Title

The effects of a school-based sociomoral mentoring program on preadolescents' cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development

Date of Completion

January 1997

Keywords

Women's Studies|Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical|Psychology, Cognitive

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

In an extension of a previous study, a school-based intervention in sociomoral reasoning was evaluated. Comparisons were made between middle-school students receiving in-class mentoring and those not receiving the intervention. Study participants included 266 sixth-graders (135 boys and 131 girls) and 279 eighth-graders (149 boys and 130 girls) from a medium-sized community in New England. Twenty-seven university undergraduate students (22 female, 5 male) participated as mentors. The mentors led small groups of middle-school students in dilemma discussion groups designed to elevate sociomoral reasoning. Middle-school students completed measures of moral reasoning, empathy, behavior, social skills, and self-esteem. Significant results found included an interaction between gender and grade of participants for sociomoral reasoning scores, a significant improvement in the mentors' moral reasoning, and significant correlations between teacher ratings of peer social skills for boys and for girls. Sociomoral reasoning was significantly and negatively correlated with personal distress for boys. However, the effectiveness of the intervention itself for elevating the reasoning of the middle-school students was not supported. ^