Countering Youth's Negative Stereotypes of Teens Fosters Constructive Behavior

Yang Qu*, Eva M. Pomerantz, Guohong Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Adolescence can be a time of unconstructive behavior for many youth. This research examined if an intervention countering youth's stereotypes of teens as irresponsible fosters their constructive behavior. In two experimental intervention studies (Ns = 124 and 319) with seventh graders, stereotypes of teens as irresponsible were described as inaccurate portrayals; youth then provided their own observations of teens acting responsibly. Youth in this counterstereotyping intervention (vs. the control) held higher intentions for academic engagement and performed better on an academic task (i.e., a word-search puzzle). Over the 3 days following the intervention, their academic engagement was higher. Youth's risk taking was also reduced. Redirecting youth to see teens as responsible has the potential to provide a foundation for flourishing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-213
Number of pages17
JournalChild development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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