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Styles of Parent-Child Interaction and Moral Reasoning in Adolescence

Michael C. Boyes and Sandra G. Allen
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly
Vol. 39, No. 4 (October 1993), pp. 551-570
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23087249
Page Count: 20
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Styles of Parent-Child Interaction and Moral Reasoning in Adolescence
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to test the prediction that adolescents of authoritative parents exhibit a greater preference for postconventional moral reasoning than do adolescents of permissive or authoritarian parents. Seventy-four grade 10 and 12 students (n = 74) and first-year university students (n = 67) completed Rest's Defining Issues Test and an adapted version of Schaefer's Child Report of Parental Behavior Inventory. Parenting style, defined by combinations of scores on the three parenting dimensions, was clearly related to the use of postconventional reasoning: adolescents of authoritative parents used the most postconventional reasoning, followed by adolescents of permissive parents and those of authoritarian parents, respectively. It is argued that these results support the extension of the concept of moral atmosphere beyond its current use in school and classroom settings to include its application in the context of individual families.

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