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Children’s and their friends’ moral reasoning: Relations with aggressive behavior


Gasser, L; Malti, T (2012). Children’s and their friends’ moral reasoning: Relations with aggressive behavior. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 36(5):358-366.

Abstract

Friends’ moral characteristics such as their moral reasoning represent an important social contextual factor for children’s behavioral socialization. Guided by this assumption, we compared the effects of children’s and friends’ moral reasoning on their aggressive behavior in a low-risk sample of elementary school children. Peer nominations and teacher reports were used to assess children’s aggressive behavior and friendships. During individual interviews, moral reasoning was measured by justifications following moral judgments and moral emotion attributions. Results revealed that, compared to individuals’ moral reasoning, friends’ moral reasoning was more consistently related to children’s aggressive behavior. Moreover, friends’ aggressive behavior mediated the relationship between friends’ moral reasoning and children’s aggressive behavior. The findings provide evidence for the important role that friends’ moral development plays in children’s behavioral socialization, and highlight the need for integrated, systematic approaches to moral development and friendship relations.

Abstract

Friends’ moral characteristics such as their moral reasoning represent an important social contextual factor for children’s behavioral socialization. Guided by this assumption, we compared the effects of children’s and friends’ moral reasoning on their aggressive behavior in a low-risk sample of elementary school children. Peer nominations and teacher reports were used to assess children’s aggressive behavior and friendships. During individual interviews, moral reasoning was measured by justifications following moral judgments and moral emotion attributions. Results revealed that, compared to individuals’ moral reasoning, friends’ moral reasoning was more consistently related to children’s aggressive behavior. Moreover, friends’ aggressive behavior mediated the relationship between friends’ moral reasoning and children’s aggressive behavior. The findings provide evidence for the important role that friends’ moral development plays in children’s behavioral socialization, and highlight the need for integrated, systematic approaches to moral development and friendship relations.

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8 citations in Web of Science®
12 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
Dewey Decimal Classification:370 Education
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:09 Jan 2013 09:38
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:12
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN:0165-0254
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0165025412448353

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