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Maturity of Judgment in Adolescence: Psychosocial Factors in Adolescent Decision Making

Laurence Steinberg and Elizabeth Cauffman
Law and Human Behavior
Vol. 20, No. 3, Children's Capacities in Legal Contexts (Jun., 1996), pp. 249-272
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1393975
Page Count: 24
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Maturity of Judgment in Adolescence: Psychosocial Factors in Adolescent Decision Making
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Abstract

To date, analyses of differences between adolescents' and adults' judgment have emphasized age differences in cognitive factors presumed to affect decision making. In contrast, this article examines research and theory on three psychosocial aspects of maturity of judgment: responsibility, temperance, and perspective. For several psychosocial dimensions of maturity that are likely to affect judgment, the existing evidence, while indirect and imperfect, indicates that the greatest differences are found in comparisons between early adolescents versus middle and late adolescents. Developmental research on maturity that focuses specifically on mid- and late adolescence, that simultaneously examines both cognitive and noncognitive factors, and that investigates the relation between these factors and the ability to make good decisions is greatly needed.

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