A comparison of the energy commitments of selected poverty and non-poverty subjects in a rural Appalachian county
The main purpose of this study was to determine the differences in the energy commitments of two economically different groups of subjects. The two groups were selected poverty subjects and selected non poverty subjects in rural Appalachia. A second purpose was to determine the degree that the verbalized commitments became energy expenditures over a three months period. Thirdly, the study was concerned with the application of the Energy Commitment Theory, developed by Joseph and Lucile Hollis, which was the theoretical framework of this study.Energy commitments as defined in this study is the consigning of a person's energy to be expended in the future. Energy commitment is viewed as having three dimensions--direction, thrust, and flexibility. Each energy commitment has a direction which was classified as toward people, objects, or ideas. Thrust was sub-divided into three categories of priority, force, and amount.The subjects were selected for each group according to a previously established criteria. These criteria common to both groups were age, sex, marital and family status, education, physical and mental condition, geographic location of residence, and place of birth. Subjects in the poverty group were receiving Federal assistance in the form of food stamps. Subjects. in the non-poverty group were not receiving food stamps because of ineligibility due to family income.The study had six major hypotheses with a total of 24 sub-hypotheses. Four hypotheses were concerned with energy commitments and two hypotheses were concerned with energy expenditures.Reliability for classification of energy commitments was checked by tape recording all interviews. Energy commitments for one-half of the subjects were later classified by trained raters. Their rating was compared to the researcher's.In addition to tape recordings, the instruments used in this first interview to record energy commitments were the Interview Guidelines-1 and the Interview Rating Sheets -1. Each subject was interviewed again three months later to record his energy expenditures as they had been during the period of time between the two interviews. The instruments employed during the second interview were the Interview Guidelines-2 and the Interview Rating Sheet-2. The second interviews were not tape recorded.One treatment of the data was to derive the mean values for priority, force, amount and flexibility of the energy commitments. A second treatment of the data was a comparison of the two groups on a percentage basis and also to establish a ratio of the differences between the two groups.Based on the results from both the first and the second interviews the following indications were concluded:1. The poverty group had more energy commitments than non-poverty in regard to:A. direction toward objects B. priority toward objectsC. amount of energy and time slightly more committed toward objectsD. flexibility as to changing commitments to ideas and slightly more flexible in changing commitments to people, thus less flexible toward changing energy commitments toward objects2. The non-poverty group had more energy commitments than the poverty group in regard to:A. direction toward peopleB. priority toward people and ideasC. force toward people, objects, and ideasD. amount of energy and time more committed to people and ideasE. slightly more flexible as to changing commitments to objects than to people and ideas3. The total energy expenditures were in the same relative relationship. between the two groups as were the total energy commitments. The non-poverty group did follow through on energy commitments more than the poverty group.4. All data supported the propositions of the Energy Commitment Theory that were applicable.