined to gain insights into important cultural values and infer parenting attitudes. From this review, three components of Confucian parenting attitudes, namely (a) moral development, (b) filiality, and (c) role expectations, were identified and examined using Rasch Analysis, independent samples t-tests, one-way ANOVA and post-hoc Scheffe tests, and Pearson's correlation tests. In particular, Rasch Analysis made it possible to identify misfitting items and persons, construct a common scale for meaningful comparisons between different groups of respondents, and provide insights to explain findings pertaining to the comparisons.

Results showed that children had a higher level of perceptions for filiality, but not moral development or role expectations, than parents did. There was also evidence that girls had a higher perception level than boys, for moral development and role expectations but not filiality. In contrast, perceptions of parenting attitudes did not differ between fathers and mothers or between the eldest child and younger siblings. Parents and children's perceptions of (a) moral development, (b) filiality, and (c) role expectations were also found to correlate positively with children's (a) moral, (b) filial, and (c) social self-efficacy beliefs respectively. These findings contribute to our understanding of culturally sensitive parenting attitudes that are relevant to the Chinese and help us appreciate the differences between Western and Chinese parenting attitudes. The findings also enhance our understanding of how parenting attitudes may have influenced Chinese children's self-efficacy beliefs and, by extension, their behavior in different spheres of their life. This understanding enables us to appreciate cultural diversity and manage our expectations, thereby fostering inter-cultural interactions in the modern world.

As with all other studies, there are limitations with the present study. First, owing to the characteristics of the sample, findings from this study are more valid for young Singaporean Chinese children studying in the fifth or sixth grade and their parents than other individuals. Building on this study, researchers can use larger samples and examine parents and children from a variety of backgrounds in future studies. The second consideration is that inference of casual links between parenting attitudes and children's self-efficacy beliefs in the present study should be buttressed with experimental research in longitudinal studies. As an extension, these studies can also examine how children's self-efficacy beliefs are casually related to the fulfillment of their psychological needs. Finally, researchers may wish to examine the influence on child development of having a girl as the eldest child or having girls among children in the family, thereby contributing to our knowledge on gender studies in the family context.

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Year of Grant: 2008
Name of Grant Recipient: Chia Seow Cheng Eunice
Title of thesis: Women as the primary caregiver: A study of mother care patterns in Singapore
Thesis No. 72

+ Abstract

The research question aims to find out factors that impact the traditional role of women as the primary caregiver. This study has combined quantitative and qualitative data collected based on interviews with mothers who have children aged below 6 years. Specifically, patterns of use of mother care were identified to be associated with the following variables: Mother's educational level, mother's employment status, age of child, number of children and household income.

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Year of Grant: 2008
Name of Grant Recipient: Heng Mei Ling Madeline
Title of thesis: Reliability and Validity of the PedsQL™ 4.0 Generic Core Scales in Healthy School-going Children in Singapore II
Thesis No. 71

+ Abstract

Objective :To assess the reliability and validity of the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory™ (PedsQL™) 4.0 Generic Core Scales in healthy schoolchildren in Singapore. The PedsQL™ is an instrument designed to measure health related quality of life (HRQOL) in children & adolescents ages 2 to 18 and consists of both the child self-report and parent proxy-report.

Methods :The PedsQL™ 4.0 Generic Core Scales (Physical, Emotional, Social, School) were administered to 767 schoolchildren aged 8-12 years & 797 of their parents (1564 subjects accrued overall) that were recruited from 12 primary schools located throughout Singapore.

Results : Internal consistency reliability for the Total Scale Score (α = 0.88 child, 0.91 parent report), Physical Health Summary Score (α = 0.76 child, 0.87 parent report), and Psychosocial Health Summary Score (α = 0.85 child, 0.88 parent report) were acceptable for group comparisons. Validity was demonstrated using the known-groups method, correlations with school performance and concordance between parent proxy- and child self-reports. The PedsQL™ differentiated healthy children and those with chronic, but not acute, health conditions, showed small to medium correlations with school performance (with school functioning showing the highest correlation) and had small to medium levels of parent-child agreement.

Conclusion: The results demonstrate the reliability and validity of the PedsQL™ 4.0 Generic Core Scales and may be used for children in Singapore.

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Year of Grant: 2008
Name of Grant Recipient: Lee Wei Xien Dunstan
Title of thesis: Teenagers and online harrassment: Application of a protection motivation model
Thesis No. 78

+ Abstract

Online harassment is a widespread phenomenon with consequential implications, especially for teenagers. Integrating the concepts of Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) (Rogers, 1983), privacy concern and adult intervention, this study examines the predictors motivating teenagers' intention to adopt protection behaviour against online harassment. We surveyed over 700 teenagers aged 12-19 years from a stratified sample of secondary school and junior college students. The four predictors of the PMT model were hypothesised to positively influence their intention to adopt online protection behaviour. We also sought to understand whether adult intervention could be a predictor and the potential mediating role of threat appraisal within the PMT framework. All antecedents, with the sole exception of perceived susceptibility, were found to be significant predictors of behavioural intention in the study. Through conducting multiple regression and Sobel tests (Sobel, 1982), perceived severity was found to have a significant mediating effect. This study suggests a potential model for future research in the area of online harassment. Findings suggest that future campaigns and policymakers should aim to address the issue of online harassment by increasing teenagers' threat and coping appraisals. At the same time, parents should be encouraged to play a greater role in supervising and monitoring their children's activities.

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Year of Grant: 2007
Name of Grant Recipient: Tan Yee Jia
Title of thesis: Autism in Singapore: An epidemiology and evaluation of parents’ satisfaction with services
Thesis No. 69

+ Abstract

In the past decade, services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in Singapore have been improving in quantity and quality. To investigate if parents of children with ASD (n = 180) are satisfied with services used and provide an epidemiological update of autism in Singapore, surveys were distributed at various service providers. The study found the sample's sex ratio to be similar to international findings, although rates of risk of ASD in relatives appear to be elevated. In comparison with the previous epidemiological study, a different spread in parental perception of the child's main problem was found. Parents were especially dissatisfied with the cost and availability of services, especially in education and speech and occupational therapy. Reasons for nuances in epidemiological findings and the implications of parents' dissatisfaction are discussed.

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Year of Grant: 2007
Name of Grant Recipient: Tan Yah Hui
Title of thesis: Which aspects of cognitive-linguistic processing constrain English reading comprehension in bilingual children?
Thesis No. 75

+ Abstract

Research indicates that phonological awareness, vocabulary, grammar and memory play significant roles in children's decoding and reading comprehension ability. Despite the plethora of research conducted on monolinguals, little has been done on bilinguals. This study seeks to investigate factors associated with reading ability and reading comprehension ability amongst Primary One girls in the unique bilingual context of Singapore. Eighty-four girls attending Primary 1 (mean age of 78 months) were tested on a battery of tests which measured reading accuracy, reading comprehension, phonological awareness, receptive grammar, receptive vocabulary, short term verbal memory and verbal working memory. Regression models highlighted the role of phonological awareness (and possibly grammar) as a significant factor associated with reading accuracy. Similarly, reading accuracy, phonological awareness and grammar emerged as significant factors associated with reading comprehension. This study concludes by reflecting on the importance of phonological awareness and grammar in reading achievement within the local bilingual context.

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Year of Grant: 2007
Name of Grant Recipient: Loke Wei Yang
Title of thesis: Exploring the Relationships among Exposure to Family Violence, Cyberbullying Victimization and Depressive Symptomology among Adolescents
Thesis No. 70

+ Abstract

The impact of exposure to family violence and cyberbullying victimization on depressive symptomology was examined in a group of 1717 Singaporean adolescents using a self-report questionnaire. In this study, sexual harassment (SH) as a new dimension of cyberbullying was conceptualized. As predicted, exposure to family violence and cyberbullying victimization (SH) were each significantly and independently related with depressive symptomology. Results also revealed a positive association between exposure to family violence and cyberbullying victimization (SH). Putting these into perspective, the relation between exposure to family violence and depressive symptomology in adolescents was partially mediated by cyberbullying victimization. Theoretical and practical implications highlighting the importance of the peer (cyberbullying victimization) and family (exposure to family violence) domains on the child were considered.

