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Dev Psychol. 2015 Jul;51(7):949-61. doi: 10.1037/a0039354. Epub 2015 May 25.

The social self in early adolescence: Two longitudinal investigations in the United States and China.

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Division of Psychology, Nanyang Technological University.
National University of Singapore.
Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


This research examined how children's inclusion of social personal attributes (e.g., talkative and argumentative) in their views of themselves changes over early adolescence in the United States and China. In 2 studies (N = 825 in Study 1 and 394 in Study 2) using open-ended methods (e.g., completion of "I . . ." stems), American and Chinese children described themselves multiple times during the 7th and 8th grades. Conceptions of the self in terms of personal attributes were the norm in both the United States and China, but personal attributes that are social became more common over early adolescence in only the United States. Study 1 indicated that increases in social personal attributes were accompanied by heightened psychological and positive descriptions of the self in both countries. Study 2 ruled out potential confounds (e.g., pubertal status) in the differences in American and Chinese children's use of social personal attributes to define themselves.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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