Master's Theses

Date of Award

Summer 2002

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Carol L. Patrick

Abstract

The Defining Issues Test 2 (DIT 2) is an instrument designed to measure moral development. It is based on Kohlberg's theory of moral development, who proposed that individuals go through 3 levels. The first level, pre-conventional, includes most children age of 9-years-old and some adolescents. During this stage the individual has yet to fully understand and uphold conventional or societal rules and expectations. The second level, conventional, is reached by most adolescents and adults in almost every society. Individuals conform to and uphold the rules and expectation and conventions of society or authority just because they are society's rules. The final level, post-conventional, is reached by only a minority of adults and is usually reached only after the age of 20. During this stage the individual not only accepts the society’s laws but also develops an understanding for general moral principles that underlie these rules. Kohlberg proposed that males and females develop morally the same and that the stages of moral development are universal and can be observed in almost every society. The purpose of this study was to examine whether two different cultural populations, in this case Americans and Greeks, are similar in their moral development. The DIT 2 is the main instrument used in this study to assess moral development of these two populations. It was hypothesized that both American and Greek college students will obtain similar P and N2 indexes of moral development in the DIT 2. It was also hypothesized that there would not be any significant differences between the moral development of females and males in both groups. In addition there would be a difference in moral development stemming from educational advancement with freshman obtaining lower scores than seniors. The findings indicated a low but significant correlation between the scores on the P and N2 indexes obtained by Greek and American participants (r = .189 and .381 respectively). As a result the first two hypotheses were not supported because cultural differences do exist. Furthermore there were no significant differences found between males and females in the research sample, which was supported by past literature. However, there were no significant differences between upper- and lower classmen and their moral development score in contrast with past studies. Further research with a more balanced and equivalent sample between the two cultures and dealing with possible issues of translation is needed.

Rights

Copyright 2002 Sofia Karamavrou

Comments

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