Changes in political-economic attitudes during adolescence

Paul Mussen, Lawrence B. Sullivan, Nancy Eisenberg-Berg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Although there is some evidence that opinions about abstract political and ideological issues do not change much between middle and later adolescence, it may be hypothesized that attitudes toward concrete, current issues become more liberal during this period. To test this hypothesis, the investigators administered one of two forms of a 41-item questionnaire dealing with current political, social, and economic issues, such as justice, welfare, civil rights, to approximately 500 high school freshmen, juniors, and seniors. Analysis of the responses to both forms indicated that, compared to mid-adolescents, older adolescents show significantly less “authoritarian bias,” greater understanding of the complexity of human motivation, and stronger advocacy of political and social changes designed to promote greater economic equality. It was therefore concluded that shifts toward greater political and economic liberalism are not limited to the 13-15 age period, as others have suggested; these trends continue into late adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-76
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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