Study into the social responsibility of adolescents

As children enter adolescence, they are confronted by a tremendous amount of changes. They undergo not only significant physical and cognitive growth but also encounter new situations, responsibilities, and people as well. At this time, adolescents interact with diverse people and largest social network which constantly require them to be socially competence. Failure to adjust with these new situations leads adolescents to be involved in negative behavior (Zimmer-Gembeck, Hunter, & Pronk, 2007; Barnow, Schultz, Lucht, Ulrich, Preuss, & Freyberger, 2004; Otsuki 2003).

Given the important of social competences among adolescents, much of the recent trends in the literature have reflected growing interest in studying social skills of adolescents. However, a majority of the studies were mainly focused on adolescent’s interpersonal relationship with peers (e.g. Daniels & Leaper, 2006; Ciarrochi & Heaven, 2008; Erath, Flanagan, & Bierman, 2008; Jonkmann, Trautwein, & Ludtke, 2009; Barker 2009). In fact, the role of adolescents in widest context such as community is a great importance and the most desired social outcome of development (Ford et al., 1989).

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Social responsibility is one social skill that helps adolescents to define who themselves and their roles as a part of community member (Berman, 1990). Social responsibility is defined as a person’s concern for others’ welfare, sense of duty, avoids destructive behavior, civic involvement, and responsible attitude towards others (Scales, Blyth, Berkas, & Kielsmeier, 2000). In other words, social responsibility is related to the development of adolescents’ social skills while allowing them to be active and responsible in their community (Polk, 1999).

Studies found that adolescents who are socially responsible are less involved in destructive behavior, have higher self efficacy and high achievement orientation than others (Wentzel, 1991; Scales, Blyth, Berkas, & Kielsmeier, 2000; Reed, Jernstedt, Hawley, Reber, & DuBois, 2005). Nevertheless, the findings of these studies were mostly focused on American adolescents. There have been no studies that explore social responsibility among adolescents in Indonesian culture especially in Aceh context.

Aceh is one of the provinces in Indonesia, located on the northern most top of Sumatera Island and has Banda Aceh as the capital city. Aceh is known as “Veranda of Mecca” that means Aceh was as Islam’s starting point in Indonesia, and the last point of departure for the hajj at the old time. Hence, Aceh culture is mostly influenced by Islamic values. The people of Aceh have suffered for 29 years of armed conflict and political violence. On December 2004, a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated the western coast of Aceh including part of the capital city of Banda Aceh, where about 150,000 people dead and a half million displaced, in a province with population of roughly 4.4 million people. The incredible losses sustained by this natural disaster at last consolidated the peace agreement in Aceh (Grayman & Good, 2009).

Today, Banda Aceh is still in rebuilding and reconstruction phase as impact of tsunami disaster and post conflict few years ago. These conditions have generated the increasing of social problems in Aceh. Based on national KPS’s data, 46.075 people in Aceh have high risk infected by HIV/AIDS and 120 persons are already positively infected. Furthermore, Aceh province is in fourth rank of drug uses in Indonesia considering Aceh is one resource of cannabis plants (CARE, 2008). These harmful environments make adolescents in Aceh are more potentially to engage in deviance behavior and health problems (ESCAP, 2008). Therefore, social responsibility amongst adolescents in Banda Aceh is obviously important in which adolescents’ voices and participation in community have great potential and insightful ideas in reducing social problems and social reconstruction process in Aceh.

Given the fact that social responsibility is related to adolescents’ positive behavior, studying the development of this social skill is important. Parenting style was recognized as primary source of child’s social responsibility development (Hurtup & Van Lieshout, 1995; Scwartz, 2002). Based on the level of parental demandingness (control, supervision, maturity demands) and responsiveness (warmth, acceptance, involvement), parenting style was classified into three main typologies: authoritative, authoritarian and permissive (Baumrind, 1966); Maccoby & Martin, 1983).

Authoritative parents are characterized by highly demanding and responsiveness. These parents provide child with autonomy and disciplinary in supportive environment. Child with this parenting style was positively associated with higher level of social responsibility. Parent’s using of verbal reasoning help children to display high level of moral reasoning, markers of moral conscience and prosocial behaviors (Baumrind, 1971; Carlo et al., 2007).

