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Family Matters No. 57 - September 2000

Development of civic mindedness in Australian adolescents

Australian Temperament Project
Diana Smart, Ann Sanson, Lisa da Silva and John Toumbourou

Abstract

The ability to consider and care for others as well as for oneself may be considered the culmination of an individual's development. It is manifested in the way parents care for their children, in the way teachers foster their students' intellectual and emotional development, and in the way we as a society support members of our communities and govern our countries. This article is a report of a study of one aspect of this selfless regard for the wellbeing of others, which is termed 'civic mindedness'. Civic mindedness involves a sense of responsibility towards one's community (whether local, national or global), and a belief that despite individual differences, everyone has something to contribute to the common good. Data reported come from a longitudinal community study of Australian children's development known as the Australian Temperament Project. As part of the 1998 survey, collected when the adolescents were 15-16 years old, adolescents were asked to respond to questions concerning various aspects of civic mindedness.

The ability to consider and care for others as well as for oneself may be considered the culmination of an individual's development. It is manifested in the way parents care for their children, in the way teachers foster their students' intellectual and emotional development, and in the way we as a society support members of our communities and govern our countries. This article is a report of a study of one aspect of this selfless regard for the wellbeing of others, which is termed 'civic mindedness'. Civic mindedness involves a sense of responsibility towards one's community (whether local, national or global), and a belief that despite individual differences, everyone has something to contribute to the common good. Data reported come from a longitudinal community study of Australian children's development known as the Australian Temperament Project. As part of the 1998 survey, collected when the adolescents were 15-16 years old, adolescents were asked to respond to questions concerning various aspects of civic mindedness.

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