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Children’s ego functioning and their stage of moral reasoning Matsuba, Michio K. 1993

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CHILDREN'S EGO FUNCTIONINGAND THEIR STAGE OF MORAL REASONINGbyMICHIO KYLE MATSUBAB.Sc., The University of Toronto, 1989B.A., The University of British Columbia, 1990A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Psychology)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAOctober 1993© Michio Kyle Matsuba, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature Department of ^Pc+/CH01_0(./The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate Cct^1q43DE-6 (2/88)iiAbstractIt has been claimed that both peer and family interactions are important in facilitatingmoral development. As well, there has been evidence suggesting that children's egofunctioning is an important consideration in understanding moral functioning. Thisstudy investigated the relationship among these variables and how they relate tochildren's moral reasoning level. Forty target children (Grade 5 and 10) participatedalong with a same-sex friend and a parent (total N = 120). Each participant's stage ofmoral development was assessed in a moral judgment interview. Target children alsoparticipated in two discussion sessions (one with a friend and one with a parent). Ineach discussion, three moral conflicts were discussed (two real-life and onehypothetical). Target children's ego functioning in these discussion sessions was ratedby observers using a Q-sort procedure. Results revealed that older children tended touse more complex ego processes than younger children. As well, children generally"coped" more in discussing hypothetical dilemmas and "defended" more with real-lifedilemmas. The predicted differences in ego functioning when discussing dilemmas witha peer versus a parent were not evident. However, consistent with expectations, astrong relation was found between ego functioning and level of moral reasoning withmoral development being predicted by both cognitive coping and attention-focusingcoping ego functions. The results are discussed in terms of the factors that foster moralgrowth in children.Table of ContentsAbstract^ iiTable of Contents^ iiiList of TablesAcknowledgements^ viIntroduction 1Theoretical Issues in Moral Reasoning Development^2Kohlberg's Philosophical Roots^ 2Kohlberg's Psychological Roots 4Empirical Work Using Kohlberg's Theory^ 8Intellectual, Social Perspective-taking,and Moral Reasoning Development^ 8Cognitive Conflict^ 10Moral Reasoning in the Context of Peer Relations^ 14Moral Reasoning in the Context of Friendship 16Moral Reasoning in the Context of Parent-Child Relationship^ 19The Different Roles of Friends and Parents^23Ego Functioning^ 29Defense Mechanisms and Cognitive Abilities^31Defense Mechanisms andSocial Perspective-taking Abilities^ 33Defense Mechanisms and Gender 34Defense Mechanisms and Social Circumstances^35Ego Functioning and Moral Reasoning^ 37The Present Study^ 43Method^ 48Participants^ 48iiiivProcedure^ 48Scoring 50Moral Reasoning^ 50Ego Functioning 51Results^ 53Ego Functioning^ 53Post hoc Analyses 53Planned Analyses^ 56Moral Reasoning 62Moral Reasoning and Ego Functioning^ 62Discussion^ 67References 83Appendix A^ 89Appendix B 92Appendix C^ 96List of TablesTable 1^Children's Ego Functioning across Grade^57Table 2^Children's Ego Functioning Across Dilemma Discussions^60Table 3^Multiple Regression Analysis of Moral Reasoning Scores ^64Table 4^Ego Functioning Correlation Matrix^ 66viAcknowledgementsThis study would not be possible without the assistance of a number of people,each of whom have played a vital role in the undertaking of this project. Beforeacknowledging these people, I first wish to thank SSHRC for their grant to Dr. Walkerwhich has helped to fund this study, and to the Vancouver School Board for its help inthe recruitment of participants.I wish to begin by thanking my committee members: Dr. Charlotte Johnston forher cheerful willingness to be on my committee, her friendly assistance which has madethe thesis experience more enjoyable, and her knowledge on methodological matterswhich has help to strengthen the quality of this study; and to Dr. Michael Chandler forhis wisdom from which came challenging questions and insightful comments.As well, I would like to thank the members of my research team who have madethis study possible: To Jody Peters and Esther Sweetman who have put in timelesshours transcribing audiotapes quickly and accurately; to Russ Pitts and Karl Hennigwho have sacrificed their vision by watching and coding numerous video-tapeddiscussions; and to many fellow colleagues who have provided helpful comments andcriticisms along the way to