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An Approach to the Study of Psychosocial Maturity

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
For more content, see Comparative Sociology.

We seek to establish the cross-cultural applicability of a concept of adolescent "maturity," understood as readiness to assume competently the roles typical for men and women in a modern industrial society. We measure six psychosocial qualities: efficacy, perseverance, planfulness, responsibility, individualism, and cooperativeness. Each is explored in five domains: school, family, peer group, work, and community. A summary score across all 111 items in the questionnaire yields values from 1 to 5, expressing the assessed overall maturity of each subject. The questionnaire was administered to 60 youths in the U.S. and 44 in Chile, selected to provide an even distribution of males and females, and a wide diversity of socioeconomic and ethnic status in each sample. We succeeded in constructing a scale with the exact same content and virtually identical internal structure in both countries, with alpha at .90 for the U.S. and .92 for Chile. Clearly, adolescents from these two distinctive cultural milieus share a common core of attitudes, values, and self-reported behaviors, inter-related in the same basic structure. Initial results indicating the validity of the scale are also presented.

Affiliations: 1: Hoover Institution (i) and (ii) Center for Study of Families, Children and Youth, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, U.S.A.


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