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Year of Grant: 2007
Name of Grant Recipient: Dr Patricia Tan
Title of thesis: Families’ experience of harmony and disharmony in systemic psychotherapy and its effects on family life
Thesis No. 74

+ Abstract

Harmony is highly valued by Asian families. This qualitative study used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to make sense of in-depth interviews on the topic of harmony with a mother and daughter from one family, and a sister and brother from another family. Five master themes emerged, including: "Constructions of harmony and disharmony in the family"; "Harmony and disharmony in therapy"; "Links between therapy and harmony in family life"; "Harmony/disharmony and individual/family systems"; and "Harmony/disharmony and socio-cultural systems". These results suggest that harmony is of crucial importance to Asian families who seek therapy, and that more research needs to be done in this under-investigated area.

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Year of Grant: 2007
Name of Grant Recipient: Koh Hwan Cui
Title of thesis: Visual Perception in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Thesis No. 76

+ Abstract

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are known to exhibit atypical visual perception. Consequently, there is fervent research interest in vision in ASD, for advancing scientific understanding of the experiences of individuals with ASD, and because neurobiological models of visual perception exist, for facilitating the search for a neurobiological explanation for ASD.

This thesis presents research conducted at the cognitive level, the neurophysiological level and the psycho-physical level, for examining vision in ASD. The psycho-physical findings suggest that atypical visual perception in ASD is unlikely to have a sub-cortical origin as sub-cortical magnocellular and parvocellular pathway functioning, and low/high spatial frequency detection in adolescents with ASD were found to be no different from typically-developing controls. There was, however, evidence indicating local motion direction perception deficits in the same adolescents with ASD suggesting that atypical motion perception in ASD may have a cortical origin. Electrophysiological investigation of low level visual perception in ASD revealed findings concurring with this latter interpretation. More specifically, whereas visual evoked potentials demonstrated visuo-integrative processes associated with perception of second order and hyperbolic gratings were not atypical in children with ASD, there was increased activity of the visual cortical region. A further gamma power analysis then demonstrated that there may be increased neuro-connectivity within primary visual area V1 in the children with ASD. Atypical low level visual cortical processes may result in locally-biased perceptual style previously observed in individuals with ASD. However, a cross-cultural comparison of perceptual style in children with ASD and TD children from Singapore and England, found evidence suggesting that locally-biased perceptual style in ASD may not be culturally universal. In sum, lower level visual cortical processes may be atypical in ASD, and whether these atypicalities manifest at the higher perceptual level can be determined by cultural variability in attention and response processes.

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Year of Grant: 2007
Name of Grant Recipient: Quek Zhiwei Eugene
Title of thesis: Getting involved in fathering: A sociological analysis on Singaporean fathers
Thesis No. 64

+ Abstract

With an increasing number of women joining the paid labour market, the absence of a full-time homemaker in the dual-income family will necessitate a change in the role of the husband. As opposed to the traditional breadwinning role of the father, changing cultural expectations require a father to be more involved in the domestic sphere. This is especially pertinent in terms of childcare issues as fathers have been found to play an important role in childhood socialisation and development.

The levels and types of fatherhood involvement may vary in various contexts and this academic exercise aims to look at how Singaporean men see themselves as fathers by exploring the dimensions of their involvement. The constant interplay between the social structures and social processes in our society will allow for the identification of factors which affect men's involvement with their children. With the family being one of the basic building blocks of contemporary society, there is an urgent need to find the key to unlock greater father involvement; if not, DINKs (Double-Income, No-Kids) may soon be the normative family form of the near future.

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Year of Grant: 2007
Name of Grant Recipient: Sim I Lin Melissa
Title of thesis: Incarcerated parents: Understanding the home-prison nexus in Singapore
Thesis No. 67

+ Abstract

In the Singapore context, the family is often regarded as a primary source of emotional, social and financial support for the children. However, when parents are incarcerated and separated from their children, they become unable to be effectively involved in their children's lives as the prison environment hinders their ability to do so. As a result, the children become victims of their parent's crime. They lose their parent and the accompanying financial and emotional support that the parent provided prior to incarceration that is necessary for "healthy child development".

This thesis is a study of the impact of parental incarceration on children, as expressed through my adult respondents—the inmates and social workers. From their expression of their relationship and interactions with the children, there is a changing relationship between the family and the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) to increase the involvement of the family in the lives of the incarcerated. The shift is formalized by the SPS through the policy changes and the introduction of more programmes to involve the family. In light of the shift, the second aim of this thesis is to explore the development of the Home-Prison nexus in Singapore. This thesis contends that the families of incarcerated parents are discussed and understood as a reintegrative and criminogenic element. These two levels create contradictory expectations of the family.

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Year of Grant: 2007
Name of Grant Recipient: Wu Huizhen Diana
Title of thesis: Teachers’ experiences in the Integrated Childcare Programme (ICCP)
Thesis No. 65 & 66

+ Abstract

With the implementation of the Integrated Childcare program in 2003, it signals that disabled children could be included into mainstream settings at an early age. This integration program differs from the existing "ability-driven" approach of the education system and the separation of the special education from mainstream education (Lim & Tan, 2004, p.4). There is a need to understand the discussion behind the integration. The concept of integration has been loosely used (Baker & Gaden, 1992), as inclusion of diversity is embraced in most societies. However, what does integration mean in our local education system? With the different stakeholders involved in the development of this program, it is essential to discuss our expectations on how the programme should develop based on our conceptualisation of the term "integration". Implications on the differing beliefs and expectations of "integration" will be discussed further in this paper.

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Year of Grant: 2006
Name of Grant Recipient: Nah Yong Hwee
Title of thesis: Perception of social norms by children with high functioning autism
Thesis No. 63

+ Abstract

This study investigated how Singaporean children with high functioning autism (HFA) make social judgements and provide justifications for their responses. To develop the eight vignettes used in this study, 238 typically developing children rated the social appropriateness of 13 situations. Behaviors/scenarios that were considered as socially inappropriate by the majority of children were selected to be worded into vignettes which contained a probe after a sentence depicting a socially inappropriate event (test item) and a socially appropriate event (control item). For each vignette, participants were asked to rate the strangeness (on a 4-point Likert scale) of the test and control items. Justifications for each rating were also elicited. Fifteen children with HFA and 15 typically developing peers aged between 9 and 13 years participated in this study. Contrary to the hypotheses, children with HFA rated socially inappropriate behaviors in vignettes in a similar fashion as their typically developing peers on test items. In addition, they rated the control behaviors stranger as compared to their typically developing peers. Further analyses of the justifications for these ratings revealed that children with HFA had a higher tendency to provide a non-social or/and bizarre answers instead of justifying the inappropriateness appealing to social norms and conventions. At the same time, children with HFA also seemed to have difficulties in understanding control situations or normal behaviors. They produced a higher proportion of bizarre justifications as compared to the typically developing children. This study sheds light on the nature of difficulties in social perception that individuals with HFA have and highlights the differences in justifying behaviors in terms of social norms and rules as compared to typically developing individuals. Practical and theoretical implications of the findings were discussed and directions for future research were suggested.

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Year of Grant: 2006
Name of Grant Recipient: Teo Lay Ching Linda
Title of thesis: Children and video games: An association with aggression, addiction and school grades
Thesis No. 68

+ Abstract

Video games pervade the lives of children. With video games gaining their popularity amongst Singaporean children, it is crucial to assess their effects. The purpose of this research is to examine the impact of video games on children in relation to physical and relational aggression, prosocial behavior, addiction and school grades.

Three hundred and thirty three children aged 8 – 12 years from two primary schools were selected by their teachers to participate in this study. A series of questionnaires using Danforth's Engagement-Addiction (II) scale, Huessman and Guerra's Normative Beliefs about Aggression scale and Crick's Teacher-Reported Aggression and Prosocial scale were provided to the children and their teachers.