completing this thesis.I also need and want to acknowledge my friend and supervisor Dr. Larry Walker.From his balanced dedication to his research, his students, his family, and God, I havelearned a lot about what is important in life. He has taught me a great deal!I would also like to thank my parents for their belief in my abilities, their neverending support of my academic pursuits, and their patience with me during the stormytimes.Finally, I give by humble thanks and praise to God for all the things that He hasdone, especially in providing me with supportive brothers and sisters in Christ. I praythat all my efforts in uncovering the mysteries of His people are acceptable to Him.1IntroductionOver the past 20 years, many psychologists have invested a great deal of theirresources in extending our understanding of the moral domain. This work has beenimportant since it has led to the identification of numerous variables that are related tothe development of children's moral reasoning. Yet despite the inroads made into themoral domain, there is much left unknown about children's moral reasoningdevelopment. The purpose of this study was to further explore those roads lesstravelled. More specifically, the challenge which lies ahead is to determine how twoareas of human functioning, moral reasoning and ego functioning, relate to each other.Attempts to bridge these two domains is not entirely new. Haan (1977; Haan,Aerts, & Cooper, 1985) thought that individuals' ego functioning should relate to theirlevel of moral reasoning. She reasoned that people who face moral dilemmasexperience a certain amount of stress, and that the ego processes, or adaptational styles,people employ to deal with this stress may be related to how they reason about thesemoral issues, and ultimately to how they develop in regards to their moral reasoning.Yet (for reasons to be outlined later) the studies conducted by Haan have not beenentirely successful in demonstrating a clear relationship between children's moralreasoning and ego functioning. Thus, the goal of this study was to reexamine thisrelationship in hopes of obtaining a better understanding of how these psychologicaldomains may be linked, and how other variables, such as age, gender, and social contextmay influence this relationship.In order to understand the significance of this study, a discussion of thetheoretical and empirical foundations upon which it is grounded will be presented. Theareas to be reviewed include; (a) moral reasoning development, (b) ego functioning, (c)the importance of age, gender and social context to both these psychological domains,and (d) a list of the specific predictions of how moral reasoning and ego functioningmay relate to one another as well as to the other variables under study.2Theoretical Issues in Moral Reasoning DevelopmentIn recent times, exploration in the moral domain has been profoundly influencedby the work of Lawrence Kohlberg (1981, 1984). Kohlberg's theory of moral reasoningdevelopment is unique in its explicit attempt to construct a bridge between moralpsychology and ethics. Kohlberg saw that such a bridge was possible because of theparallel features (isomorphism) common to both cognitive-developmental psychologyand formalistic philosophy. These commonalties will become apparent in the ensuingdiscussions.Kohlberg's Philosophical RootsIn the construction of any psychological model, there is no atheoretical startingpoint, and Kohlberg's model is no exception. Often researchers are oblivious to thetheoretical underpinnings of their work. Not so with Kohlberg. Kohlberg (1981) madeexplicit his efforts of grounding his work in a philosophic tradition. He believed that apsychological theory of ethics is incomplete if its philosophic implications are notspelled out. As a result, Kohlberg was clear to state the meta-ethical assumptions uponwhich he built his theory (see Kohlberg, Levine, & Hewer, 1983).One of the key assumptions in Kohlberg's theory is that of cognitivism. Thisassumption claims that the rightness or wrongness of a judgment depends solely on thereasons offered and not on any affective component. By emphasizing this assumptionof cognitivism Kohlberg was placing primary importance on people's rational nature inmaking moral judgments. A second important assumption in Kohlberg's theory is thatof universalism. Kohlberg believed "that there is a universalistically valid form ofrational thought process which all persons could articulate, assuming social and culturalconditions suitable to cognitive-moral stage of development" (Kohlberg et al., 1983, p.75). Here Kohlberg is rejecting cultural relativism and arguing for moral judgments tobe viewed from a perspective of methodological non-relativism. He was claiming