Question asking in active listening scale for early adolescents: Behavioral measure development and initial validation

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Relational theories of human development explain how stereotypes and their underlying ideologies thwart social connections that are fundamental for individuals to thrive, especially in early adolescence. Intervention research to address this crisis of connection is still emergent and active listening is one promising strategy to this end; however, its efficacy has not been examined in part because no validated measures of active listening for this population exist. This validation study is the first to examine whether the behavioral dimensions of one form of active listening can be captured using a coding scheme to assess adolescents' engagement in a live interviewing task (N = 293). Importantly, the measure was developed within the context of a theory-driven intervention to train adolescents in transformative curiosity and listening to enhance connection. Findings indicate that two dimensions underlie the measure as hypothesized, open-ended questions and follow-up questions, with acceptable internal consistency. The measure is sensitive to change in adolescents' questioning skills before and after the intervention. Further, asking follow-up questions was positively related to empathy and also predicted a respondent's perception of their interviewer as a good listener. The effect for asking open-ended questions was moderated by dyad-level tendencies to elicit disclosure from others. The current measure not only examines question asking as a more nuanced behavioral dimension of active listening than previous measures, it is also the first to do so among a sample of early adolescents. The measure will be useful in assessing active listening interventions' efficacy to address the crisis of connection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • active listening
  • adolescence
  • connection
  • measure development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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