Key findings of the study were as follows: (1) boys were more likely a) to spend more time on video games, b) to become addicted to video games and c) to behave more aggressively than girls; (2) children who spent more time on video games were more likely to behave aggressively and were more likely to be addicted to video games; (3) children who were addicted were more likely to display physical aggression than children who were not addicted to video games.

The above findings are consistent with the past video game research.

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Year of Grant: 2006
Name of Grant Recipient: Wong Hwee Bee
Title of thesis: Health-related Quality of Life in children and adolescent in Singapore
Thesis No. 88

+ Abstract

Myopia is a major public health problem and the prevalence of myopia in Singaporean children is one of the highest worldwide. A better understanding of the refraction and ocular components developments during childhood will enable better public health interventions for the prevention of onset and progression of myopia in children and adolescents.


Yearly cycloplegic refraction and ocular biometry measures collected from school-aged children enrolled in The Singapore Cohort study Of the Risk factors for Myopia (SCORM) throughout the children's elementary education were analysed. The children were classified into one of five refractive error groups based on the spherical equivalent of the randomly selected eye, measured during their ages of 6 to 13 years old for: persistent hyperopia, emmetropising hyperopia, persistent emmetropia, newly developed myopia and persistent myopia.


The overall aim of this thesis is to evaluate the ocular biometry growth, refractive error pattern and their correlations with quality of life in Singapore school-aged children. The aims include: i) To examine the changes in ocular components in children with emmetropia and those with refractive errors, including hyperopia and myopia during their ages of 6 to 13 years old, ii) To assess the changes in refractive error and ocular components before and after the onset of myopia among children, iii) To illustrate and present the utility of fractional polynomial in modelling longitudinal data in myopia, and iv) To assess the impact of presenting visual impairment and refractive errors on health-related quality of life measures in children and adolescents of Singapore.

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Year of Grant: 2005
Name of Grant Recipient: Daryl Chow Heng Chean
Title of thesis: The influence of emotional intelligence on adolescents' problem behaviours and achievement
Thesis No. 62

+ Abstract

In recent years, Singapore has seen a rise of both internalising and externalising problem behaviours among youths in Singapore. In this study, we examined the influence of emotional intelligence on achievement and students' problem behaviours. We hypothesized that higher levels of emotional intelligence would be associated with higher levels achievement, with lower levels of internalising problems (e.g. depression, anxiety and somatic complaints), and with lower levels of externalising problems (e.g. aggression). Participants were 1016 (49% male) students in secondary one and secondary two from three secondary schools in Singapore.

Factor analyses indicated that emotional intelligence consisted of seven oblique factors: emotional awareness, emotional mastery, self-efficacy, problem-solving skills, empathy, social skills, and social acceptance. While most of the emotional intelligence factors were associated with problem behaviours and achievement, that emotional mastery and empathy were the most predominantly related to internalising and externalising problem behaviours. Both factors were found to be negatively related to Aggression, Anxiety, Somatic Complaints, and Depression, with the exception that Empathy was found to have a positive relationship with Anxiety. Implications of the results for promoting emotional and social learning in schools are discussed.

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Year of Grant: 2005
Name of Grant Recipient: Jillian-Marie Thomas
Title of thesis: Breaking away from the “Broken Family”: A sociological study on children of divorce
Thesis No. 61

+ Abstract

Children are one of the greatest causalities of parental marital dissolution. This academic exercise seeks to understand what it means to be a child of divorce in Singapore, how these meanings arise, and what factors surrounding this stressful event contribute or obstruct these individuals' path to adequate adjustment.

The process of divorce sets into motion a series of stressful events which result in an accumulation of stressors. Children have to resolve the conflict between these and the availability of resources to cope with the divorce. A child's ascribed definition of his or hers familial-changing circumstance and interpersonal relations are shaped by macro-level conditions which are both cultural and structural. Differing social experiences of the child will define how the child will adjust to the consequences of the divorce. This is because certain children are more resilient and able to develop positively from the divorce, emerging from the adversity with a stronger sense of efficacy. However, there is also a group of children who succumb to the negative impact of the stressors which prove detrimental to their well-being.

This study is significant in realizing the important role the child of divorce has in managing his or her family "crisis", as well as identifying factors that mitigate or exacerbate adequate adjustment.

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Year of Grant: 2004
Name of Grant Recipient: Ang Xin Ying
Title of thesis: Bullying in schools: Perceptions, motivations and behaviours
Thesis No. 53 & 54

+ Abstract

The present research seeks to investigate adolescents' bullying behaviours, their beliefs and perceptions of bullying and their motivations for bullying in schools. Two studies were carried out. The first study looked into adolescents' beliefs and perceptions of bullying behaviours. It was found that adolescents do not share a common view of what defines bullying behaviours. The second study sought to find out if there exists differences between particular groups (e.g. bullies/victims, pure bullies, victims and the uninvolved) and between the genders in bullying behaviours, susceptibility to peer pressure to bully and motivations for bullying. The findings for the different groups and genders with respect to bullying behaviours, motivations for bullying and susceptibility to peer pressure to bully are discussed.

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Year of Grant: 2004
Name of Grant Recipient: Grace Ding
Title of thesis: The determinants of emotional neglect: Perceptions among adolescents in Singapore
Thesis No. 73

+ Abstract

This thesis investigates the concept of emotional care and neglect, from the perceptive of adolescents. The importance of the parents' relationship with their adolescents and the impact it has on their perceptions of emotional care and emotional neglect is examined. Emotional care and neglect are difficult concepts to define and to measure. As there are no instruments to measure emotional neglect, a self-designed instrument, named Adolescent Self-Report Measure of Emotional Care and Neglect, was constructed by the candidate.

Very little research has been done on grandparents undertaking the parental role as caregivers, hence they are included in the study in addition to mothers and fathers. The thesis examines how different parenting styles, parental and academic expectations, lack of emotional closeness between the caregivers and adolescents, and caregivers' superstitious beliefs can contribute in adolescents' perception of being emotionally neglected. The role of the caregiver is also important in understanding adolescents' coping mechanisms and their resiliency in adverse situations.

Findings in this thesis indicated that mothers are still the preferred caregiver. The roles of fathers are as important as the roles of mothers in their relationship with adolescents as they are found to provide more emotional autonomy to older male adolescents. Grandparents, however, are perceived to be emotionally neglectful by the older adolescents. Adolescents in this study perceived that their relationship with grandfathers have been affected, and this could have been the result of their superstitious beliefs,

Results of the study clearly highlighted the importance of the roles of the caregivers. Both parents and grandparents need to understand consequences of their own behaviours that may cause adolescents to perceive being emotionally neglected. Counsellors can use findings of this thesis in their interventions with adolescents and their families. Early intervention is necessary to prevent chronic emotionally neglected adolescents from escalating into chronic emotional abusers.

It is hoped that interfamilial relationships between adolescents and their caregivers can be enhanced through the findings of this thesis.

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Year of Grant: 2004
Name of Grant Recipient: Ho Wei Cheng, Benedict
Title of thesis: Theory of mind in deaf children in Singapore
Thesis No. 55 & 56

+ Abstract

Theory of mind is the understanding that others possess mental representations that may differ from objective reality, and these individuals would behave accordingly to the mental representations they possess. This ability is typically assessed using the false-belief paradigm. Research has recently extended to deaf children. Several researchers have criticised the false-belief paradigm, creating a need for a valid measure of theory of mind. This study had two aims, namely to establish a valid measure of theory of mind in deaf children and to explore the influence of several variables in a child's environment on the development of theory of mind. In addition, it addressed several methodological inconsistencies in the literature. Four theory-of-mind tasks were administered on deaf and hearing children. They were: 1) "unexpected change" and 2) "unexpected content" false-belief tasks, 3) a false-drawing task and 4) a narrative task. The results of this study were contrary to the extant literature and the implications of these are considered.

