Date of Award

1984

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Since results have been equivocal about the relationship between religion and moral judgment, this study was undertaken to determine whether there was evidence for the relationship, using a multitrait-multisource technique. Criticisms of Kohlberg's theory of moral development were reviewed in regard to the issue. Teacher, self, and peer ratings were obtained on scales of religiousness, moral judgment, and social skill, which was included as a discriminant variable. A pilot group of 67 eighth graders was assessed to determine the reliability of the rating scales. Thirty-four eighth graders in the sample completed the religiousness, moral judgment, and social skills rating scales as well as the Defining Issues Test (DIT) of moral judgment and the Religious Belief Questionnaire (RBQ). Pearson product moment correlations were determined among the variables, and the correlations from the rating scales were examined in a multitrait-multisource matrix. Results supported the hypotheses that there would be a positive relationship, statistically significant at the .05 level, between religiousness and moral judgment, especially when individuals are rated regarding these characteristics by other people. Though the DIT and the RBQ failed to correlate at a statistically significant level, the DIT did correlate significantly with self ratings of religiousness. Social skill was found to correlate with religion and, even more so, to moral judgment, in much the same way that religiousness and moral judgment related to each other. A partial correlation controlling for the effect of social skills revealed that the relationship between teacher ratings of religiousness and moral judgment remained at a statistically significant level, whereas the correlations between students' ratings of religiousness and moral judgment were nonsignificant when the effects of social skills were controlled. Gender differences in peer ratings were examined. Girls' ratings of other girls were significantly higher than were girls' ratings of boys and boys' ratings of other boys on religion, social skills, and moral judgment. This finding was consistent with previous research.

Pages

99

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