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Maternal Reports of Conscience Development and Temperament in Young Children

Grazyna Kochanska, Katherine DeVet, Marguerita Goldman, Kathleen Murray and Samuel P. Putnam
Child Development
Vol. 65, No. 3 (Jun., 1994), pp. 852-868
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131423
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131423
Page Count: 17
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Maternal Reports of Conscience Development and Temperament in Young Children
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Abstract

Multiple manifestations of emerging conscience, their development, organization, and links with temperament were studied in 171 21-70-month-old children. A new parental report instrument was designed to measure conscience, with good psychometric qualities and predictive of children's behaviors in a laboratory. For most aspects of conscience, the major developmental shifts occurred around age 3. 2 components of early conscience emerged in factor analyses: Affective Discomfort, significantly higher for girls, that encompassed guilt, apology, concern about good feelings with the parent following wrongdoing, and empathy with others, and Active Moral Regulation/Vigilance, which included confession and reparation following wrongdoing, internalization of rules of conduct (self-regulation), and concern about others' wrongdoing. Children's temperament, assessed by maternal reports, was associated with conscience. Low impulsivity and high inhibitory control were associated with Active Moral Regulation/Vigilance for both sexes and, for girls only, also with Affective Discomfort. For girls, temperamental reactivity related positively to Affective Discomfort and negatively to Active Moral Regulation/Vigilance.

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