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Year of Grant: 2004
Name of Grant Recipient: Jose Miguel M. Abito
Title of thesis: Intergenerational transmission of family formation attitudes in Singapore: The role of the father
Thesis No. 58, 59 & 60

+ Abstract

This research project aims to identify whether parental attitudes have a statistically significant influence on children's own attitudes. Specifically, the set of attitudes related to family formation is selected to be the main focus of the project because of the recent importance of such issues as declining fertility rates and marriage rates, and increasing divorce rates in the context of Singapore. Four family formation-related attitudes are examined in the paper namely attitudes toward pre-marital sex, cohabitation, marriage, and divorce. Different specifications of Ordered Probit models are utilized to test the significance of intergenerational transmission of family formation attitudes. The data used in this study is from a survey conducted in July-August 2003 under the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Programme. A total of 2800 surveys were distributed to students from various secondary schools and junior colleges across Singapore. Using a latent variable interpretation, the results suggest that with the exception of attitudes towards marriage and divorce, the father has greater influence on the child's attitude even after controlling closeness to either parent and parents' and child's characteristics. Closeness to the mother explains most of the variation in child's attitude towards marriage. For divorce, the mother's attitude against divorce has greater effect than the father's.

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Year of Grant: 2004
Name of Grant Recipient: Shiau Vee Hueng, Don
Title of thesis: Becoming a gifted child - The social construction of giftedness in Singapore
Thesis No. 49 & 50

+ Abstract

Recognising that giftedness is not an immutable, inherent quality of persons but a social construct, this academic exercise seeks to understand what it means to be gifted in Singapore, and how these meanings arise. It identifies the ideology of giftedness as being produced by the state, and manifested through the Gifted Education Programme (GEP).

Given the hegemony of the People's Action Party government, and the fact that the GEP is housed in the ideological state apparatus that is the school system, one would expect the state's version of giftedness to be seamlessly transmitted to students in the Programme. However, structural contradictions inherent in the Programme prevent this: instead, GEP teachers de-emphasise the Programme's goals and students themselves reject the definitions of 'giftedness' that their teachers impose on them.

This study is significant in marrying micro and macro approaches to the construction of reality, as well as filling local research gaps in the study of elites and children.

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Year of Grant: 2004
Name of Grant Recipient: Xie Kaixi Cassy
Title of thesis: The roles of working husbands and wives in child care: Influence of work characteristics and attitudes
Thesis No. 51 & 52

+ Abstract

Work and family, the dominant life roles for most employed women and men in contemporary society, can either help or hurt each other. The conflict between work and family has real consequences, especially in the area of child care. Child care, unlike domestic household chores, is not something that one can put off to a later day as it requires constant care and attention. Gender ideologies have made it even more difficult to strike a work-family balance that can benefit the fulfilment of parental roles. This is an important aspect to look into, given the fact that the number of dual career couples in Singapore has almost doubled within the past decade. It would be useful to understand how parents have to construct their motherhood and fatherhood experiences within the context of a generally patriarchal society, and in an everyday work reality that embodies both facilities and obstacles to work/family integration. This research study aims to explore the roles that working wives and husbands play in caring for their children, and the dynamism involved in deciding child care arrangements. In order to appreciate the nature of childcare involvement in dual income families, the paper will also examine the influence of work role characteristics and gender role expectations in the division of childcare work and related decision making processes.

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Year of Grant: 2003
Name of Grant Recipient: Ang Lee Hui, Elizabeth
Title of thesis: Constructs of discipline and punishment in Chinese families in Singapore: Childhood discipline as opposed to child abuse
Thesis No. 46 & 48

+ Abstract

The sociological task of my thesis aims to serve as a channel to provide a voice for Singaporean Chinese informants regarding childhood discipline and punishment and child abuse. The data from Chinese informants will thus be inherently useful in providing readers with new insights on regarding these issues which at times seem contradictory to what has been proscribed in Western dominated literatures.

Standpoints offered by most Western academia and practitioners are reckoned to be inadequate due to their different cultural backgrounds and socialization practices. Child abuse is a subject most commonly found in Western literatures and thus the perspectives presented are largely influenced by Western cultural and historical beliefs. My research then serves to provide a theoretical re-conceptualization of childhood discipline and child abuse in the light of Singapore Chinese families contexts in order to investigate how cultural beliefs and childhood socialization can influence one's style in childhood discipline and one's perception towards "child abuse".

My paper thus serves to endow readers with an understanding of how cultural beliefs and factors could affect an individual's attitude towards discipline, punishment and abuse. It is also done with the intention to emphasize the significance of epistemology which influences both the methodology and the analysis of data gathered from informants. This new perspective will therefore serve to inform the civic segment and professional such as teachers and social workers to be in a better position to render help to perpetrators and victims who are in need of social services.

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Year of Grant: 2003
Name of Grant Recipient: Koh Chia Ling
Title of thesis: When the male breadwinner no longer brings home bread: Exploring the impact of retrenchment on Singapore men and their families
Thesis No. 45 & 47

+ Abstract

This paper examines the impact of retrenchment on Singaporean men and their families. It is a response to the massive number of workers retrenched during the period from 2000 to 2003 when the September 11 incident, Bali bombing and SARS devastated the Singapore economy. The paper uses qualitative methods to examine the experiences of fathers who have been retrenched in the past three years.

Interviews were carried out with retrenched fathers and/or members of their immediate families to examine the impact of retrenchment, the extent to which men's experiences, identities and coping strategies are affected by the ideology of the male breadwinner, to find out what other factors have an influence on the experience and to examine the impact of retrenchment on the men's families (which is their immediate social context).

From my findings, the assimilation of the male breadwinner ideology has indisputably affected the respondents, especially in terms of their identities and emotions. However, other factors such as age, educational level, race, the presence or absence of retrenchment benefits, the number of family members within the family and the number who holds a job, length of unemployment and the situation of the job market have also a bearing on the impact of men's retrenchment, in terms of affecting their identities, emotion and coping strategies. It is important to understand that retrenchment is not an individual's problem, but one that affects his family as well. These factors will in turn affect the degree of impact of retrenchment on the respondents and their families.

Besides sharing the impact, the immediate family is also the first form of emotional support to which most respondents turn. Some men also rely on religion to give them emotional solace or turn to their friends, relatives or social organization for help and emotional support. Some men try to manage their impression – especially people's impressions about the situation they are in – both with the interviewer and in interaction with their friends. Finally, to cope with financial difficulties, many seek to return to the job market, rely on their savings or cut down on their expenses.

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Year of Grant: 2003
Name of Grant Recipient: Chow Yii Mun, Genevieve
Title of thesis: Singapore youth, television and dating: A reception study
Thesis No. 44 & 57

+ Abstract

Singaporean youth are the next driving force behind the nation's socio-economic development. The onset of globalisation, however, has had significant impact on youth's Asian value systems. Tested against somewhat contradictory foreign influences, youth are in the dynamic process of shaping their self and cultural identities. The government, recognizing the importance of nurturing a strong youth population that can counter these new influences, actively employs the media as one of the key social institutions in identity building through the perpetuation of a national ideology. With its popularity among youth, television is identified as a viable means for the government to communicate with its youth.

This qualitative paper adopts James Lull's (1982, 1990) rules-based approach to the study of television and society to examine the interaction between Singaporean youth, media and the government. Focus groups were conducted to understand how youth respondents negotiate value-laden messages in a recent locally produced English drama Chemistry. Observations and transcripts from the focus group were analysed according to habitual, parametric and tactical rules.

Though government leaders believe that the media have powerful effects on a passive audience, key findings show that the Singaporean youth are active, creative television viewers. They creatively appropriate the value-laden messages in television programs by negotiating them within their own cultural contexts. However, the extent to which interpretations of television portrayals aid their understanding of dating and relationship varies with their prior experiences and level of maturity. Despite worries that globalisation has caused the erosion of values in the national ideology, this study finds that these youth-television interactions constantly reaffirm their self and cultural identities.