thatthe ontogenesis of rational moral thinking occurs in all cultures in the same stepwise,3invariant stage sequence. A third assumption in Kohlberg's theory is that ofprescriptivism. Kohlberg claimed that "in moral judgment, there is an implicitcommitment to action by the speaker and by others who share his or her principle, acommitment specifiable as a rule or principle" (Kohlberg et al., 1983, p. 77). These lasttwo assumptions have often been stressed by formalist philosophers as what is necessaryin forming an adequate moral judgment. Thus, these last two assumptions lead to thefourth assumption of formalism.Formalism refers to a discipline within meta-ethics that defines moraljudgments, methods, or points of view according to their formal character as opposed totheir content. By formal character, one is referring to the moral judgments that areimpersonal, ideal, universalizable, preemptive, etc. For instance, take Baier's (1965)concept of the moral point of view. He posits that the moral point of view is anabstracted position where one can make moral decisions as an independent, unbiased,impartial, objective, dispassionate, disinterested observer. By taking such a perspective,the decisions reached are expected to be ones that everyone should abide by since it isin the interest of everyone. This allows the procedural form to be separated from anycontent which may bias the outcome. In addition, people can rationally agree upon theprocess of taking the moral point of view without necessarily reaching an agreementupon the content or substantive principles of morality. For Kohlberg, this formalistposition seems to parallel the distinction between form and content as it relates to histheory of moral development: A given stage has certain formal characteristics whichmay generate various pro or con moral contents, all of which can be consistent with itsform. Thus, Kohlberg envisioned the development of moral reasoning to be themovement towards constructing a moral point of view and using moral judgments whichmeet formalistic criteria like universality and prescriptiveness.Finally, the fifth assumption deals with the primacy of justice in defining themoral domain. Kohlberg seemed to define the concept of justice in terms of fairness.4Kohlberg believed that the resolution of moral disputes in a fair manner involve theoperations of equality and reciprocity. The reason for defining the moral domain in thisway is because justice reasoning seems to conform with the Piagetian structure system(Piaget, 1970) while maintaining the integrity of the meta-ethical assumptions alreadymade. Therefore, framing the moral domain in terms of justice best representsKohlberg's conception of morality as being universal, rational, and structural. This willbecome more apparent later.Kohlberg's Psychological RootsFrom a psychological perspective, Kohlberg's theory of moral reasoningdevelopment stems from the "cognitive-developmental" tradition (Kohlberg, 1981).One of the key figures within this tradition was Jean Piaget, on whose work Kohlbergrelied in the development of his own theory of moral reasoning. Piaget (1975/1985)argued that people construct mental structures in order to make sense of informationthey receive from their environment. According to Piaget, a mental structure is asystem of transformational laws that organize and govern cognitive operations, and arereflected in individuals' actual responses to conflicts. These operations enable thesubject to organize external information in some coherent order. Moreover, cognitivestructures are continually being altered in order to achieve a better fit with experience.On the occasions where structures have changed their formation, children are describedas having moved from a lower stage to a higher stage. The process which explains suchdevelopment is called equilibration. According to Piaget (1975/1985), the process ofequilibration is triggered when a child's cognitive structure is no longer able to makesense of the external reality. This state is referred to as intrapsychic conflict, and leadsto the deformation of the individual's existing cognitive structure. This, in turn, isfollowed by the construction of a new cognitive structure which operates to alleviate theintrapsychic conflict by allowing the person to make sense of external reality (Chapman& McBride, 1992).5In many ways Kohlberg's research can be considered an extension of Piaget'swork in the moral domain. Kohlberg (1981) writes:A cognitive-developmental theory of moralization holdsthat there is a sequence of moral stages for the same basicreasons that there are cognitive or logico-mathematicalstages; that is, because cognitive-structural reorganizationstoward the more equilibrated occur