Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Elsie P. Jackson

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

Lenore S. Brantley


Problem Statement. Lawrence Kohlberg's stage model of moral development has attracted agreat deal of attention from educators and psychologists. Not surprisingly, his work has also inspired considerable criticism and revisionism. A number of authors have argued that Kohlberg's theory does not incorporate the collectivistic moral reasoning that emphasizes human relationships among individuals, families, the community, and society in general.

Methodology. Analyses of variance, t-test, correlational analyses, and regression analyses were performed to investigate the relationship between ethnicity, moral reasoning, and collectivism using the Defining Issues Test (DIT) and the Individualism-Collectivism (INDCOL) Scale. These scales were administered to 179 Asian students and Caucasian American students at Andrews University.

Results. The present study showed that collectivism was not associated necessarily with lower P scores. It was found, however, that collectivism may be a significant predictor of moral reasoning when it was combined with ethnicity. This supposition is most likely for collectivistic attitudes toward parents and co-workers.

Conclusions. According to this study, persons from Asian culture may be handicapped on the DIT and other psychological tests that use as their foundations Kohlberg's theory of moral development. Ethnicity was noted as a powerfully associated factor with the P score on the DIT. It is very likely that Kohlberg's development theory has not given adequate expression to the concerns and experience of Asian people. The cross-cultural universality of Kohlberg's theory seems to warrant reexamination. More empirical research, however, is needed to clarify the relationship between collectivistic attitude and moral reasoning.

Subject Area

Moral development, Asian students, Ethics, Oriental


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