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Year of Grant: 2002
Name of Grant Recipient: Chan Teck Wei, Daniel
Title of thesis: Through the lens of Cooley's looking glass - Perception of Normal (Technical) Stream students
Thesis No. 33 & 34

+ Abstract

In Singapore, the Normal (Technical) stream students face difficulty advancing to higher streams. Stereotyping has also brought about the experience of marginality for some of them in the school.

This qualitative, exploratory study seeks to understand the perceptions of the Normal (Technical) stream students with regards to their experiences in the school and also their perceptions of their parents, teachers and peers' opinions towards them. Through this study, the researcher attempts to understand the worldview of the Normal (Technical) students and the subjective meanings their experiences have for them. This study also seeks to provide caregivers such as parents, and teachers and youth workers with a better understanding of the Normal (Technical) stream students.

A total of 6 respondents who are currently studying in the Normal (Technical) stream have been interviewed for this study. The themes that surfaced from the findings are then analyzed and discussed.

Some of the discussion of findings involves:

  • Schooling as a negating experience,
  • Issue of negative labelling.
  • Affirmative effect of the peers' opinion towards Normal Technical students
  • Overall effect of the significant others' perception as negating

Recommendations for further research and the researcher also addresses implications for social work practice.

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Year of Grant: 2002
Name of Grant Recipient: Ruth Chiam Su-Lynn
Title of thesis: Resilience of non-delinquent sisters of juvenile delinquent girls
Thesis No. 31 & 32

+ Abstract

This study explores the resilience of girls growing up in broken families. The protective factors influencing the development of resilience were examined in the context of the Ecological Perspective. A comparison was made between female juvenile delinquents and their non-delinquent sisters. A sample of 4 pairs of sisters was obtained through a Girls' Home in Singapore. Although all the girls in the study perceived their family situation to be difficult, the non-delinquent sister viewed it as a challenge to overcome. They displayed positive adaption despite experiencing adversity and stress in the family, school and relationship with friends. Protective factors existing in both the external systems and the individual characteristics helped steer the girls away from delinquency. Factors such as the presence of an adult figure, positive relationship with friends, a sense of purpose and future, and an internal locus of control especially aided the development of resilience in these girls. In this study on resilience, strategies to assist families and individuals susceptible to delinquency are discussed.

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Year of Grant: 2002
Name of Grant Recipient: Lim Hsiu Mei, Jacqueline
Title of thesis: The race to court: Parental involvement and the experiences of Chinese boys on BPC or Probation Orders
Thesis No. 37 & 38

+ Abstract

This study aimed to explore if the main determinant of a problem youth's outcome in Court, is whether police intervention or parental action first took place. The circumstances surrounding the imposition of the Probation Order or the Supervision Order on the respective youths have been conceptualised in terms of a) parental involvement, b) parents' process of help-seeking (particularly during the pre-delinquent stage), and c) boys', parents' and societal.

The qualitative study, which is exploratory in nature, employs two sub-examples of Chinese, male, 14 and 15 year old youths – Probationers and BPC (Beyond Parental Control) boys. These two groups were compared, and qualitative differences (and similarities) found between them were analysed and discussed thematically. The scope and means of parental involvement, in terms of attitudes and perceptions, as well as capability was also explored between parents of the two groups.

On the whole, it was found that the respective parents of Probationers and BPC boys differed, to different extents, in terms of their involvement through the use of direct and indirect controls on their children, from childhood to adolescence. However, both groups of youths were also found to have somewhat different experiences in the contexts of their family structure and dynamics, peer system involvement, and attachment to the school system. Differences in social background, perception, capability and resourcefulness of parents within the two groups were also found.

Parental involvement and approaches to help seeking between the two groups were thus found to be different, largely as a result of disparity in the severity of the respective boys' behaviours, as well as subsequent parental actions (or inactions) in response to these behaviours.

The implications of the issues highlighted through these findings, toward social work practice and policy in Singapore, as well as recommendations for further research, are then discussed.

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Year of Grant: 2002
Name of Grant Recipient: Poh Chee Ling, Sarah
Title of thesis: Understanding adolescent girls from low-income families
Thesis No. 39 &41

+ Abstract

In Singapore, little emphasis has been given to studying the effects economic hardship has on adolescents. Hence, the purpose of this study was to explore the developmental issues faced by adolescent girls who came from low-income families. These issues include socioemotional development, academic achievements, behavioural issues and health. The roles of family relationships and social support in the development of this group of adolescent girls were also studied. A comparison study was conducted to compare the differences in developmental issues faced by girls experiencing economic hardship and girls who were not experiencing financial difficulties. A sample of 16, 14-year old girls was used for this study. Eight of them were from low-income families and the other half belonged to the comparison group.

Results from the study showed that there were few differences between the developments of both groups of girls. Differences were only found in the areas of academic achievements and self-esteem. The girls from low-income were found to be generally weak in their studies and have lower self-esteem as compared to their peers. Most of the girls were found to be well adjusted emotionally and did not exhibit problematic behaviours. Parent-child interactions and social support seem to have an influence on the adjustment of adolescent girls facing financial difficulties.

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Year of Grant: 2002
Name of Grant Recipient: Syahirah Bte Nazimuddeen
Title of thesis: The amplification of child abuse among Malays in Singapore: Folk devils, moral panics and institutional response
Thesis No. 35 & 36

+ Abstract

This thesis aims to address the problem of the disproportionate representation of Malays in child abuse statistics in Singapore. Central to explicating this disproportionality would be formulated of the research question. Is this disproportionate representation of Malays in child abuse statistics an actual reflection of their offending patterns or is it a result of discriminatory and differential institutional response to cases of child abuse?

As previous models have been deemed inadequate in explaining the disproportionate representation of Malays in child abuse statistics, this thesis aims to offer a theoretical reconceptualisation of the problem of disproportionality among the Malays. It argues that discriminatory and differential institutional response by the social control agents involved leads to this amplification of child abuse among the Malays in Singapore. Formulating an adaption of Stanley Cohen's (1972) phenomenal "Moral Panics and Folk Devils", this thesis argues that factors such as class and ethnicity influence the reporting decisions of the social control agents, relying on notions of 'discretion'.

This thesis aims to locate how this practice of discretion, as practiced by the social control agents involved, is situated, structured and mediated with respect to class and ethnic backgrounds of the perpetrators in attending to child abuse cases. The contribution of this reconceptualised understanding allows for the surfacing of alternative explanations for the phenomenon studied.

It must be emphasised however that the conclusions drawn in this thesis primarily results from the data collected in the research process. The date accumulated is only a partial snapshot of reality, and may or may not be an actual reflection of social reality. This thesis just raises one of the many possibilities, one of the many lived realities from one of the many perspectives, maybe incorporating more than one, but nonetheless, miniscule to the possibilities of interpretations. But this is alright. That is the whole motivation of the research, to see things in some way, to understand why things are seen in that way and not another.

"Each is free to judge the work of others and to accept it or to reject it if it does not communicate something meaningful about the world; and what is meaningful for one person is not necessarily meaningful for another.'

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Year of Grant: 2002
Name of Grant Recipient: Tan Yu Bee
Title of thesis: Deconstructing and redefining parenthood: A sociological insight into custodial parents’ post-divorce parenting
Thesis No. 40

+ Abstract

The institution of marriage, family and parenthood is under constant pressure to change as divorce rates in Singapore rises steadily over the years. It has always been taken for granted that parenting comes naturally after marriage and having children, and are activities that commonly take place in what society defines as a "normal" two-parent family, reinforced by ideologies of a normal family, motherhood and fatherhood. However, divorce reconstructs parents as either custodial or non-custodial and changes how parenting is conducted at both the individual and social level.

Taking a dialectic view of parenthood that has both lived, intersubjective aspects and structured, normative dimensions, this thesis seeks to explore custodial parents' idea of an ideal family and parenthood, their actual experiences of postdivorce parenting and how meanings of parenthood and family are renegotiated in the light of the inconsistencies between parenthood as an ideal and parenthood as lived experienced. In addition, perspectives between men and women will be explored and compared.

