The Relationship Of Moral Judgment, Empathy, And Psychological Need Deprivation To Perceived Moral Behavior

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


The purpose of the present study was to assess the nature of the relationship between moral judgment, empathy, psychological need deprivation, and moral behavior. Moral behavior was measured by same-sex peer and teacher ratings.Additional measures included those for intellectual ability and socioeconomic status. Same-sex peers also rated subjects on physical attractiveness and degree of friendship, while teachers rated subjects on physical attractiveness and degree of familiarity. Subjects included 84 female and 50 male senior high school students who were administered all measures in a group format.Results indicated that moral judgment and empathy were positively related, while moral judgment and psychological deprivation were negatively related. Results generally indicated that moral judgment, empathy, and psychological deprivation were insignificantly associated with moral behavior when the total group was considered as a whole. This suggests that these factors may not be major contributing factors to moral behavior, or must be considered in combination with, or in the context of, other psychological and/or situational factors. These results were also considered potentially inconclusive due to possible inadequacies of the independent and dependent measures. Sex differences did emerge in follow-up analyses. On the peer ratings, empathy was related to perceived moral behavior among males, whereas intelligence was related to perceived moral behavior among females. This effect may be due to the operation of sex-role stereotypes among raters.


Psychology, Developmental

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