The relationship between life experiences and moral reasoning in college-educated women

Joyce Marie Wallskog, Marquette University

Abstract

The purposes of this exploratory study were: (1) to determine if there were significant relationships between levels of principled moral thinking and levels of overall moral development in college-educated women and selected life experiences--formal education, career choice, length of time employed in career, marital status, length of time married, and motherhood; (2) to explore the predictive capacity of length of time since graduation in explaining the variability in principled moral thinking or overall moral development of college-educated women; (3) to determine if there were significant differences in levels of principled moral thinking or overall moral development between women in traditional careers and women in nontraditional careers; (4) to determine if there were significant differences in levels of principled moral thinking or overall moral development between college-educated women who are employed outside the home and college-educated women who are not employed outside the home; and, (5) to explore the predictive capacity of selected life experiences of college-educated women, as previously mentioned, in explaining the variability in principled moral thinking or overall moral development. The design consisted of a cross-sectional correlation study. Standardized information was obtained from the Defining Issues Test on the predictor variables of formal education, career choice, length of time employed in career, marital status, length of time married, and motherhood from a random and a different sample of 102 college-educated women: seniors in college, five years post-college and ten years post-college. Various statistical analyses were performed. These included backward and forward multiple regression, Pearson's product moment correlations, analysis of variance, and t tests. Results indicated that there was a statistically significant positive relationship between formal education and overall moral development in college-educated women. Findings revealed that formal education was the only predictor of overall moral development. Results further suggested that women who work outside the home had higher levels of principled moral thinking that women who do not work outside the home. Implications for the development of a pluralistic moral theory which includes the life experiences of women and recommendations for future research were discussed.

Recommended Citation

Joyce Marie Wallskog, "The relationship between life experiences and moral reasoning in college-educated women" (January 1, 1992). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI9306005.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9306005

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