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Socialisation processes that inform values and beliefs

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: Although this page has been marked as complete, it has not yet been peer-reviewed or quality-assured, therefore it should be considered a ‘first draft‘ and any information should be fact-checked independently.

For this assessment criterion, you will be required to analyse the impact of different socialisation factors in relation to the development of values and beliefs. Socialisation is the process of learning how to behave in a way that is acceptable to society and there are many factors that can influence this learning. Some of these are discussed below.

Gender roles

Gender socialisation is the way that individuals learn to behave in a way that conforms to their biological gender and has, historically, led to gender stereotyping (e.g. boys like the colour blue and girls like the colour pink). In recent years, the division has decreased as different gender roles (including non-binary) have become more socially acceptable – for example, it is far more common now for males to bring up children and perform domestic tasks than it was in the previous century. However, discrimination does still exist and more work needs to be done for equality in this regard.

This paper by Crespi (2003) provides a good introduction and additional information about gender roles.

Norms and values of family and peer groups and cultural beliefs

Children are heavily influenced by the values, attitudes, behaviours and beliefs of their family and peer groups. As they grow they will look to older family members for guidance about acceptable social norms. Cultural upbringing will also have an impact.

Arnett’s Broad and Narrow Socialization Theory (1995) makes a distinction between two types of cultural socialization in families. Broad socialization cultures promote individualism, independence and self-expression, whilst narrow socialization cultures promote conformity to cultural expectations.

Influence of school, work environment and government

Education, work environments and government policy can also have an impact on socialization. For example, the Equality Act 2010 enshrined in law what was unacceptable in relation to discrimination and thus had an influence on what people learned to be socially acceptable. By working in the care sector, we are bound by a duty of care and other professional conduct, which can influence our personal beliefs.

Theories of learned behaviour

Bandura’s Social Learning Theory (1981) posits that learning occurs through the observation and imitation of others. The cognitive process between observation and imitation is called mediation. To imitate a behaviour, during the mediational process, the individual must be attentive to the behaviour they observe, remember it, be able to reproduce it and have the will to do so. Behaviours can be reinforced if the individual is rewarded for it.

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