in the course ofinteraction between the organism and the environment. Inthe area of 14c, Piaget holds that a psychological theory ofdevelopment is closely linked to a theory of normativelogic. Following Piaget, I claim the same is true in the areaof moral judgment. (p. 133)Moreover, as mentioned previously, Kohlberg thought that justice reasoning, inparticular, involved the cognitive operations most amenable to structural-developmental stage analysis. Kohlberg describes, rather ambiguously, two generaloperations that are crucial to moral development. The first operation is socialperspective-taking, or role-taking. Kohlberg hypothesized that as individuals progressthrough the stages they are able to broaden their social perspective, and coordinate theincreasingly divergent viewpoints when reasoning about moral dilemmas. The secondgeneral operation involves two justice operations: equality and reciprocity. Each stageorganizes, or structures, the duty and rights reasoning through the use of thesecognitive, justice operations. One can think of these operations as "interiorized actions"involved in forms of distribution and exchange. According to Kohlberg, in thedistribution of goods one can either carry this out by the operation of equality (i.e.,equity, distributive equality proportionate to circumstance and need), or reciprocity(i.e., merit or desert, reward in return for effort, virtue, or talent). Thus, each stage inKohlberg's model reflects a justice structure which is able to organize both the patternsof role-taking and the use of the central operations of reciprocity and equality in moralconflict situations.Cognitive operations are important concepts in Kohlberg's theory. The reasonwhy they are important is due to the properties they possess. One important property6of cognitive operations is that of reversibility. Reversibility allows for equilibrium totake place; that is, the balancing of conflicting value claims. Equilibrium anddisequilibrium are two states that occur during the process of equilibration. A person isin a state of equilibrium when his or her present stage structure is able to resolve moralconflicts. However, there comes a time when the stage structure is no longer able toresolve new moral problems which the person faces. When this occurs, the personundergoes a state of disequilibrium, and remains in this state until the person's justiceoperations undergoes reorganization. This reorganization enables the person to makesense of concrete situations he or she experiences, and to resolve their moral conflicts.Once this reorganization is established, the person returns to a state of equilibrium. Asa person reaches higher stages, the cognitive operations become more reversible in thesense that they are able to balance a broader array of conflicting value claims.In addition to describing the underlying processes involved in moraldevelopment, Kohlberg (1981) sketched out a six stage model of moral reasoningdevelopment (see Appendix A). This stage model is hierarchic in that each advancingstage represents an increasingly complex, abstract, general, and reversible structureover the preceding stage. Moreover, Kohlberg labelled his stages as "hard stages" sincethey meet the following Piagetian stage criteria: (a) stages follow an invariant sequencein individual development; (b) there is a "structural wholeness" to each stage, that is,underlying the responses to different tasks at a given stage is an underlying thought-organization; and (c) there is a hierarchical integration of stages which means thathigher stages reintegrate the structures at lower stages (see Walker, 1988). At thepinnacle of his model, Kohlberg proposed a developmental end-point labelled Stage 6,and that each of the stages in the hierarchy represents an increase in correspondencewith this end-point standard. Having an end-point is believed to be important because"the construction of any stage hierarchy requires a normatively designated point ofreference from which the developmental process in question can be describedretrospective as learning" (Habermas, 1990, p. 224). Thus, for Kohlberg, Stage 6represents the end-point in his rational reconstruction of the ontogenesis of justicereasoning (Habermas, 1983). This final stage is important because it helps to define thearea of human activity under study (Kohlberg et al., 1983). At Stage 6, the structure isable to organize patterns of role taking and cognitive operations such that people areable to formulate moral principles that provide some consistency to the different moraldecisions they make. Because role taking at this stage involves grasping the perspectiveof all parties involved (what Kohlberg called "moral musical chairs"), the solutionsderived