Moral identity, youth engagement, and discussions with parents and peers /
Campbell, Kelly M.
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The strength of adolescents' moral identity was examined in relation to their sense of social responsibility, frequency of community engagement, and interactions with parents and friends. Participants were 191 applicants to national youth conferences, ranging in age from 14-19, who completed a 40-minute survey. 76% of the participants were female. Social responsibility, community engagement, and discussion with parents and friends were measured using self-report questionnaires. Participants also reported on the importance of various values to themselves, their parents, and their friends, which were used to create an index of the degree of disagreement between the youth and their parents and friends. In addition, participants provided self-descriptions, which were used to measure moral identity with both a coding scheme and a ratings measure. Moral identity as measured by coding was not related to social responsibility, community engagement, or any other study variables, and thus did not appear to be a valid measure of moral identity. However, moral identity as measured by ratings was related to both social responsibility and community engagement, and thus appeared to be a valid measure. Neither disagreement nor discussion with friends was related to moral identity. However, disagreement with parents was positively related to moral identity ratings, and for girls only was negatively related to social responsibility. Furthermore, discussion with parents was positively related to moral identity for boys only. The hypothesis predicting a mediational model was not supported. Results were discussed in terms of theoretical positions on the role of parents and friends in children's moral development and suggestions for ftiture research were made.