Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Donna J. Habenicht

Second Advisor

Wilfred G. A. Futcher

Third Advisor

Reger C. Smith


Problem. Research on how Native American (NA) children draw their families and how perceptions of their families are reflected in their family drawings is lacking. The purpose of the study was (1) to validate the Kinetic Family Drawing (KFD) as an appropriate instrument for use with this population, and (2) to compare Native American and Caucasian children's KFDs.

Method. The KFD and Semantic Differential Scales were administered to 52 Native American children from the Potawatomi and Iroquois tribes, ages 6-14. A matched sample of 104 KFDs of Caucasian children from Southern Michigan was used for comparison. The data were analyzed by multiple regression, t-tests, and analysis of variance. The value of alpha was set at.05.

Results. (1) The Semantic Differential obtained significant correlations with the KFD. Family pictures drawn with the child outside, a higher level of activity of mother and self, mother and self involved in less nurturing activities, fewer barriers between mother and self, and less direct physical orientation between figures correlated with a higher rating of family relationships. (2) Statistically significant differences were found between the KFDs of Native American and Caucasian children, although the mode scores for both groups were identical for all KFD variables related to action, physical, position, and style characteristics. (3) Some differences were found between the KFDs of children differing in proportion of Native American ancestry and attendance rate at NA cultural events, although these differences were not the same for both groups. No differences were found relating to birth order. Differences between NA and Caucasian females and males were noted.

The majority of the pictures were free from KFD style characteristics; over 67% drew all the figures facing forward.

Conclusions. The findings of this study indicated that the KFD is a valid instrument for use with this population if cultural and mainstream societal trends are considered in the interpretation. Even though differences were apparent between Native American and Caucasian children, Native American children from this sample might be exhibiting a more acculturated picture than other minority groups. Generalizability was limited due to aself-selected, small sample size.

Subject Area

Kinetic family drawing test., Indian children--North America--Psychological testing


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