Contextual judgments of quality of life and adolescent cognitive development.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research explored the relationship between adolescents' level of cognitive reasoning and their contextual judgments of the factors affecting quality of life. In comparison to adolescents at relatively lower levels of cognitive development, it was predicted that those who have achieved higher levels of cognitive reasoning would be: (1) more likely to identify social and interpersonal aspects of life as factors related to quality of life and (2) less likely to identify self issues. Subjects were 443 tenth-grade students from four Michigan school districts. The students were administered the Reasoning Level Test (RLT) and also asked to identify the aspects of their lives that they felt were the most and least satisfying at the moment. A median split was performed and each student was assigned to either a high or low cognitive-level group based upon his/her RLT score. The findings supported the above predictions, but more so in regard to negative than positive factors. The findings are also in line with cognitive-developmental theories of adolescence and indicate that cognitive structures and the specific nature of the factors perceived to influence one's life may mediate contextual judgments of these factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-848
Number of pages8
Issue number88
StatePublished - Dec 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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