In contrast, parents who are classified as authoritarian demonstrate high demandingness and low responsiveness. They tend to emphasize forceful discipline and discourage verbal take and give toward their children. On the other hand, permissive parents are characterized with high responsiveness but low demandingness. These parents allow their children to regulate their own activities as much as possible but they are excessively lax in their expectations for their children’s level maturity and their tolerance of misbehavior (Baumrind, 1966, 1997). Children who are raised by these two parenting styles were found to be associated with deficient social skills such as low self regulation, less empathy and have lower score on social responsibility measure (Steinberg, Lamborn, Darling, Mounts, & Dornbusch, 1994;; Kaufmann, Gesten, Santa Lucia, Salcedo, Rendina-Gobioff, & Gadd, 2000; Gunnoe, Hetherington, & Reiss, 1996).

Recently, researchers have identified religiosity as significant predictor for authoritative parenting style (Mahoney, Pargament, Murray-Swank, & Murray-Swank, 2003; Loser, Klein, Hill, & Dollahite, 2008; Duriez, Soenens, Neyrink, & Vansteenkiste, 2009). The tendency of religious beliefs to place great value on children increases parental motivation to spend time and energy with their children. Religious parents are also less to abuse or yelling but they are more likely to hug and praise their children (Dollahite & Thatcher, 2005). On the other hand, Hunsberger, Pratt, and Pancer, (2001) stated that religious parents may perform different parenting behavior, depending on their religious orientation. Parents who think liberally tend to rear their children in flexible way whereas parents who have conventional orientation are more likely to control their children (Mahoney et al. (2003).

Parental religiosity was not only found associates with parenting behavior but also adolescent adjustment. Studies revealed that the level of parent’s religiosity was significantly correlated with adolescent outcomes direct and indirectly. For examples, Brody, Stoneman and Flor (1996) found parental religiosity promoted adolescent’s self regulation and this relationship mediated by family cohesion and marital satisfaction. They also identified a negative relationship between parental religiosity and adolescents’ externalizing problem. Similarly, Mahoney, Pargament, Tarakeshwar, & Swank (2001) found that children with religious parents were less involved in destructive behavior. Meanwhile, Gunnoe et al. (1999) found parental religiosity promoted adolescent social responsibility indirectly through authoritative parenting style.

From reviewing of literature above, there is a significant relationship between parental religiosity, parenting style and adolescent adjustment. The purpose of this present study was to determine the contribution of parental religiosity and parenting style in shaping social responsibility amongst adolescents in Banda Aceh and whether the relationship between parental religiosity and adolescent social responsibility is mediated by parenting style in considering the similar study has not been conducted in Aceh. The differences of religious belief and culture values may affect parenting and child behavior differently in particular society.

Statement of the Problem

Previous studies revealed that religiosity predict parenting behavior and adolescent outcomes (Mahoney et al., 2003; Loser et al., 2008; Duriez et al., 2009, Brody et al., 1996; Gunnoe et al., 1999). However, most of the studies have been conducted in the Western population and less addressed on other cultures and belief especially in Asian and Muslim families, thus bring to differences in measuring parental religiosity. People in Aceh live in collective culture which is strongly influenced by Islamic values. These values may influence their parenting and in turn affect adolescent adjustment. Therefore, it is reasonable to explore whether the findings from previous studies could be generalized to other people from different culture and beliefs.

The central issue addressed in the present study is to determine the relationship between parental religiosity, parenting style and social responsibility amongst adolescents living in Banda Aceh. The study also determines the extent to which the relationship between parental religiosity and adolescent social responsibility is mediated by parenting style. Additionally, the study identified the relationship of the characteristics of the adolescent [sex, school level (junior and senior high school), age, number of siblings, birth order, and participating in organization] and family [parents’ status, education, job, age, total years of education, and family income] with parenting style, parental religiosity, and adolescent social responsibility. Finally, the study explored what factors significantly predict adolescent social responsibility.

Objectives of the Study

This section presents the general objective, specific objectives and research questions of the study.

General Objective

Generally, the aim of this present study was to determine the relationship between parental religiosity, parenting style and social responsibility, and the extent to which the relationship between parental religiosity and social responsibility is mediated by parenting style amongst adolescents in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

Specific Objectives:

Based on the general objective given above, the specific objectives of the study are outline as follows:

To describe personal (sex, school level (junior and senior high school), age, number of siblings, birth order, and participating in organization) and family (parents’ status, education, job, age, total years of education, and family income) characteristics of respondents.