It is found that parenting children in the context of divorce produces a spectrum of parenting practices and a matter of delicately balancing multiple roles depending on the personal resources that the custodial parent has for parenthood in terms of finance, emotion and time. In coping with the inconsistencies between the ideal lived experiences, the meaning of parenthood and family are deconstructed and redefined. A new definition of family focused less on the family structure and places more emphasis on intangible but significant values such as happiness, close bonds, love, care and responsibility. The concept of a parent as reconstructed by the respondents is that of a "vital-but-optional-if-requirements-unmet" parent.

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Year of Grant: 2002
Name of Grant Recipient: Teh Chiew Guek
Title of thesis: Childhood experience of sexual abuse in Singapore
Thesis No. 42 &43

+ Abstract

The present study is the first prevalence study of child sexual abuse in Singapore. A convenience sample of 325 post=graduate students training to become teachers in Singapore completed questionnaires which included items on definitions of child sexual abuse, recall of sexual abuse experience before the age of 16, perceptions about the sexual abuse incidents, opinions about a law on mandatory reporting in Singapore and personal demographics.

The overall prevalence rate for contact and non-contact child sexual abuse was 17.5% (n=57). Eighteen percent of the female respondents and 17% of the male respondents indicated that they have had childhood sexual experiences. The prevalence rate for contact child sexual abuse was 9.6% (n=22) for female respondents and 14.3% (n=13) for male respondents. Interestingly, male respondents in this study reported a higher prevalence rate of contact child sexual abuse than female respondents.

Most of the victims were less than 13 years old when they were sexually abused. The majority of their abusers were males and the average age of the abusers as estimated by the victims was 26.5 years old and the majority of them (61.7%) were friends, relatives or people known to the victims. The female victims in this study were two and a half time more likely than males to be sexually abused by strangers while the male victims were one and a half time more likely than females to be abused by family and friends.

These findings are important because they show that a significant percentage of an adult population in Singapore was sexually abused in their childhood. It also confirms the fact that child sexual abuse is under reported in Singapore as only 57.1% of the victims reported their sexual victimization to others.

This study also found that behaviours that were seen as sexual abuse to a female child were similarly regarded as sexual abuse to a male child. In general, more than 80% of the respondents favoured some form of mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse. However, respondents' opinions were split as to whether to have compulsory reporting for all residents of Singapore or for some people. The majority of the teacher-trainee respondents in this study strongly supported doctors, nurses, teachers, principals, childcare providers and social workers as mandatory reporters of child sexual abuse. Respondents' prior childhood sexual abuse experience, race and socio-economic background were not found to have an effect on respondents' support for a law on mandatory reporting though some respondents with prior childhood sexual abuse experience felt that reporting would not make the victim feel better but in fact the victims' situation would be made worse as he might be stigmatized by family or friends. Limitations and suggestions for further study are also discussed in the last section of this study.

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Year of Grant: 2001
Name of Grant Recipient: Yeo Li Ling, Selina
Title of thesis: A study on BPC adolescents and their family patterns
Thesis No. 30

+ Abstract

In keeping in line with findings from past studies, this study investigates the relationship between family types, family patterns (parent-adolescent communication, perceived social support) and the adolescent's self-esteem, comparing families with adolescents beyond parental control (BPC) and those who are non-BPC. The sample consisted of 101 adolescents. Measures used were the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale II, the Perceived Social Support from Family Scale, the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale, and the Parent-Adolescent Communication Scale.

As hypothesized, BPC adolescents were less likely than non-BPC adolescents to communicate with their parents in a positive manner. They also perceived a lower level of support from their parents. When a chi-square analysis was conducted on family types, significant differences between the two groups of adolescents were found, with 40% of non-BPC adolescents rating their families as balanced and more than 50% of BPC adolescents rating their families as extreme under the Circumplex Model. The self-esteem of the non-BPC adolescents was significantly higher than from the BPC group. In an attempt to identify more precisely which variable may be a greater contributing factor to an adolescent's delinquent behaviour, a discriminant analysis was conducted and it was observed that perceived social support obtained the highest standardized discriminant coefficients of the four variables.

Overall, the study lends support to findings from past studies, with results revealing possible directions for future studies and highlighting important implications for counselling and therapy with adolescents and their family.

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Year of Grant: 2000
Name of Grant Recipient: Chan Wei Ling, Wendy
Title of thesis: Empowering delinquents: A guidance programme groupwork
Thesis No. 24 & 25

+ Abstract

This research seeks to capture the change processes of youths-at-risk in group work intervention, in the context of the Police Caution Cases Guidance Programme (PCCGP). Past research literature reveals the importance of individual attention and multi-component and multi-system intervention in reintegrating youths-at-risk into mainstream society. The contribution of group work in imparting life skills and positive peer involvement is also noteworthy. A new environment set up due to the new group formed allows for changes in the youths' behaviour in their immediate environment. Thus, it is the focus of the study to trace decision-making and change process to address the role that group work plays in empowering the youths-at-risk. A qualitative study was carried out, observing the group work process and conducting post-group session interviews with youths in PCCGP. Through narrative and content analysis, the verbatim transcripts of group sessions and interviews were analysed for decision-making points and change process. The results showed peer group learning through role-plays and discussions of real-life experiences being significant in imparting values and principles to the youths. In addition, the element of fun and meaningful themes in group sessions were mentioned by the youths as important. An analysis of the findings revealed that teaching youths life skills such as problem solving and action-consequence relationships, heightened the youths' own perception of their mastery of control of the situation. Thus, changes in behaviour were observed by parents, schools and the youths themselves, suggesting positive empowerment.

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Year of Grant: 2000
Name of Grant Recipient: Ng Chee Beng, Matthew
Title of thesis: Violence in male Chinese adolescents: A case study approach
Thesis No. 26 & 27

+ Abstract

The family has often been seen as a nurturing place for its offspring. It has been a social arrangement that has endured. Yet studies have shown that the family could be the place in which children learn antisocial behaviours as they observe spousal violence and experience other forms of violent situations.

While theories on violence formulation and maintenance related to the family are well established, they are ethnocentric, to a certain degree. Therefore there is need to reconsider the applicability of these theories in the specific culture of the Chinese community in Singapore. Hence this study attempts to determine that applicability of these theories in this culture.

Five Chinese youths and some of their family members from the Singapore Boys Home (SBH) have taken part in the study through a series of interviews.

It is found that aggressive familial relationships alone could not determine the process in which Singapore Chinese male youth became violent. Aspects of the Chinese culture, such as the harsh discipline on older children, have been found to be influencing the perception in which aggressive relationships are viewed. Youth's membership in gangs has been found to contribute more to the youth's development of aggression than the family. Alternative explanations of the role of the family on the development of aggression in the Chinese youths, which centres on the quality of the parent-child relationship, have been brought forward.

The study is of the opinion that greater aid in parenting should be given to Chinese families with low educated parents, in order to reduce the possibility of their adolescent children becoming violent through gang involvement.

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Year of Grant: 2000
Name of Grant Recipient: Tan Peck Woon, Alicia
Title of thesis: The nurturing roles of grandparents in Chinese families
Thesis No. 28 & 29

+ Abstract

This research explores the roles that grandmothers and grandfathers play in Chinese families. With reference from the roles, it examines the perception of grandparenting, the type of care the grandparents provide, the degree of satisfaction in performing the roles and the relationship with their grandchildren. This is an exploratory cum descriptive qualitative research study. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with six widowed grandmothers and 12 married grandparents. The criteria for selection is that the grandparents must have at least one grandchild studying in a primary school and are co-residing together or at least spend a minimum of three days in a week with each other. The grandparents are selected through key informants from the Retirees' Club and Thomson Community Club. A handful of the participants are chosen through informal resources. The sample was selected from a few sources to rule out sampling bias.

