Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

John O'Connor, Richard Miller, John Bruni

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The present study investigated the three areas associated with sex bias in Kohlberg's theory of moral development --sex, gender identification, and sex of story characters. The Defining Issues Test (DIT: Rest,1986a), a measure of moral development derived from Kohlberg's theory, was used in its original form and two revised forms (Male and Female versions) to determine the effects of sex and sex of story characters on the assessment of moral development. The Bem Sex -Role Inventory (Bem, 1981) was used to classify subjects as either sex -typed or androgynous to determine whether sex -role identification affects the assessment moral development. No significant main effects were found relative to the proposed hypotheses. Masculine males and feminine females did not score significantly different on the original DIT. There were also no significant differences in the DIT P scores of the androgynous persons and sex -typed persons. Results also indicated that it made no difference in DIT scores whether masculine males were given dilemmas with female story characters or males story characters. Unexpectedly, there were overall sex differences. Hales scored significantly higher than females at Stage 4 while females scored significantly higher than males at Stage 5A. Furthermore, female raw P scores were significantly higher than males' indicating that females demonstrated a higher level of moral development.


Clinical Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Psychology