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SAGE Publications

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Journal of Adolescent Research

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In post-conflict and transitional settings, adolescents are important civic and political actors as potential peacebuilders. Policy and programming often focus on promoting prosocial outcomes for these younger generations, but there has been growing attention to their perspectives and psychological development. Drawing on theory in developmental psychology, adolescents interpret and respond to context in forming ideas about key concepts like peace, understanding society and their place in it, and constructing their orientations toward peace. This study extends current literature by exploring how Colombian adolescents describe peace within the context of a peace process in their country. Ninety-six 15- to 18-year-olds in and around Bogotá, Colombia, were interviewed about peace. Their responses were analyzed inductively using an adapted thematic analysis. Findings indicated that the individual was central to how respondents talked about peace; that is, peace begins and depends on the internal states. From this basis, individuals then created peace through interpersonal relations. There were some differences by respondents’ SES, such as in how respondents described peace as requiring equality in society, but none found for gender or age. This study demonstrates the need to provide concrete opportunities for these adolescents to see individual contributions and broader interpersonal peace as possible.


Accepted version. Journal of Adolescent Research, Vol. 37, No. 3 (May 1, 2022): 439-465. DOI. © 2022 SAGE Publications. Used with permission.

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