Value Systems of Fathers, Mothers and Adolescents: Do Parents and their Children Construe Basic Values in the Same Way?

Daniela Barni, Ariel Knafo


In the literature on family transmission of values, parents' value priorities have been often compared to their children's ones in order to reveal intergenerational similarities as well as differences. Most studies have implicitly assumed that parents' and children's value systems are completely comparable; however, evidence is needed that the meaning of certain values is the same for the two generations. The general aim of this study was to examine empirically the meanings of a large set of values to parents and to their adolescent children. Participants were 381 Italian family triads (father, mother and one adolescent child), who were asked to fill in the Schwartz's Portrait Values Questionnaire. Multidimensional scaling analyses revealed that parents and adolescents distinguished a similar number of value dimensions. However, some inconsistencies emerged between parents and adolescents as far as the organization of values (congruencies and conflicts among values) was concerned. The implications of these findings for the study of value transmission were discussed.


value systems; comparability; parents; adolescents

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