skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 222552 Find in a Library
Title: Effects of Grade Level, Context, and Family Type on Male and Female Adolescents' Distributive Justice Reasoning
Journal: Journal of Adolescence  Volume:31  Issue:1  Dated:February 2008  Pages:107-124
Author(s): Ann V. McGillicuddy-De Lisi; Richard De Lisi; Kate Van Gulik
Date Published: February 2008
Page Count: 18
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study examined 9th-grade and 12th-grade students' (n=640) "distributive justice" reasoning (judgments of the fairness of decisions about dividing resources among individuals).
Abstract: Based on participants' reading of stories with characters who varied in personal characteristics (popularity, productivity, need, and appearance), family type (biologically related and stepsibling), and context (work/education), older adolescents were more likely to favor equity and benevolence principles across all three domains of characters compared to younger adolescents. Older adolescents, especially female students, also took into account kinship and contextual factors more often than younger adolescents. Boys tended to favor equity across conditions, and girls' views of fairness showed greater nuance, showing greater variance by relationship and contextual factors. The findings suggest that distributive justice reasoning continues to develop through adolescence, as analytical reasoning becomes more complex and nuanced with age and also gender. Productivity and special handicapping needs were prominent bases for making decisions about the allocation of resources, being used to determine worthiness, particularly when negative stereotypical labels were in play, notably when family status was that of a "stepchild." Participants were 160 girls and 160 boys in the 9th grade and the same number of boys and girls in the 12th grade. They were recruited from two public schools and one parochial school serving a small northeastern U.S. city. Vignettes described a group of four brothers in a family that received a windfall financial award. Students were asked to allocate proportions of the award in accordance with their perceptions of fairness based in varying descriptions of the characters in the vignettes. 5 tables and 38 references
Main Term(s): Decisionmaking; Juveniles; Moral development
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Social justice model; Youth development
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.