Attitudes Toward and Understanding of Children's Rights Among Middle School Students in Jerusalem: The Role of Family Values and Patterns, Nationality, and Religion

Asher Ben-Arieh*, Mona Khoury-Kassabri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Children's rights have become a cornerstone of discussions of human rights and human services around the world. However, the meaning of children's rights and their significance for policies and programs vary across nations, cultures, religions, and families. Only recently has research begun to study the conceptualization of children's rights in non-Western and non-Christian-dominated cultures and, thus, in more traditional and authoritarian families. This article reports on a cross-sectional survey among 810 Jewish and 582 Arab children (372 Muslims, 210 Christians), aged 12-14 from eastern and western Jerusalem to examine how children view their rights. Adolescents completed a structured, anonymous, self-report questionnaire. Results suggest that nationality/ethnicity is a major factor in explaining differences in children's views of their rights, with religion playing a minor role. Results also suggest that family values and practices are significantly correlated with the approach to children's rights, as is gender, although its explanatory power is weaker. These findings should guide practitioners and children's rights advocates as they strive to enhance the support for children's rights in the Middle East and develop appropriate policies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)359-368
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Volume78
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2008

Keywords

  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children
  • children's rights
  • misconceptions of rights
  • non-Western culture
  • sociodemographic context

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