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Study Will Examine Values Among the Young

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A major study designed to investigate the "changing value systems" of early adolescent children (ages 10 through 14) is being conducted by Search Institute of Minneapolis in cooperation with 13 groups concerned with education.

According to Peter L. Benson, one of the principal investigators in the five-year study, the purpose of "Early Adolescents and Their Parents: A National Study" is to bring together a wide variety of information about adolescents for use in curriculum development and youth-leader training programs.

The national survey will be conducted in the fall of 1982.

Search Institute is an independent, non-profit research firm, staffed mainly by psychologists, that specializes in conducting national surveys on "values, beliefs, and attitudes," according to Mr. Benson. The institute often undertakes studies with a religious angle, he said, either because the research is commissioned by a national church organization, or because the values studied involve religious beliefs.

The survey, now under development, will seek answers from 10,000 children and 17,000 parents to questions on various topics, including:

Social context: information concerning school, peers, and the family;

Voluntary associations: the child's involvement in the community and neighborhood, and his or her relationship to mass media;

Developmental processes: an examination of "identity," personal achevement, maturation, and the development of sexuality;

Inner life: the formation of values, religious beliefs, ambitions, "pro-social" behaviors like personal health care, and "anti-social" behaviors like drinking, vandalism, and violence; and

How time is spent: what children do in their free time.

The study is being undertaken with the cooperation of a coalition of 13 groups, most of which are affiliated with major Christian denominations, including the National Catholic Educational Association, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the American Lutheran Church, and the United Church of Christ. Sponsors also include the national 4-H organization and the National Association of Homes for Children.

The $270,000-project is supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment.

For further information, contact Peter L. Benson at Search Institute, 122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 215, Minneapolis, Minn., 55404.--A.H.

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