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18-02-2019 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 5/2019

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 5/2019

Developing Morality, Competence, and Sociability in Adolescence: A Longitudinal Study of Gender Differences

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 5/2019
Elisabetta Crocetti, Silvia Moscatelli, Goda Kaniušonytė, Wim Meeus, Rita Žukauskienė, Monica Rubini
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Morality, competence, and sociability have been conceptualized as fundamental dimensions of social judgment that individuals use to evaluate themselves and other people and groups. The way in which adolescents perceive themselves along these dimensions affects the quality of their relationships across multiple social contexts. Given the centrality of morality, competence, and sociability for adolescents’ social life, the purpose of this study was to understand how these dimensions develop over time with a focus on gender differences, since males and females can show distinct trajectories due to socialization and developmental processes. Participants were 916 (51.4% girls; Mage = 15.64 years) adolescents involved in a three-wave longitudinal study with annual assessments. The findings highlighted that females reported increasing levels of morality and competence, while males showed decreasing levels in all dimensions. Furthermore, females also showed greater consistency in the configuration of morality, competence, and sociability, and inter-individual differences appeared to be already well-settled in each dimension for both males and females. Overall, this study increases the developmental understanding of how core dimensions of social judgment change in the adolescent phase, highlighting gender differences and similarities.

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