Previous studies have indicated that the moral development of the child may follow a "developmental" process. That is, the child progresses through an invariant series of stages, each characterized by certain modes of thought. As the child passes from one stage to another, he integrates the old stage into the new one. Kohlberg proposed a hierarchy of six stages through which the child would progress on his way to moral maturity. His hypothesis has been supported by empirical evidence.

Research findings have indicated that the Mormon culture appeared to be different in values and moral behavior than other United States cultures. Kohlberg has suggested that his hypothesis could be applied cross-culturally. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the stages of moral development proposed by the Kohlberg hypothesis could be differentiated in a culture that strongly emphasizes moral behavior such as the Mormon culture. It was proposed that in the Mormon culture a developmental sequence in moral orientation would appear in the moral judgments of children in the ninth through the twelfth grades.

The sample consisted of 142 students from L.D.S. Seminary classes in the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades. They each completed a written instrument containing questions about five stories, each posing a moral dilemma. The instruments were scored with the "Global Rating Guide for Kohlberg Moral Judgment Situations" which gave a Moral Maturity Score for each S. Correlations between the scoring of judges and the writer on four instruments were from .785 to .97.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life



Date Submitted


Document Type





Mormons, Character, Ethics