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Despite the importance of children in society, adult lifestyles, and adult behavior, social psychological research has surprisingly failed to systematically examine adult evaluations of children. Addressing this gap, the present research developed the Child Attitude Components Scales (CACS). Pilot research identified a range of feelings, beliefs, and behaviors that adults spontaneously associate with babies, toddlers, primary school children, and teenagers. Two factors emerged consistently across the three younger groups, with one factor capturing positivity toward them and one capturing stress elicited by them; teenagers interestingly revealed a distinct pattern. As expected, the CACS uniquely predicts perceptions, evaluations, and behaviors toward the respective child group and future generations, but not toward adults. Moreover, the CACS meaningfully relates to individuals’ personal need for structure, affective orientations, but not cognitive orientations. Altogether, the CACS is a reliable and valid measure of adults’ attitudes toward children which may help explain and improve adults’ treatment of children.
|Publication status||Published - 9 Feb 2019|