Value Differentiation in Adolescence: The Role of Age and Cultural Complexity


  • The study was supported by a grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and from the Martin and Vivian Levin Center for the Normal and Psychopathological Development of the Child and the Adolescent to the first author. We thank the adolescents for their participation in the study.

concerning this article should be addressed to Ella Daniel or Ariel Knafo, Psychology Department, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel. Electronic mail may be sent to or


Living in complex social worlds, individuals encounter discordant values across life contexts, potentially resulting in different importance of values across contexts. Value differentiation is defined here as the degree to which values receive different importance depending on the context in which they are considered. Early and mid-adolescents (= 3,497; = 11.45 years, SD = 0.87 and = 16.10 years, SD = 0.84, respectively) from 4 cultural groups (majority and former Soviet Union immigrants in Israel and Germany) rated their values in 3 contexts (family, school, and country). Value differentiation varied across individuals. Early adolescents showed lower value differentiation than mid-adolescents. Immigrant (especially first generation) adolescents, showed higher value differentiation than majority adolescents, reflecting the complex social reality they face while negotiating cultures.