Sex Roles

, Volume 56, Issue 9–10, pp 661–674 | Cite as

Parenting and Gender as Predictors of Moral Courage in Late Adolescence: A Longitudinal Study

  • Phyllis Bronstein
  • Barbara J. Fox
  • Jody L. Kamon
  • Michelle L. Knolls
Original Article


The present study was designed to examine longitudinal predictors of moral courage in late adolescence. Supportive, responsive parenting, which was measured through home observations and family reports in the fifth grade year, predicted girls’ willingness in late adolescence to speak up or take action when they witnessed or experienced injustice or harm. In contrast, parenting that was harsh and restrictive predicted both girls’ and boys’ later reticence in those circumstances. Further, the effects of earlier parenting were mediated by individual and peer-related factors. Specifically, social competence with peers in fifth grade and self-esteem in twelfth grade mediated the effects of parenting on both moral courage and moral reticence for late adolescent girls, and self-esteem in fifth grade mediated the effects of parenting on moral reticence for late adolescent boys.


Parenting Adolescence Gender Moral development Courage 



This research was supported by Public Health Service grant RO1 MH40740 and an Institutional Award and Dean’s Fund Award from the University of Vermont to the first author. We are grateful to the participating families and the teachers and administrative personnel of the school system in which the study took place, in particular, former assistant superintendent Monica Nelson. We thank Golda Ginsburg and Mavis Milne for their help with the initial data collection, Paula Duncan and Barbara Frankowski for their input into the initial project that provided the first round of data for the present study, and Diana St. Louis for her assistance in preparing the tables.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Phyllis Bronstein
    • 1
  • Barbara J. Fox
    • 2
  • Jody L. Kamon
    • 3
  • Michelle L. Knolls
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Genest Psychological ServicesHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.New England Institute of Addiction StudiesAugustaUSA

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