This study has found that grandmothers are more likely to perform the roles of a caregiver, 'values transmitter', disciplinarian and friend to their grandchildren while grandfathers are likely to play roles of a 'values transmitter', disciplinarian and playmate. The grandmothers perceive grandparenting as central to them and they see themselves as a 'valued elder'. As for the grandfathers, they view themselves as a 'valued elder' and perceive grandparenting as being and having a companion.

The grandparents have reported great satisfaction and good relationship with the grand

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Year of Grant: 1999
Name of Grant Recipient: Ang Pei Shin
Title of thesis: Perceptions of fathers’ roles in the family
Thesis No. 20 & 21

+ Abstract

As Singapore embarks on regionalisation as driven by both the State and market, there has been an emergence and rapid growth of frequent business travellers based in Singapore. The limited literature from secondary resources suggested frequent parental absence accruing from frequent travel to be stressful and detrimental to the family's well-being. Thus, this study is interested in exploring the orientations and stresses of family members towards frequent parental absence with particular reference to the husband/father. As stress necessitates coping, this study would also examine the way family members cope with frequent business travel and the various work-related, family-related and individual variables influencing coping.

Given that families are primary units of society largely responsible for society's well-being, families who fail to cope well with stressful situations such as frequent business travel could lead to serious repercussions on society. As both regionalisation and the family play important parts in the nation's growth, it is pertinent that increased research be conducted to illuminate the complex interplay between frequent travel and the family.

This study is about understanding fathers in terms of their roles and level of involvement in families with young children. The two main concerns of the study are:

(1) The state of parental involvement

(2) The factors affecting men's involvement with their children

A total of 8 father-mother pairs participated in this qualitative study. 6 parent-pairs are Chinese and the other 2 parent-pairs are Indians. Face-to-face interviews are conducted using an interview schedule. Respondents are also requested to do logbook entries for a weekday and a weekend. They are required to record the activities they engaged in from the time they wake up till the time they turn in. This is known as a time budget study and it looks at how respondents allocate their time in a day.

Results of this study indicate that men discharge their parental roles depending on a number of factors. These factors are: men's beliefs towards parenting, prior socialisation in their family of origin, their attitudes towards fatherhood; whether it is positive or negative, the skills available in handling siblings' rivalry and institutional practice.

Roles played by men in the sample include being the disciplinarian, the teacher who transmits values, the counsellor who gives advice, the security officer who protects the family, and being the children's playmate.

When men have positive attitudes about fatherhood, they tend to share their spouses' load in childcare. They are more likely to take care of the physical needs of children. The strongest factor that affects fathers' involvement is paid employment. Men spend, on average, 1.6 hours interacting with their children on a weekday. On weekends, the interaction time is twice as long. Family time is only available on weekends. And men hardly attend parenting seminars or workshops.

One of the main challenges faced by fathers is balancing work and family. Inherent to this challenge is finding more time to spend with their children.

Recommendations regarding how to reach out to fathers and to encourage them to spend more time with their children in the local context are made towards the end of the study.

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Year of Grant: 1999
Name of Grant Recipient: Tan Lee Yee, Adeline
Title of thesis: The impact of frequent business travel on the family in Singapore
Thesis No. 22 & 23

+ Abstract

As Singapore embarks on regionalisation as driven by both the State and market, there has been an emergence and rapid growth of frequent business travellers based in Singapore. The limited literature from secondary resources suggested frequent parental absence accruing from frequent travel to be stressful and detrimental to the family's well-being. Thus, this study is interested in exploring the orientations and stresses of family members towards frequent parental absence with particular reference to the husband/father. As stress necessitates coping, this study would also examine the way family members cope with frequent business travel and the various work-related, family-related and individual variables influencing coping.

Given that families are primary units of society largely responsible for society's well-being, families who fail to cope well with stressful situations such as frequent business travel could lead to serious repercussions on society. As both regionalisation and the family play important parts in the nation's growth, it is pertinent that increased research be conducted to illuminate the complex interplay between frequent travel and the family.

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Year of Grant: 1998
Name of Grant Recipient: Goh Chin Inn
Title of thesis: Social Support and behavioural adjustment in children of divorce
Thesis No. 16 & 17

+ Abstract

This study examines the association between social support and children's adjustment to parental disintegration in a group of thirty children aged nine to twelve years old.

The buffering hypothesis posits that "support buffers persons from potentially adverse effects of stressful events" (Cohen and Willis, 1985:310). Using statistical correlation (N=30) and in-depth reports from ten primary caregivers and fifteen children, the study attempts to identify those support providers and support functions that best buffer children against behavioural malfunctioning and maladjustments.

The correlational analysis revealed that informational support, instrumental support and companionship from teachers had predictive outcomes on the children's behaviour. In addition, emotional support and companionship were two functional types of support that created significant impacts on children.

Additional perspectives on the role of social support on children's behavioural disorder were seen in the semi-structured interviews with selected caregivers and their children. It has been suggested that, perhaps, parent child relationship and parental discipline style have moderating impacts on the support provided by the custodial parents. This may provide greater understanding on why custodial parents who had been dubbed the multipurpose providers of the children, had failed to restrain the development of behaviour problems in their children.

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Year of Grant: 1998
Name of Grant Recipient: Kenneth Poon
Title of thesis: Behavioural family intervention in Asia
Thesis No. 18 & 19

+ Abstract

Behaviour therapy posits to be universal in the treatment of maladaptive behaviours. This postulation was examined in the light of Berry's (1989) recommendations for cross-cultural research within the context of group behavioural family intervention in Singapore. Three goals were identified for research: (a) to investigate the appropriateness of behaviour family intervention among English-speaking Singaporean parents, (b) to examine factors that may impede the use of such strategies, and (c) to investigate and describe the general level of child problem behaviour in Singapore. This investigation consisted of two studies: Study 1 was designed to examine the validity of western-developed instruments for the English speaking population of Singapore and to provide a general picture of child behaviour problems in this population. Study 2 was a pilot treatment-outcome study designed to investigate the effectiveness and acceptability of behavioural family intervention in Singapore and to identify any potential obstacles or barriers to implementation.

The results of Study 1 identified the Eyberg Child Behaviour Inventory (Robinson, Eyberg & Ross, 1980) as valid for use in Singapore. Factor analysis of the Parenting Scale (Arnold, O'Leary, Wolff & Acker, 1993) however, suggested that only the total score could be used in this population. There was some evidence from acceptability data in Study 2 to suggest that behavioural family intervention was culturally appropriate but there were no significant improvements recorded by the ECBI and PS. Reported barriers to implementation include opposition from grandparents and spouses, the lack of time, and the caring of children by non-parents. The main implication of this investigation was that behaviour family intervention (and even more so, behaviour therapy) needs more research in Singapore. Recommendations for future research were also discussed.

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Year of Grant: 1995
Name of Grant Recipient: Low Hui Ching
Title of thesis: Children beyond parental control: A follow-up study
Thesis No. 14

+ Abstract

The present study is a follow-up research on the effects of statutory supervision on refractory youths who were former clients of the Singapore Children's Society (SCS). The statutory supervision is a form of non-institutional, community-based supervision carried out by an approved agency ordered by the court on children beyond parental control (BPC). At present, the SCS is the only social service agency in charge of providing such a service.

This study hopes to shed light on the main contributing factors on recidivism of refractory behaviour which may eventually lead to delinquency. It looks at the family, the school and peer influence as three important determinants of the development of delinquency.

A questionnaire designed to tap into (1) demographics, (2) family structure and family life, (3) school or work life, (4) leisure activities, (5) type of peer group in association with, (6) kinds of problems encountered, (7) behaviour before and after supervision, (8) nature of supervision, (9) overall relationship with social worker and (10) perceived usefulness of supervision was administered during interviews with the former BPC clients who have successfully completed statutory supervision with SCS.

The results suggest that an important distinction between those who do not subsequently commit offences (non-delinquents) and those who do (delinquents) is association with delinquent peers. It is also found that non-delinquents are able to relate better with their social workers than their delinquent counterparts.

