Character development in adolescents

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This study explored the effects of a program consisting of communication and counseling skills, assertiveness training and moral dilemmas on the character development, i.e., moral reasoning, ego development, and assertiveness of high school students. It was hypothesized that exposure to the experimental treatment would enhance the character development of high school students. Fifty-four high school seniors enrolled in three psychology classes were assigned randomly to two treatment groups and one control group. Assessment instruments were the Defining Issues Test, to measure moral reasoning, the Washington University Sentence Completion Test, to measure ego development, and the Rathus Assertiveness Schedule, to measure assertiveness. A repeated measures analysis of variance was used to determine significant differences between control and treatment posttest means with respect to the dependent variables--moral reasoning, ego development, and assertiveness. The results demonstrated that the character development of the students in the experimental treatment group was affected significantly over time by the program.