College students information management with parents and moral judgment development
The initial purpose of the current research study was to investigate if college students' current and perceived changes from high school in parental disclosure, secrecy, current information management strategies, and justifications for non-disclosure differed by information type, gender, college experience, and levels of moral judgment development. 256 college students completed questionnaires that assessed the parental communication variables listed along with the Defining Issues Test (DIT-2), an assessment of moral judgment development. College students were most likely to disclose and tell the whole story when parents asked about academics and religious/political views in comparison to the other sampled behaviors. In contrast, subjects were most secretive about risky behaviors and more likely to avoid discussion or omit important details when parents asked about them than the other behaviors. Subjects reported that when they did not disclose risky behaviors it was most likely to avoid punishment or parent disapproval, whereas subjects' most common justification for non-disclosure of academics was to avoid their own feelings of shame and embarrassment. In contrast, privacy was the most common justification for non-disclosure for peer, personal, multi-faceted issues, or religious-political views. Overall, females were less secretive than males, more likely to disclose to the mother, tell the whole story when asked, and less likely to make up a story/lie or avoid discussion when asked about the sampled behaviors. However, collegiate females perceived greater decreases in disclosure of risky behaviors than did males, and in turn they were no more likely than males to tell the whole story when asked about them. As expected, cognitive moral development scores were also positively associated with disclosure to the mother about academics, telling the whole story when asked about both academics and religious-political views, and was negatively associated with lying to parents. Underclassmen reported a greater likelihood of justifying non-disclosure because of sadness and shame than upperclassmen, which was also associated with lower scores of moral judgment development. In turn upperclassmen reported a greater likelihood of justifying non-disclosure because of privacy, which was associated with higher scores of moral judgment development.