Maturity is coherent: Structural and content-specific coherence in adolescent moral identity

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Maturity is coherent: Structural and content-specific coherence in adolescent moral identity

Identity narrative may involve considerable variations in structural and content-specific coherence. These variations are potentially relevant to the development of moral commitment in adolescence. The present study analyzed coherence in moral identity narratives for a matched comparison sample of urban adolescents. Thirty nominated adolescent moral exemplars and 30 everyday comparators were given interview prompts designed to tap identity narrative. Structural and content-specific coherence dimensions were assessed with a palette of computational techniques known as coh-metrix. Consistent with study hypotheses, exemplar adolescent moral identity narratives generally evinced greater structural and content-specific coherence than everyday comparators, particularly on causality and agentic intentionality dimensions. Findings suggest that moral identity coherence is a kind of expertise fixed in developmental processes and associated with real-world action.

Citation: 
The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2015 Vol. 10, No. 6, 543–552

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