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Investigation of the moral reasoning of offending and non-offending adolescents using the Sociomoral Reflection Measure-Short Form

The body of work presented in this thesis results from an in depth investigation of the moral reasoning of male offending and male and female non-offending adolescents in the UK using the Sociomoral Reflection Measure-Short Form (Gibbs, Basinger & Fuller, 1992). In Chapter I a review of the research relevant to field of study was presented. In Chapter 2 findings from initial investigations into the patterns of moral reasoning of male offending and male and female non-offending adolescents were presented. Key aims of the studies presented in Chapter 2 were to replicate previous findings using the measure amongst offenders and non-offenders, in particular to test claims that offenders were morally immature in relation to non-offending peers, and to investigate gender differences on the measure. In line with predictions, the measure discriminated between offenders and non-offenders, with offenders having significantly lower mean scores than non-offenders. No gender differences were observed in the overall sample. However, some difficulties were found in discriminating between younger male offenders and male non-offenders. Tests of the internal characteristics of the scale were also performed. In Chapter 3, subsequent analyses of data were performed using "categorical" methods. This represented a novel means of tackling the data. A key aim was to test the Gilligan (1982) hypothesis that females and males differ in use of Stage 3 "mutual and prosocial" and Stage 4 "systemic and standard" reasoning. Results of the "categorical" analyses apparently corresponded to the Gilligan hypothesis. Patterns of intra-individual variability in moral stage use were also investigated to test claims regarding structural consistency in moral reasoning. It was found that participants were demonstrating intra-individual variability in their patterns of moral reasoning, this presented a challenge to certain aspects of the moral reasoning model. The final chapter summarised key findings to emerge from the thesis, and discussed these in theoretical context.
Date January 2002
CreatorsBrusten, Catherine Maria
PublisherOxford Brookes University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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