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A Longitudinal Study of Moral Reasoning

Lawrence J. Walker
Child Development
Vol. 60, No. 1 (Feb., 1989), pp. 157-166
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131081
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131081
Page Count: 10
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A Longitudinal Study of Moral Reasoning
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Abstract

Several issues concerning Gilligan's model of moral orientations and Kohlberg's models of moral stages and moral orientations were examined in a longitudinal study with 233 subjects (from 78 families) who ranged in age from 5 to 63 years. They participated in 2 identical interviews separated by a 2-year interval. In each interview, they discussed hypothetical dilemmas and a personally generated real-life dilemma, which were scored for both moral stage and moral orientation (both Gilligan's and Kohlberg's typologies). Results revealed few violations of the stage sequence over the longitudinal interval, supporting Kohlberg's moral stage model. Sex differences were almost completely absent for both Gilligan's and Kohlberg's moral orientations, although there were clear developmental trends. Hypothetical and real-life dilemmas elicited different moral orientations, especially in terms of Kohlberg's typology. The interrelations between the 2 models of moral orientations were generally weak, indicating that they are not synonymous.

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