Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Keith T. Checketts


Keith T. Checketts


The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship of parent-child interaction variables to moral reasoning and to identify those variables that best predict moral reasoning.

Subjects were 51 high school senior males and their parents from intact families. Parents and sons completed separate questionnaires designed to measure the following variables: moral reasoning, induction, power-assertion, love-withdrawal, authoritarian attitudes, intrusiveness, support, communication, socio-economic status and academic achievement. The instruments used to measure these variables were the Defining Issues Test, Parent-Child Relationship II Questionnaire, Child-Rearing Questionnaire, Child-Rearing Practices Report, Traditional Family Ideology Scale, the Two Factor Index of Socio-Economic Status, a set of communication items, and a self-report measure of findings were discussed in terms of future research

Correlations were computed between sons' moral reasoning and all other variables. Multiple regression with forward inclusion was computed to identify those variables which best predict sons' moral reasoning.

Socio-economic status was the only variable that, by itself, was found significantly related to sons' moral reasoning. However, a combination of eight variables was found to account for 51 percent of the variance in sons' moral reasoning. The variables are: socio-economic status, mothers' moral reasoning, fathers' maintenance of boundaries (overprotection), mothers control of sex and aggression (authoritarian attitudes), mothers' power-assertion, fathers' love withdrawal, fathers' moral reasoning and mothers' love withdrawal. Based on these results, it was concluded that parent-child interaction are related to sons' moral reasoning.

Parents who were able to step outside of traditional gender roles while interacting with and disciplining their children were more likely to have morally advanced sons. Parents' levels of moral reasoning were found to be important predictors of sons' moral reasoning. These findings were discussed in terms of future research possibilities.



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