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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Judgments of Children and Adolescents on Exclusion and Inclusion of a Biracial Peer in Korea

  • Author(s): HWANG, JEONG YEON
  • Advisor(s): TURIEL, ELLIOT
  • et al.

This study examined the exclusion and inclusion of biracial peers of Korean children and adolescents in the fourth grade (n = 37, Mage = 9. 09), seventh grade (n = 32, Mage = 11. 92), and tenth grade (n = 32, Mage = 14.90), focusing on their social and moral reasoning. Participants (n =101) differentiated and coordinated the domains of social reasoning reflecting on the nature and context of a social issue when they made judgments about excluding a biracial peer in both initial and conflict situations. The participants tended to negatively judge the exclusion of a biracial peer in order to protect the welfare and rights of the biracial peer and to enhance the fairness of social interactions and the decision making processes. Nevertheless, judgments of exclusion were sometimes found acceptable. Significant variations were found by context and by age in the initial situations. Excluding a biracial peer from a personal relationship setting (i.e., a birthday party) was viewed as more acceptable than excluding him or her from a group activity (i.e., a boys and girls chorus) or a public facility (i.e., a swimming pool). Older participants were more likely than younger ones to judge exclusion acceptable. These findings are similar to previous findings in the U.S. (Killen, Lee-Kim, McGlothlin, & Stangor, 2002), confirming exclusion as a multifaceted phenomenon which is associated with the coordination of multiple forms of reasoning of children and adolescents across cultures.

Analyses of justification categories for judgments of exclusion showed that moral reasons (i.e., fairness, welfare, and rights) tended to take priority over personal and conventional reasons. In addition, judgments justified with moral reasons were found to be less changeable in conflict situations than were those justified with personal or conventional reasons. In terms of age differences in social reasoning, an age-related increase of personal reasoning was found in the initial situation of the personal relationship context. In addition, an age-related increase of fairness reasoning was found in the public facility and group activity contexts, whereas an age-related decrease of rights reasoning was found in the personal relationship and public facility contexts. No significant gender differences were found.

In general, the findings and suggestions from this study may contribute to the development of the scientific understanding of the dynamics and structures of children's social reasoning on exclusion. They may also provide future studies on peer exclusion, racial prejudice, and peer victimization with some useful theoretical conceptions and empirical examples in social reasoning as well as exclusion.

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