Personality correlates of sociopolitical liberalism and conservatism in adolescents

Nancy Eisenberg, Paul Müssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study was designed to test some hypotheses about the personality and socialization antecedents of liberalism and conservatism in adolescence. A 41-item sociopolitical questionnaire was administered to 209 upper-middle-class, primarily white, high school students. The 37 students scoring highest and 35 scoring lowest in liberalism responded to interviews, tests, and Q sorts. The conservative adolescents regarded themselves as more conventional, responsible, dependable, orderly, neat, organized, successful, and ambitious than the liberals. In contrast, the latter regarded themselves as more rebellious, independent in thinking, introspective, sympathetic, loving, and tender. Responses to parental child-rearing Q-sort items showed that the liberals emphasized the negative aspects of their interactions with their parents and experienced considerably more conflict with them than conservatives. Conservatives believed they had good relationships with their parents, perceiving them as understanding, helpful, and affectionate. In their child-rearing practices, the parents of conservatives stressed conventional and approved behavior, conformity with authority, and making a good impression, while the liberals’ parents emphasized the development of independence, personal responsibility, and emotional control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-177
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
Volume137
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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