Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Significant deficiencies in general and specific type empathy (Fernandez, Marshall, Lightbody, & O’Sullivan, 1998) and in moral development (Buttell, 2002) among child molesters have been found to exist. Given the empirical support that child molesters show lower empathy levels than do the nonoffenders, as well as lower levels of moral development, the current study aimed at examining the relation between empathy and moral development. The current study further examined if a relation existed among treatment duration, empathy, and moral development. Participants (n=34) completed the Defining Issues Test (Rest, 1979), the Child Molester Empathy Measure (Fernandez et al., 1998), and a brief demographic questionnaire. The Defining Issues Test measures moral development based on Kohlberg’s (Kohlberg, 1981) moral reasoning stages. The Child Molester Empathy Measure measures empathy on three different levels: general empathy, empathy toward a sexual abuse victim, and empathy towards one’s own victim. No significant correlations were found between empathy, moral development, or treatment duration. The only significant results found were that the current study’s sample was significantly different from that of the norm and sample used in developing the two different measures.


Carol L. Patrick

Date of Award

Summer 2005

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 2005 Kimberly J. Brady


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