Volume 24, Issue 1 (Spring 2018)                   IJPCP 2018, 24(1): 30-43 | Back to browse issues page

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Hooshyari Z, Delavar A, Minaee A, Eskandari H. Comparison of Two Approaches for Measuring Moral Development: Neo-Kohlbergian Approach and Moral Study Challenges. IJPCP. 2018; 24 (1) :30-43
URL: http://ijpcp.iums.ac.ir/article-1-2740-en.html
1- Department of Evaluation and Measurement, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran
2- Full Professor, Department of Evaluation and Measurement, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran , Email: delavarali@yahoo.com
3- Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran
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Extended Abstract
1. Introduction

Psychological constructs have various implications that may or may not be appropriate for measurement [1], and hence, morality is extremely controversial [2]. Although Kohlberg changed the morality into a measurable subject [6], it yet faces several challenges. Kohlberg demonstrated subjects with nine dilemmas and want them to make decision for story hero and explain how to obtain the solution. The subjects’ reasoning  is criteria for their moral development [11, 12, 14]. Herein, it is presumed that a person is aware of his mind’s inner processes and can express them [15]. Despite the establishment of the validity and reliability of Kohlberg method, it was severely criticized [12, 14, 17], Due to the lack of evidence for the post-conventional stage [16], this method exhibits limitations in self-reporting of cognitive processes and access to underlying information [18]. Since the mental operation is elusive from cognitive assessment [19, 20] and since the interview depends on the conscious understanding, people are unaware of the content of their minds [15, 18]. Thus, the two Neo-Kohlbergian approaches, led by James Rest and John Gibbs, overcame these criticisms.
Moreover, people know more than they say and weakness in verbal ability should not limit them from expressing their reasoning. They may not remember their knowledge, but if encountered with the same reasoning, they can identify and score them [16, 19, 26]. Thus, after the participants encounter dilemma, instead of putting forth their reasoning, they receive a questionnaire that includes the reasoning item that should be rated for the importance of its role in dilemma solving. The participants give a high score to items that match to their dominant moral schema unconsciously. The moral development level of the participant is defined by the maximum scores for reasoning [8, 16, 19, 20, 21]. Gibbs  did not encounter people with a dilemma, rather asked them to explain how much and why some of the ethics such as devotion, honesty, affection, and justice were a necessity. The individual’s answers formed the basis for the determination of the stage of moral development, and Gibbs expressed the reasons stated by the subjects according to Kohlberg [23].
The remaining participants presented  evidence for post-conventional moral stage and eliminated the impact of verbal skills in moral development measured as a strong point of the approach. However, this method was criticized by one participant who did not make reasoning by their-self fragment [16]. For Gibbs, the cognitive maturation allowed the processing of information, analysis, and conclusion; if a person could not reason for a high stage, it indicated that the higher stage was not consensual  [7, 12, 14, 17, 23]. However, if the two methods measured the unit construct, a consensus was essential [33]. Thus, the present study compared the two methods with each other and with the external criteria (interviews based on hypothetical riddles and real-life conflicts in individuals). 
2. Method
The present study is based on the mixed method models [34]. The research sample comprised of 40 respondents to Behavioral and Mental Health Assessment Center in December 2016, who were selected through purposeful sampling. The tools used included Defining Issue Test (DIT), Sociomoral Reflection Measurement-Short Form (SRM-SF), moral interviews based on the hypothetical dilemma, and in-depth interviews based on real life. Data were analyzed using Kendall’s method, Pearson’s correlation coefficient, analysis of variance, and independent t-test.
3. Results
The correlation between P of Defining Issue Test (DIT)and SRM is 0.62, while that between subjects’ moral development in SRM-SF and DIT is 0.54. All individuals that are labeled as morally mature persons by SRM-SF have a normative or post-conventional moral schema in DIT. However, of the 12 individuals that SRM-SF identified as morally immature, only 5 in the DIT received an interested personal schema. The participants in 3 moral schemas were compared via SRM scores, and the results showed the difference between PISs with NMSs and PCSs. The results also confirmed the difference between individuals with and without moral maturity (based on SRM) with respect to P derived from DIT. The correlations between the results of hypothesis-based interviews and the results of DIT and SRM-SF were significant and 0.46 and 0.62, respectively. The correlations between the results of the in-depth interview based on personal real-life events and the results of DIT and SRM-SF were significant and 0.48 and 0.53, respectively. Thus, a significant difference between DIT results and interview results of real-life events.
4. Discussion 
The correlation coefficient observed between the two tools is an index of their coherence in unit construct measurement [43]. It was also observed that in SRM, PIS had a significantly lower score than NMS and PCS. Although the PIS person wanted the world according to his desire, an attitude towards partnership and adherence to rules and principles was lacking. On the other hand, NMS prefers adherence to rules, order, and equality in law for all due to the moral maturity and avoid tribalism and self-orientation. The PCS individuals wanted welfare beyond the rules for all humans and exhibited a high moral maturation in SRM score. The SRM identifications were also confirmed by DIT; those with moral maturation earned a P  as an indicator of post-conventional thinking and cannot be observed those without moral maturation. 
The correlation coefficient confirmed using two tools with external criteria that served as the best indicators of the reliability of the results. Moreover, we observed that all the participants in DIT with a high score in NMS or PCS did not necessarily display the same in real-life; this result was not observed for SRM-SF. There is no hero in SRM, and therefore, no third person, voice of judger, and subject in one. Also, in personal life, the story's hero and the one who is reasoning are the same individuals. Furthermore, the emotions [33, 44, 45], sense of duty [46], thought of the outcome, and the fate of the closest people [32] affects the individual's decision and maybe a moral act independent of moral judgment in reality [49].
This paper was extracted from the first author's PhD dissertation in the Department of Evaluation and Measurement, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Allameh Tabataba'i University of Tehran.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Type of Study: Original Research | Subject: Psychiatry and Psychology
Received: 2017/08/19 | Accepted: 2017/11/1 | Published: 2018/04/1

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