Into the wild? How a film can change adolescents' values

Anna Doering, Alessa Hillbrink

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In adolescence, behavior and attitudes are constantly rethought and value priorities are established. Still, there is hardly any research addressing how values are shaped throughout this sensitive period. We employed an experimental design, testing whether adolescents' values can be influenced by exposure to a film. In our study, 154 German adolescents (80 females, ages 13–15) were randomly assigned to an experimental group that watched excerpts from the film “Into the wild” or to a control group. Value change was assessed in a pre-post-test design with a one-week interval. As hypothesized, values changed in the direction of those displayed by the film's protagonist: Universalism values increased significantly and conformity values decreased significantly as compared to the control group. Our findings suggest that single exposure to a film may initiate value change, indicating that not only major live events, but also everyday experiences significantly affect adolescents' values.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78–82
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Early online date14 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

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