While intellectual curiosity has been widely studied in the field of child development, interpersonal curiosity and its association with social and emotional skills and well-being has rarely been investigated. This mixed-methods study explored the dimensions of interpersonal curiosity, examined how each dimension was associated with social and emotional skills and well-being, and investigated the moderating role of gender among middle school students. 389 seventh-grade students in seven public middle schools in New York City (Mage = 12.52; 48% female) completed an online survey that included an interpersonal question-generation measure. The sample was racially/ethnically diverse: Asian (36%), White (29%), Latino/a (16%), African American (13%), and Other (6%). Content analysis guided by grounded theory approach revealed four dimensions of interpersonal curiosity: Curiosity about Me (15%), Curiosity about You (33%), Curiosity about Our Relationship (3%), and Curiosity about Your Relationships (6%). Results indicated that the dimensions of interpersonal curiosity were positively associated with social and emotional skills and well-being, and that gender moderated such associations. Our findings suggest the need to investigate this multidimensional construct and consider it a core component of healthy adolescent development.
- early adolescence
- mixed methods
- positive youth development
- social development
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science