from this process should be acceptable to all (Kohlberg et al., 1983). Further,the equilibrium of operations occurring at this structural stage has reached the idealand there is complete reversibility in perspective-taking abilities. As a result, thereshould be universal agreement among people who have reached Stage 6 in moraldevelopment assuming agreement on the "facts" of the conflict.From a philosophical perspective, Stage 6 has many features common to some ofthe normative ethical theories. Stage 6, as Kohlberg admitted, is distinctly Kantian inflavour with the emphasis on the principles of respect for persons and of justice.Furthermore, the Piagetian process of equilibrium seems naturally allied with theformalistic traditions of Kant (1785/1964) and Rawls (1971). Take, for instance, Rawls'reflective equilibrium: This involves the process of "tossing" "unpruned" justiceprinciples between intuition and imagined situations. That is, justice principles basedon intuition are applied to concrete situations for validation and then revision (Rawls,1971). The revised principles are then checked with intuition and revised accordingly.This procedure continues until the principles derived "fit" both one's intuition andimagined concrete situations. Once this state is reached, equilibrium is said to beestablished. As well, Rawls' "veil of ignorance" in the "original position" is amanifestation of the formalistic criteria of universalizability and impartiality. The veilof ignorance is suppose to exemplify the formalist idea of reversibility, which is a8property of the equilibrium state. To summarize the connection between psychologyand philosophy, Kohlberg (1981) wrote:Piaget's theory is explanatory of psychological; it explains(1) why justice is a compelling, obligatory, "natural" normand (2) why concepts of justice change, moving to greaterequilibrium. Rawls's theory is justificatory; it undertakes toprove that certain principles of justice held at Stage 6 (andimportant at Stage 5) are the ones that would be chosen ina condition of complete reflective equilibrium; that is, theones that would be chosen in the original position. (p. 201)By drawing parallels between Piaget's and Rawls' theory, Kohlberg does not mean toimply that Rawls' theory of justice should or will be accepted by philosophers as themost morally adequate. Instead, Kohlberg's psychological claim is that something likeRawls' principles of justice should be chosen at Stage 6 since they are "more reversible,"or in better equilibrium than justice principles used at previous stages.This summary of the psychological and philosophic traditions from whichKohlberg's theory has emerged is important for the reader to keep in mind, for thishistorical information acts as a marker indicating the road which Kohlberg has clearedinto the moral domain. It is this road which I have entered. However, while Kohlberg'sresearch has taken me a great distance, I believe it falls short of where research in themoral domain is currently at. Thus, I also have relied on the research of others workingin the Kohlbergian tradition to help me in the formulation of this study. Thepresentation of this research work is of considerable importance in understanding thesignificance of the present study.Empirical Work Using Kohlberg's TheoryIntellectual. Social Perspective-taking, and Moral Reasoning DevelopmentIn the preceding section, a discussion on the philosophical and psychologicaltraditions from whence Kohlberg's theory arose was presented. Of particular interest toKohlberg were the parallel features between cognitive-developmental psychology andformalistic philosophies. In this section, we shift our focus and examine the parallel9features across three content domains within the cognitive-developmental paradigm; (a)intellectual development (Piaget, 1956), (b) social perspective-taking development(Selman, 1980), and (c) moral reasoning development (Kohlberg, 1984).According to Kohlberg (1981), there is a parallelism, or isomorphism, betweenthe development of the forms of logical and moral judgments. That is, in order to attainthe next stage of moral judgment, one requires a new set of logical operations notpresent at the previous moral judgment stage. Unless the person possesses these newlogical operations, he or she cannot develop beyond his or her current moral judgmentstage. Thus, while it is possible that a person can be at a given logical stage and yet nothave reached the parallel moral stage, the reverse is not possible; a person cannot havereached the moral stage before the having attained parallel logical stage. Oneimplication of this is that "moral development is its own sequential process rather thanthe reflection of intellectual development in a