The Beautiful Stranger – Szekler Teenagers’ Role Models

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The social learning theory emphasizes that model giving or guiding has always been one of the most powerful means for transmitting values, for demonstrating and accentuating the expected attitudes, habits, thinking, and behaviour (Bandura, 1986; Crosswhite et. al., 2003). Studies have shown that a role model could motivate a teenager’s sporting habits and performance in a positive way. They also found that the top athletes, those celebrities who appear frequently in the media, can become role models. Do Szekler teenagers have role models? Do they choose their role model from their physical environment or the international popular media stars or mediatized persons become their idolized model? We wanted to find out who those teenagers are from our region who choose as their role model a star, a famous person, a media celebrity – a well-known person but still a stranger for the teenagers of Szeklerland. If so, who are their icons and role models? Who are those people that have an exemplary behaviour in their eyes? To whom they would like to compare themselves when they grow up? And what are those characteristics which have decisive roles in choosing as role model a person they have never met before? The analysis is based on three important surveys conducted among teenagers from Romania (Covasna, Harghita, and Mureş counties). The surveys took place in the springs of 2012, 2014, and 2016. About two thousand pupils in the 7th and 11th grades were involved each time. On the basis of variables, such as age, gender, and type of residency, we will present general profiles and general types of Szekler teenagers regarding the role models of their choice.

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