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NCJ Number: 217278 Find in a Library
Title: Personal Fable and Risk-Taking in Early Adolescence
Journal: Journal of Youth and Adolescence  Volume:36  Issue:1  Dated:January 2007  Pages:71-76
Author(s): Amy Alberts; David Elkind; Stephen Ginsberg
Date Published: January 2007
Page Count: 6
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper presents the results of a newly constructed measure of personal fable (PF), a construct proposed by Elkind’s (1967) theory of adolescent egocentrism, and its relation to risk-taking behavior in adolescence.
Abstract: The findings are consistent with earlier research findings on the personal fable (PF). Based on a previous research finding that imaginary audience scores peaked in eighth grade, it was expected that this construct’s counterpart, PF, would likewise increase across the age range studied. PF scores significantly increased across grades six, seven, and eight. Males scored significantly higher than females on the invulnerability dimension of PF. As a result of these findings, adolescent health programs might benefit from consideration of the egocentric dimension of decisionmaking. The major contribution of this investigation was the introduction of a short personal fable scale that appeared to be both reliable and valid. It may provide a useful instrument for further studies of the personal fable construct with other populations, such as at-risk groups and other variables, such as impulsivity and reflectivity. The concept of adolescent egocentrism (Elkind, 1967) links the cognitive structures peculiar to adolescence and the behaviors characteristic of this developmental period. Elkind proposed a theory of adolescent egocentrism with two distinct, but related, constructs: imaginary audience and the personal fable (PF). The imaginary audience is the adolescent’s assumption that his/her preoccupation with personal appearance and behavior is shared by everyone else. The personal fable is the consequence to the imaginary audience. The research indicates that preadolescents and late adolescents are expected to score significantly lower on the dimensions of adolescent egocentrism than those early teenagers just acquiring formal operations. It is believed that a valid and reliable measure of PF would aid assessment of risk-taking potential and inform preventive interventions. This paper reports the results of a newly constructed measure of PF and its relation to risk-taking behavior. Data were used from an availability sample of 119 middle school students. Tables, appendix, and references
Main Term(s): Adolescents at risk
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Adolescent females; Adolescent males; Juvenile self concept; Personality assessment; Risk taking behavior; Self concept
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