slightly different content area" (pp. 137-138).In his attempt to explain the asymmetry between the level of logico-mathematical judgments and the level of moral judgments, Kohlberg (1981) raised theissue of social role-taking. According to Kohlberg, a great deal of variance in level ofmoral judgment after the intellectual variance is taken into account can be explained bysocial environmental factors. More specifically, Kohlberg interpreted these factors interms of the amount of opportunities the social environment provided for role-taking.Kohlberg saw these opportunities as important because he believed they stimulatedmoral development. That is, through role-taking people adopt views which may differfrom their own in dealing with moral situations. Therefore, moral development can beconsidered as "fundamentally a process of the restructuring of modes of role-taking"(Kohlberg, 1984, p. 74).In terms of role-taking opportunities, Kohlberg (1984) saw a sequence of groupsin which the developing child participates beginning with the family into which he or10she is born. However, Kohlberg did not consider this to be an extraordinary group interms of role-taking opportunities. On the other hand, as the child matures, he or shebecomes incorporated into a peer group which Piaget (1965) considered to be a uniquesource of role-taking opportunities. Finally, the third type of group refers to secondaryinstitutions such as law, government, school and work. Hence, Kohlberg argued thatgenerally it is the participation in all these various groups which help to stimulate thedevelopment of basic moral values.These claims of Kohlberg, that both intellectual and social perspective-takingstages precede the parallel moral stage, have been demonstrated (e.g., Walker, 1980).Walker showed that only those participants who had reached beginning formal substageof cognitive development, as measured by a set of Piagetian tasks (Piaget, 1924/1928,1941/1952; Inhelder & Piaget, 1955/1958; Piaget & Inhelder, 1941/1974), andperspective-taking Stage 3, as measured by Selman's perspective-taking interview(Selman & Byrne, 1973), were able to benefit from a program designed to stimulatemoral reasoning to Stage 3. However, participants who had not reached beginningformal operations and perspective-taking Stage 3 did not evidence moral reasoning atStage 3 even after undergoing the intervention condition. Walker concluded that hisfindings support Kohlberg's claim that both intellectual and perspective-takingdevelopment are necessary, though not sufficient, conditions for moral development.Cognitive ConflictIn addition to role-taking opportunities, Kohlberg (1984) considered anotherfactor important to the stimulation of moral development. This factor he labelledcognitive-moral conflict. Cognitive-moral conflict occurs when there becomes a senseof contradiction arising in the use of one's current moral stage structure. Ideally, thissense of contradiction triggers the movement of the person's moral structure to the nexthigher stage, provided the individual has attained the intellectual and socialperspective-taking prerequisites. Moreover, experiences of cognitive-moral conflict can1 1happen "either through exposure to decision situations that arouse internalcontradictions in one's moral reasoning structure or through exposure to the moralreasoning of significant others which is discrepant in content or structure from one'sown reasoning" (Kohlberg, 1984, pp. 202-203).The common technique in stimulating moral development as noted in theliterature is through exposing people to the moral reasoning of significant others whichsomehow differs from the participant's own reasoning. In Walker's (1980) study,participants in the experimental condition took part in an intervention program Thisprogram involved exposing children to Stage 3 moral reasoning, which was one-stageabove their current level. This exposure came in the form of role-playing moraldilemmas with two adults. "Each child was asked to imagine that he or she was thecentral character in each of six dilemma situations and then the adults provided advicesuggesting how to 'resolve' the dilemma and why" (Walker, 1980, p. 135). As has beenstated, only those children with the intellectual and perspective-taking prerequisitesbenefitted from this intervention program.Another study by Arbuthnot (1975) also incorporated a role-playingexperimental condition as a means to stimulate moral reasoning development. In thisstudy, college students role-played either a protagonist or an antagonist in a moraldilemma, and then tried to convince the other person that his or her own position wasmore justifiable. Arbuthnot found that the role-playing proved to be an effective meansof producing