Findings on the effects and usefulness of statutory supervision are discussed. Suggestions for fine-tuning the supervisory procedures are also made in this report. It is hoped that the study will contribute to the existing services for refractory youths.

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Year of Grant: 1995
Name of Grant Recipient: Wu Mei Ling
Title of thesis: The development of a viable youth drop-in centre
Thesis No. 13

+ Abstract

Abstract is unavailable.

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Year of Grant: 1994
Name of Grant Recipient: Koh Hwee Cheng, Esther
Title of thesis: An exploratory study of non-custodial fathers of divorce
Thesis No. 9

+ Abstract

This is a study on divorced men without legal custody of their children. It aims to document the problems and issues face by this group of individuals with respect to their divorce and new role as visiting fathers.

Seven participants were obtained through convenience sampling and interviewed. The specific research questions included: the noncustodial fathers' views about fatherhood, the change in fathering role after separation, the problems faced in being a visiting father, the psychological effects of losing their marriages and children, how the fathers coped, their experiences with the legal and social service sectors, attitudes towards help-seeking, and the types of assistance they needed.

The results of the interviews were analyzed using a theoretical framework consisting of the theories of loss and mourning, and crisis and coping. The transition from married father to divorced, noncustodial father was viewed as a status passage through time. Implications of the results and future research directions were also discussed.

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Year of Grant: 1994
Name of Grant Recipient: Eng Peng Peng
Title of thesis: Factors associated with teenage pregnancy
Thesis No. 10

+ Abstract

This study gives a broad yet detailed profile of six pregnant teenage girls. The characteristics, attitudes and behaviour of their families, friends, boyfriend and themselves are examined to understand the process by which they engaged in premarital intercourse resulting in pregnancy. Factors which have been found to be associated with teenage pregnancy are low strength of religious beliefs, irregular or non-usage of contraceptives, freedom from parental supervision, lack of parent-child communication on sex-related topics and influence of their male partners in the context of relationship. Peer influence is found to be an important factor in some of the cases. Based on these findings, the revision of sex education curriculum, implementation of sex education in primary school and Parent Education Programmes are suggested as preventive measures to combat the problem of teenage pregnancy.

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Year of Grant: 1994
Name of Grant Recipient: Lim Ee Ling, Elaine
Title of thesis: Before-and after-school care: Developing an assessment instrument
Thesis No. 11

+ Abstract

This is an exploratory attempt to develop an assessment tool for the Before and After School Care (BASC) service sector in Singapore in response to the need for formal monitoring of BASC programme. It does the groundwork of developing a checklist that BASC centres can use to assess the adequacy of their programme in terms of whether the programme possesses the characteristics of a quality BASC. This report is divided into five chapters. An overview of the various topics covered by each chapter will be given here.

Chapter one talks about the roles played by the BASC service. The BASC programme serves the children by playing the developmental role, it serves the parents by playing the complementary roles, and it serves the community by playing the preventive role. Some trends in Singapore will be discussed in support of the researcher's rationale and aim for this study.

Chapter two gives the theoretical underpinnings of this study. The Ecological perspective is used to show the BASC in relation to the school-age child. The developmental needs of the school-age child are discussed to provide an understanding of the needs of the children the BASC programme seeks to serve.

Chapter three describes the methodology used to develop the checklist. The research design, the sampling method, the data-gathering procedure, the data processing procedure, and the pilot-testing procedure will all be described in this chapter.

Chapter four provides the explanation for the nine main sections of the checklist, sharing the emphasis placed in each section by the participants, The usage of the checklist is also explained in this chapter on how the rate and interpret the results of the ratings.

Chapter five concludes the whole report with a discussion on some issues that were brought up but not included in the checklist. Recommendations for future research studies were also suggested.

A copy of the checklist has been included in Appendix B. A letter with instructions on the usage of the checklist is attached to it. It is the researcher's hope that the checklist will be put to effective use by the service-providers to assess their BASC programme so that quality care can be given to the school-age children under their charges.

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Year of Grant: 1994
Name of Grant Recipient: Ong Kek Hin, Michael
Title of thesis: A structural and process analysis of non-clinical families
Thesis No. 8

+ Abstract

As Singapore embarks on regionalisation as driven by both the State and market, there has been an emergence and rapid growth of frequent business travellers based in Singapore. The limited literature from secondary resources suggested frequent parental absence accruing from frequent travel to be stressful and detrimental to the family's well-being. Thus, this study is interested in exploring the orientations and stresses of family members towards frequent parental absence with particular reference to the husband/father. As stress necessitates coping, this study would also examine the way family members cope with frequent business travel and the various work-related, family-related and individual variables influencing coping.

Given that families are primary units of society largely responsible for society's well-being, families who fail to cope well with stressful situations such as frequent business travel could lead to serious repercussions on society. As both regionalisation and the family play important parts in the nation's growth, it is pertinent that increased research be conducted to illuminate the complex interplay between frequent travel and the family.

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Year of Grant: 1994
Name of Grant Recipient: Udhia Kumar s/o Kumaya
Title of thesis: Child abusing families: A developmental analysis
Thesis No. 12

+ Abstract

Child abuse has often been studied as an isolated phenomenon involving the abuser and the abused. Few studies have addressed the role and function of the whole family system in contributing to and perpetuating the abusive environment.

Various factors have been identified to play a significant role in affecting the family system. However the interaction and the effects of these factors have not been clearly outlined in the literature.

This study has been an attempt to understand developmentally, the effects of these various factors upon the family and how they have contributed to the development and the maintenance of the abusive environment in the family.

Based on the findings, a process model of the interactions and effects of these factors are proposed. Two developmental trends of abusive families were also identified from the 4 cases studied.

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Year of Grant: 1993
Name of Grant Recipient: Cheng Chai Kiew, Irene
Title of thesis: A comparative study of the social support networks of low-income families
Thesis No. 5 & 7

+ Abstract

Studies on social support and social networks abounds in the elderly community and the mental health setting. However, little research on the topic of social network exists in the field of poverty.

There is increasing recognition of the potential of utilising natural helping networks as forms of support in people's lives. This research hopes then to find out the characteristics of the support networks of the low-income families, particularly the types of support, forms of support that low-income rent arrears families receive from their formal and informal network members, closely examining the help-seeking behaviour of the families. By comparing the population with a control group of low-income non-arrears families, it allows similarities and differences of network properties to be highlighted. Conclusions are then made and implications following the findings are presented in this research. Recommendations are made whenever appropriate.

The study adopts a face-to-face interview with a structured questionnaire. In all, a total of sixty-families were surveyed.

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Year of Grant: 1993
Name of Grant Recipient: Song Li May
Title of thesis: Effects of parental adjustment to marital separation on children’s adjustment
Thesis No. Unavailable

+ Abstract

Abstract is unavailable.

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Year of Grant: 1993
Name of Grant Recipient: Chua Lip Tong
Title of thesis: Cross-generational study of multi-problem families
Thesis No. 6

+ Abstract

This is a cross-generational study of three generations in the multi-problem families. It is assumed that these families might have been trapped in the poverty cycle over generations and there could be a generational progression of family patterns. Hence, this study attempts to find out the common characteristics among these families, to examine if there are intergenerational similarities among them, and to explore the factors that trap these families in cycles of disadvantage.

The empirical research comprises of six case studies of the family development history of multi-problem families over three generations. From the family development history, with exploration into the problem solving or coping behaviour, child-rearing practices and attitudes towards education, the research attempts to find out the effects of family transmission over generations that traps these families in disadvantage.

Besides familial factors, there are many other intervening factors that contribute to the disadvantaged plight of these families. Generally, these factors can be classified as structural factors, which include the economic and technological development of the society and situational factors such as sudden death of spouse. With improved structural conditions, it is deemed that these families would be better off over generations. However, research has shown that the situation of these families remains unchanged. It is found that the effects of certain family patterns and childhood experiences, have transcended over the improved structural conditions and spilled across generations.

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