To describe the patterns of parental religiosity, parenting style and adolescent social responsibility.

To describe what personal [sex, school level (junior and senior high school), age, number of siblings, birth order, and participating in organization) and family (parents’ status, education, job, age, total years of education, and family income] characteristics significantly correlates to parental religiosity, parenting style, and adolescent social responsibility.

To determine the relationship between parental religiosity, parenting style, and adolescent social responsibility

To compare adolescent social responsibility according to their sex, school level, and participating in school or community activities.

Research Questions:

In addition to the research objectives, the following research questions were also addressed in this study:

Will parental religiosity and parenting style predict adolescent social responsibility after controlling a number of personal characteristics (adolescents’ sex, age, and participation in organization)?

Is the relationship between parental religiosity and adolescent social responsibility mediated by parenting style?

Hypotheses

In line with the specific objectives (objective 4 and 5) of the study, the following hypotheses were formulated in this study:

Objective 4: To determine the relationship between parental religiosity, parenting style, and adolescent social responsibility.

Parental religiosity and parenting style

H1: Adolescents who reported higher score in parental religiosity would have authoritative parents.

H2: Adolescents who reported lower score in parental religiosity would have authoritarian parents.

H3: Adolescents who reported lower score in parental religiosity would have permissive parents.

Parental religiosity and adolescent social responsibility

H4: Adolescents who reported higher score in parental religiosity would be also higher score in social responsibility.

H5: Adolescents who reported lower score in parental religiosity would be also lower score in social responsibility.

Parenting style and adolescent social responsibility

H6: Adolescents who reported their parents as authoritative would score higher in social responsibility.

H7: Adolescents who reported their parents as authoritarian would score lower in social responsibility

H8: Adolescents who reported their parents as permissive would score lower in social responsibility.

Objective 5: To compare adolescent social responsibility according to their sex, school level, and participating in school or community activities. The hypotheses for this objective are formulated in non directional because of the mix findings in the literature.

H9: There is a significant difference in social responsibility between female and male adolescents.

H10: There is a significant difference in social responsibility between adolescents who are from junior and high school level.

H11: There is a significant difference in social responsibility between adolescents who participate and do not participate in organization.

Theoretical Background of the Study

The present study focuses mainly on the relationships between parental religiosity, parenting style and adolescent social responsibility. Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological system theory has been adopted to explain the relationships between the main variables in the study. This theory emphasizes that a child’s development is stimulated and steered by his maturing biology, immediate family/community environment, and larger societal setting. In other words, a child’s development is not only looking at his interaction with family or other immediate environments but also at the interaction of the broader environment as well (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Paquette & Ryan, 2001).

Bronfenbrenner’s approach to understanding child behavior is helpful because it is inclusive of all the systems in which child is enmeshed. As presented in his Ecology of Human Development (1979), Bronfenbrenner explicates that a child’s behavior is nested within interconnected systems which consist of microsystem, mesosystem. exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem. Parent’s religious belief and parent-child interaction are part of these systems.

Microsystem, it is the child’s closest environment which has directs contact and bi-directional influences, such as child’s family, peers, school, and neighborhood. Mesosytem, consists of two or more microsystems and the processes that connect them. These mesosystems exist within the larger context of the exosystem, in which those settings affect the child indirectly. Parent workplace schedule or community-based family resources are examples. The mesosystems and exosystems operate within the context of a macrosystem of societal and cultural belief and practices. Chronosystem involves the temporal changes in child’s environment that produce new conditions and affect development. All of these systems are not static and may change over time.

Microsystem and macrosystem will be the systems discussed within this study. Parent is clearly the child’s early microsystem in which the way of parent’s parenting affect child behavior. Parenting behavior is influenced by cultural beliefs (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998). These cultural values influence parent’s beliefs and behavior patterns that are considered appropriate to be adopted by all members in a particular society. Religious belief is one of subcultures, consists of ideology that dictates how children should be treated and the goals for which they should strive (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Chatters & Taylor, 2005; Rubin & Chung, 2006; Sahffer & Kipp, 2007). These religious prescriptions influence parent’s belief and behavior in child rearing practice. In this way, the macrosystem of parent’s religious belief provide an important context for the operation of parent-child microsystem.

