Children's understanding of modesty in front of peer and adult audiences



Previous research has suggested that the understanding of modesty—downplaying one's achievements to evoke a positive social evaluation—develops in the primary school years. However, very little is known about how children's understanding of modesty is associated with social contextual factors, such as audience type. A sample of 92 children aged 8–11 years responded to hypothetical vignettes where the protagonist responded either modestly or immodestly to praise. The findings supported earlier indications of an increase with age in the understanding of modesty, and further found that modesty was judged as more appropriate for peer audiences than for adult audiences. No interactions between age group and audience type were observed. Children's increasing approval of modesty was associated with a tendency to justify their judgements by referring to concerns about social evaluation. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.