COGNITIVE MORAL DEVELOPMENT AND LOEVINGER'S CONCEPT OF EGO DEVELOPMENT (KOHLBERG)

HANNAH LEVERTOV, Fordham University

Abstract

This study explored the nature of the relationship between cognitive moral development as defined by Lawrence Kohlberg and ego development as defined by Jane Loevinger. The effects of general cognitive development were controlled by the selection of subjects who were capable of formal operational thinking. Subjects were 120 Jewish volunteers comprised of equal numbers of junior high-school, senior high-school, and college students of both sexes. All subjects received three tests: A Screening Measure for Formal Operations, The Sentence Completion Test (SCT) which measures ego development, and The Moral Judgment Interview (MJI). Results indicated the existence of significant positive correlations between the SCT and MJI in the overall sample, in the total male and female samples, in the entire college group, and in the female college group. No significant correlations were found in the junior high-school and senior high-school groups, possibly due to restricted ranges of scores. In addition, most subjects at moral development stages 3/4 and above had attained at least the conscientious-conformist level. Results also indicated the presence of differences between male and female scores. The correlations for females were consistently higher than for males, females scored significantly higher on the SCT, males scored significantly higher on the MJI, and the relationship between specific moral and ego development stages seemed to be stronger for females than for males. The differences found in this study between the sexes in performance on the MJI are consistent with Gilligan's theory about the distinctions between male and female approaches to moral dilemmas. However, that theory was found to be inadequate in explaining the stronger relationship between MJI and SCT scores manifested by the females in this study. The SCT was criticized for not specifying clearly the ego development features that it measured. It was suggested that the exact nature of the interplay between moral and ego development could be illuminated more fully by research that focused on specific well-defined features of ego development. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

HANNAH LEVERTOV, "COGNITIVE MORAL DEVELOPMENT AND LOEVINGER'S CONCEPT OF EGO DEVELOPMENT (KOHLBERG)" (January 1, 1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8506343.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8506343

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