Parents who are religiously person would be more likely to perceive all aspects of life including parent-child relationship as spiritual characters, thus allow them to exhibit positive parenting (Mahoney et al., 2001). The loving and caring relations between parents and child help to influence an optimum adjustment of the child. Baumrind (1971) explained in detail how the quality of parent-child relationship influences the level of adolescent social responsibility. She stated that parent’s use of verbal reasoning and explanation foster the child to display high level of moral reasoning, markers of moral conscience and subsequently promote higher level of social responsibility.

Conceptual Framework of the Study

Adolescence is a time when children begin to interact with diverse people and become a part of community member, which subsequently require them to be socially responsible. Parenting style is thought to be the well springs of child’s social responsibility development (Hurtup & Van Lieshout, 1995) and this parental influence does not decline as children mature into adolescence (Baumrind, 1991; Steinberg et al., 1994).

Children who are raised by parents with differing parenting styles varied in their degree of social competence (Baumrind, 1967). Children with authoritative parents are more likely to be socially responsible than others. An open communication between parent and child in authoritative home lead the child to express their idea and in turn make the child feel confidence and being competence ((Maccoby & Martin, 1983). Authoritative parents also provide verbal reasoning and explanation which help the child to internalize the values. These higher levels of self confidence, self competence, and moral reasoning promote child social responsibility (Scales et al., 2000; Conrad & Hedin, 1981).

In contrast, child with authoritarian parents are less socially competence because this parenting style value unquestioning obedience and use power assertions which affect negatively on child’s self confidence and self reliance. Meanwhile, permissive parents who are highly responsive and allow the child to regulate their own activities promote child self confidence and being popular among their peers. However, child with permissive parents are also more likely to engage in misbehavior as impact of low parental control (Lamborn et al., 1991; Steinberg et al., 2006).

The way of parent interacts with their children influenced by some factors. Religiosity has been identified as one of the significant predictor for positive parenting behavior (Gunnoe et al., 1999; Brody et al., 1996; Mahoney et al., 2001; Walse, 2003; Loser et al, 2008). The religious prescription to place great value on children leads the parent to improve the quality of their parenting (Dollahite & Thatcher, 2005). A religiously parents has also higher moral expectations toward their child and subsequently tend to supervise their child behavior. Hence, parental religiosity was negatively associated with child destructive behavior, otherwise promoted child positive outcomes i.e. social responsibility (Smith, 2003).

Parenting style can be obtained as mediation aspect between parental religiosity and adolescent social responsibility. This is based on the assumption that parental religiosity influences parenting style and in turn contribute to adolescent social responsibility (Gunnoe et al., 1999; Brody et al., 1996). Therefore, the current study explore how parental religiosity contributes to parenting style and adolescent social responsibility and the extent to which parenting style mediate the relationship between parental religiosity and adolescent social responsibility.

Parental religiosity, parenting style and adolescent social responsibility are reflection of the personal characteristics (parent and child characteristics i.e. age, gender) and socio economy contexts (i.e. education, family income) within which the family life (Belsky, 1984; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998). Hence, these personal characteristics and contexts would be important factors in understanding the relations between parental religiosity, parenting styles and adolescent social responsibility.

Figure 1.1 provides a detail scheme of the conceptual framework of the study. Adolescent and family characteristics are the antecedent variables which are identified significantly associated with parental religiosity, parenting style, and adolescent social responsibility. Adolescent’s personal characteristics involve sex, age, number of siblings, birth order, and participation in organization or community activities whereas family characteristics comprise parent’s status, age, educational level, years of education, job, and family income. Parental religiosity is independent variable for parenting style and adolescent social responsibility, and parenting style is independent variable for adolescent social responsibility. In one model, parenting style is mediating variable for the relationship between parental religiosity and adolescent social responsibility. Parental religiosity and parenting style were hypothesized to have significant relationship with adolescent social responsibility. All the data will be assessed through self reports from adolescents including in parental religiosity and parenting style data.

Antecedent Variables

Adolescent Characteristics:

-Sex

-Age/School level

-No. of siblings

-Birth Order

-Participating in organization

Family Characteristics:

-Parent’s status

-Parent’s age

-Parent’s education

-Parent total years of education

-Parent’s job

-Family income

Parenting Style
Adolescent Social Responsibility
Parental Religiosity
Mediating Variable
Dependent Variable
Independent Variable

Figure 1.1 Parental Religiosity and Parenting Style in Shaping Social Responsibility of Muslim Adolescent in Banda Aceh.

