The Development of Self-Understanding in Puerto Rico and the United States

Daniel Hart, Nydia Lucca-Irizarry, William Damon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A model of self-understanding development with four developmental levels is presented. The model allows for individual and cultural differences in the degree to which self-understanding at each of four developmental levels is focused on the physical, active, social, or psychological qualities of self. The value of the model for describing and contrasting development in different cultures was investigated by examining the self-understanding of two groups: 49 children and adolescents from a small fishing village in Puerto Rico, and a matched group from a large industrialized city in the mainland United States. The results indicated that relationships between age and developmental level were similar for the two groups. However, the orientations of self-understanding of individuals from Puerto Rico were more oriented towards the social qualities of the self, while the self-understanding of mainland United States subjects focused on the psychological qualities of self. The findings are discussed in terms of different patterns of socialization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-304
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of Early Adolescence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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