An investigation of personal values and school behaviors

Document Type


Source Publication

The 25th International Congress of Applied Psychology : "Making Life Better for All : A Challenge for Applied Psychology"

Publication Date



Singapore Psychological Society and National University of Singapore


A study was conducted to examine the prevalence of negative and positive school behaviors and their associations with students' personal values. A total of 3138 secondary school students in Hong Kong participated in this study. Schwartz's Personal Value scale (Schwartz, 1992) was used to measure students' values in ten dimensions: hedonism, benevolence, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, conformity, security, achievement, power, and tradition. Results showed that the three most highly endorsed personal values were hedonism, benevolence, and stimulation. And the three least often adopted values were tradition, power, and achievement. A 59-item School Behaviors Checklist was developed to assess prevalence of various positive and negative school behaviors. Factor analysis revealed four factors: naughty behaviors, misdemeanors, illegal behaviors, and prosocial behaviors. Correlation analyses showed that students who engaged in more negative behaviors (i.e., naughty behaviors, misdemeanors, and illegal behaviors) had stronger values in stimulation, achievement, and power, and weaker values in tradition and conformity. Students who engaged in more prosocial behaviors had stronger values in benevolence, universalism, conformity, tradition, and security. The present results suggested that teachers could encourage students to engage in more prosocial behaviors by emphasizing the values such as benevolence, universalism and conformity. Besides, effort should be devoted to correct students' misconception that deviant behaviors are expressions of power and achievement.



Recommended Citation

Cheung, Y. L., & Au, W. T. (2002, July). An investigation of personal values and school behaviors. Paper presented at the 25th International Congress of Applied Psychology: "Making Life Better for All: A Challenge for Applied Psychology", Singapore.

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