Context, moral orientation, and self-esteem
Hight, Donna Louise
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to compare moral orientation and a measure of self-esteem with the degree of consideration given to certain contextual elements of the moral dilemmas presented. Demographic differences (sex, race/ethnicity, and class standing) among respondents were also examined relative to the degree of consideration given to certain contextual elements of the moral dilemmas presented. The researcher created a 150-item questionnaire, using The Measure of Moral Orientation (MMO; Liddell, 1990), the Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965), and researcher-developed contextual scales that followed each of the MMO dilemmas. The purpose of these items was to assess the importance of significant relationships; situational factors/circumstances; peer culture and influence; cost-benefit analyses of consequences; institutional values; and religion, faith, and spirituality on moral decision-making and motivation. Data from participants were collected over a two-week period beginning August 18, 2003, the start of fall classes, and ending August 29, 2003. The research participants (n = 130) in this study were students enrolled in Helping Strategies (total of four sections) or Career and Life Planning (total of six sections), both taught through the Department of Counseling and Human Development. The researcher gathered completed computer Scantron sheets and instruments from students who elected to participate in the study. These participants included 90 women and 39 men (n = 129 for sex); 110 white/Caucasian students and 17 students of color (n = 127 for race/ethnicity); and 6 sophomores, 18 juniors, 87 seniors, and 18 students who indicated “other” as their response (n = 129 for class standing). While there were 130 participants in this study, not every participant responded to all demographic questions. Statistically significant findings for the degree of consideration scales (relationships, circumstances, peers, cost-benefit, institutional values, and spirituality) as compared with the MMO’s overall care, overall justice, self-care, and self-justice scores were examined. The overall care score was significantly related to peers, cost-benefit, relationships, and circumstances scales. The overall justice score was significantly related to the peers scale and institutional values scale. The self-care score was significantly related to the relationships and peers scales; the self-justice score was significantly related to the institutional values scale. All other comparisons did not reach a level of statistical significance. Additionally, individual contextual items were evaluated for statistical significance by comparing these specific items to response items following each of the MMO’s dilemmas.