Reciprocal Relations across Time between Basic Values and Value‐expressive Behaviors: A Longitudinal Study among Children

Michele Vecchione, Anna K. Döring, Guido Alessandri, Gilda Marsicano, Anat Bardi

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The current study examines the reciprocal relations between children's values and value-expressive behavior over a sixth-month period. Three hundred and ten sixth-grade students in Italy completed value and value-expressive behavior questionnaires three times in three-month intervals during the scholastic year. We assessed Schwartz's (1992) higher-order values of conservation, openness to change, self-enhancement, and self-transcendence, as well as their respective expressive behaviors. Reciprocal relations over time between values and behaviors were examined using a cross-lagged longitudinal design. Results showed that values and behaviors had reciprocal longitudinal effects on one another, after the stability of the variables was taken into account (i.e., values predicted change in behaviors, but also behaviors predicted change in values). Our findings also revealed that: (1) values were more stable over time than behaviors and (2) the longitudinal effect of values on behaviors tended to be stronger than the longitudinal effect of behaviors on values. Findings are discussed in light of the recent developmental literature on value change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528–547
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Development
Issue number3
Early online date18 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • values;
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • value-expressive

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