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Values in families with young children: Insights from two cultural milieus in Germany


  • We wish to thank Svenja Dewald for her valuable help with collecting the data. We thank all families who participated in our study and let us participate in their lives. Also, we wish to thank all teachers of the schools through which we recruited the participants of our study for their continuous support in approaching the families. Anna Döring and Wolfgang Bilsky developed the study concept and led the project. All authors contributed to the study design. Anna Döring and Joscha Kärtner performed data analyses. Anna Döring drafted the manuscript, and Joscha Kärtner and Wolfgang Bilsky provided critical revisions. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.


Are children's value priorities different from their parents' generation? We present data from the youngest children's sample that has been included in a comprehensive family study of values so far: Our study is based on self-reported values of 127 six- to eleven-year-old German children (M = 7.89, SD = 1.35) and their mothers and fathers. We further took into account two potentially interacting developmental variables that have been suggested in the literature: (a) family members' gender and (b) cultural milieu (we looked specifically at families with Turkish immigration background and families without immigration background). While values of self-transcendence, self-enhancement and openness to change did not differ significantly between the two generations, children found conservation significantly more important than their parents. This contrasts with findings from previous studies with older participants. We discuss to what extent this effect may be unique to this developmental stage of middle childhood that had not been covered by previous research. Females valued conservation more than males, and conservation was more important in families with as compared to families without Turkish immigration background. There was neither a gender × generation nor a cultural milieu × generation interaction.