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Younger and older adolescents' thinking about commitments

, : Younger and older adolescents' thinking about commitments. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 50(3): 324-339

One hundred and sixty-three adolescents listed factors they consider or would consider when choosing a career and a romantic partner, and defined "commitment" in an open-ended essay. Male and female ninth graders, twelfth graders, and college juniors, from public and private schools served as subjects. Gender, grade, and type of school differences were found in the types and number of different types of factors listed for the above commitments, but not in the number of factors listed. Conceptions of the nature of commitment became more complex with grade, and differed as a function of gender and of type of school. Females listed more "internal" factors than did males for romantic commitments. Males described commitment more contractually, women more affectively. Older students focused more upon long-term and internal concerns, and defined "commitment" more in terms of cognitive processing and emotional attachment than younger students. Implications for related areas of work are discussed.


PMID: 2262760

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