Value differentiation in adolescence: the role of age and cultural complexity

Child Dev. Jan-Feb 2012;83(1):322-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01694.x. Epub 2011 Dec 16.


Living in complex social worlds, individuals encounter discordant values across life contexts, potentially resulting in different importance of values across contexts. Value differentiation is defined here as the degree to which values receive different importance depending on the context in which they are considered. Early and mid-adolescents (N = 3,497; M = 11.45 years, SD = 0.87 and M = 16.10 years, SD = 0.84, respectively) from 4 cultural groups (majority and former Soviet Union immigrants in Israel and Germany) rated their values in 3 contexts (family, school, and country). Value differentiation varied across individuals. Early adolescents showed lower value differentiation than mid-adolescents. Immigrant (especially first generation) adolescents, showed higher value differentiation than majority adolescents, reflecting the complex social reality they face while negotiating cultures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Sense of Coherence
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Values*
  • USSR / ethnology