Definition of Terminology

This part describes the conceptual and operational definitions of variables that used in this study.

Parental Religiosity
1.7.1.1 Conceptual Definition

Parental religiosity is the degree to which dimensions of religiosity that attitudes, belief and behavior manifested in parents’ daily lives.

1.7.1.2 Operational Definition

Parental Religiosity was measured by Parental Religiosity Scale which consists of 5 point scale with 1 being the lowest score and 5 the highest. Higher score on the scale indicate high level of parental religiosity and otherwise, lower score indicate low level of parental religiosity.

Parenting Style
1.7.2.1 Conceptual Definition

The emotional climate in which parents raise their children that characterized with three primary parental styles: authoritative, authoritarian and permissive.

1.7.2.2 Operational Definition

Parenting style was measured by Parental Authority Questionnaire which comprising three subscales: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. The highest score on one of the subscale indicate the parents’ parenting style.

Social Responsibility
Conceptual Definition

Social responsibility is concern for welfare and respecting the rights of others, being a responsible citizen and sense of duty, avoiding violent and destructive behavior.

1.7.3.2 Operational Definition

Adolescent social responsibility is measured by Social and Personal Responsibility Scale which scored on a 5 point scale with 1 being the lowest score and 5 the highest. Higher score indicate higher level of social responsibility and otherwise, the lower score indicate low level of social responsibility.

Adolescent Personal Characteristics
1.7.4.1 Conceptual Definition

Adolescent personal characteristics are personal profiles of respondent.

1.7.4.2 Operational Definition

Adolescent personal profiles in this study refer to sex, age, school level, number of siblings, birth order, and participating in organization.

Family Characteristics
1.7.5.1 Conceptual Definition

Family characteristics are family profiles of the respondent.

1.7.5.2 Operational Definition

Family characteristics in this study refer to parent’s status (biological/step parent), parent’s age, parent’s level of education, parent’s years of education, parent’s job, and family income (mother and father income per month).

Significance of the Study

Nowadays, adolescents in Banda Aceh are more potential to engage in negative behavior as impact of tsunami and post long conflict few years ago. Consequently, the promoting of social responsibility amongst adolescents in Banda Aceh is needed to protect themselves from taking risk behavior. Developmental psychologists and previous researches stated that parenting is significant contributor for adolescent’s social development. In recent years, researchers have addressed religiosity as important factor on parenting behavior. Therefore, a study on parental religiosity, parenting style and social responsibility amongst adolescents in Banda Aceh is considerably important.

To date, similar studies on the relationship between parental religiosity, parenting style and adolescent social responsibility are almost not existence in Aceh. Previous studies were mostly conducted in Western context, which it must noted a great discrepancy between Western and Aceh culture. Through the findings of this study, it would give a clearer picture in how parental religiosity and parenting style contribute to adolescent positive outcomes especially on social responsibility behavior in Banda Aceh. Thus, the result of this study would contribute to the dearth of knowledge on this topic and subsequently fulfills the literature gap.

Moreover, getting the real data of the significant relationship between parental religiosity, parenting style and adolescent social responsibility are expected able to provide valuable information for parent and adolescent to improve the quality of their relationship and in turn would promote effective adolescent adjustment. Furthermore, the outcomes of this study would give comprehensive information about the level of social responsibility amongst adolescents in Banda Aceh, thus consider the educators, authority policies and others related institution to take some actions in how to improve this social skill.

Limitation of the Study

Several limitations may be drawn from this present study. The study looked into only parenting (i.e., parental religiosity and parenting style) correlate with adolescent social responsibility. Other factors may also be pertinent to focus, but was not the scope of the study. Moreover, the population of the study focuses merely on school aging adolescents in Banda Aceh, implying the finding of this study just would be generalized in this population.

This study adopted some Western instruments (Parental Authority Questionnaire and Social and Personal Responsibility Scale) that have not been applied yet in Aceh, which could be considered to have cross cultural validity. But it is possible through the findings to draw conclusions regarding similarities or differences in parenting style and adolescent social responsibility between Western and collective culture. In data collection procedure, the data was gathered using self administered questionnaire, which reliability and validity of the information obtained depended solely on the honesty of respondents in responding the questionnaire. Self bias might influence the accuracy of information that given by respondents. Additionally, all measures were self report questionnaires was based on the perspective of adolescent only, thus objective validation of these measures through other data sources was not obtained.

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