British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 30 Issue 4 (November 2012), Pages 477-603

Children's and adolescents’ tolerance for divergent beliefs: Exploring the cognitive and affective dimensions of moral conviction in our youth (pages 493-510)

Moral conviction predicts interpersonal tolerance in adults, but its role in children and adolescents is not as well understood. This study measured moral conviction for a variety of issues along two separate dimensions – cognitive and affective – in children and adolescents (4th–12th grade). Results showed that, like adults, when children and adolescents view an issue as moral, this is strongly predictive of both age groups’ discomfort with divergent beliefs. But only for adolescents, and not children, did moral conviction play a role in that discomfort, as had previously been found with adults. The context in which the divergent beliefs were encountered also mattered, but more for adolescents than for children – both groups were most comfortable with divergent beliefs when they were encountered in distal relations.

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