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Exploring Relations among Social-Emotional and Character Development Targets: Character Virtue, Social-Emotional Learning Skills, and Positive Purpose
Authors: Danielle R. Hatchimonji, Esha Vaid, Arielle C.V. Linsky, Sam J. Nayman, May Yuan, Marisa MacDonnell and Maurice J. Elias
Number of views: 20
In the current study, we sought to understand relations among the key intervention targets of social-emotional and character development (SECD) interventions: character virtues, Positive Purpose, and social-emotional learning (SEL). Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students (n = 1011, ages 11 to 16, M = 12.94, SD = 1.00) from five urban middle schools in the mid-Atlantic US completed self-report surveys containing measures of five supporting character virtues (diligence, gratitude, forgiveness, future-mindedness, and generosity) and Positive Purpose. Teachers rated students’ social-emotional strengths. Hierarchical regressions found a constellation of five character virtues was associated with Purpose and SEL, thereby providing empirical support for the framework for SECD interventions. Exploratory analyses found higher student-reported virtues were associated with a steeper increase in teacher ratings of SEL for males and White students, compared to female students and students of color. The current study contributes to both SEL and character education research by demonstrating positive associations among SEL, character, and Positive Purpose in the context of mid-Atlantic US urban middle schools. Future directions for research include examining how these SECD intervention targets and relations among them develop over time, the ability of SECD interventions to cultivate these skills and virtues, and how differences in teacher ratings by student race/ethnicity and sex may occur.