immediate and longer-term (1 week) increases in level of moral reasoningfor those participants who role-played opposite an opponent who employed higher-stage reasoning (i.e., higher than subjects' own stage). This change was not found in thegroup where both members were at the same moral reasoning level or in the controlgroup where members did not engage in role-playing, but rather engaged in asuperfluous task believed to have no influence on development. Based on this finding itseems that role-playing in these conflictual situations appears to be an effective method12of promoting moral development (presumably because of the positive influence role-playing has on one's perspective-taking abilities in morally conflictual situations).However, role-playing seemed to benefit only those who were at a lower stage of moralreasoning compared to their partners. This may be due to peers at higher stages ofmoral reasoning having already formed cognitive structures which are able toaccommodate both their own and their partner's perspectives which the mentalstructures of partners at lower stages are not yet able to do.A common feature to Arbuthnot's (1975) and Walker's (1980) studies is the useof moral discussions as an experimental context in which to stimulate moral reasoning.The rationale for the use of moral discussion in studies originated from Piaget(1932/1965). Piaget viewed discussions as a means to create cognitive conflict byhaving two or more discussants who hold incompatible opinions confront each other. Inorder to resolve their difference of opinions, each person is required to consider theother's perspective. Further, the more willing the person is to consider the other'sopinion, the more likely he or she will experience cognitive conflict (Berkowitz, Oser, &Althof, 1987). Therefore, moral discussion seems to be a reasonable method in whichto foster moral reasoning development.While it seems to be true that moral discourse is an effective context in which tocreate cognitive conflict, it is yet uncertain why exactly this is the case. Berkowitz andGibbs (1985) proposed numerous variables that may be operating through discussionsto promote moral reasoning development. Through reviewing a series of studies,Berkowitz and Gibbs identified many possible variables and classified them into twogeneral sets. In one set they placed the variables which focus on the processes involvedin moral discussions and their developmental effectiveness. This area of research hasreceived much attention. For instance, Berkowitz and Gibbs (1983) identifiedinteraction styles through analyzing the moral discussion process. In their study,Berkowitz and Gibbs instructed pairs of college students to discuss moral issues and13then try to reach agreement on these issues. These researchers then analyzed thediscussions by highlighting the occasions where "transactive discussions" took place. Atransactive discussion was broadly defined to occur when one of the individuals'reasoning interacts in any way with the reasoning of his or her partner during theirdiscussion. These transactive discussions were divided into two categories: (a)representational -- those discussion segments, or transacts, which simply elicit orparaphrase another's reasoning instead of transforming it, and (b) operational - thosestatements which transform or operate on the reasoning of the other person. Toanalyze their data, Berkowitz and Gibbs (1983) created a regression equation enteringthe following variables: "type of dyadic stage disparity on pretest scores (no disparity,minor disparity, or major disparity), percentage of total statements that wereoperational transacts, percentage of total statements that were representationaltransacts, and pretest score of the lower stage subjects in the dyad" (p. 407). By doingthis, Berkowitz and Gibbs (1983) were able to show that operational transacts were thebest predictor of moral stage increases, even better than match/mismatch stagedisparity between peer discussants (which was the second best predictor). Furthermore,they reported that there was very little shared variance between these two predictorvariables. As a result, the findings from this study seem to show that how people discussmoral conflicts is an important predictor of moral development regardless of whetherthere is some stage disparity between the interacting partners.The other category identified by Berkowitz and Gibbs (1985) is labelledperson/context variables, and includes "the stage(s) of moral reasoning,experimenter/teacher instructions, stage match/mismatch, discussant relationship,degree of disagreement on problem solutions, and so on" (p. 75). According toBerkowitz and Gibbs, all of these variables have been associated with thedevelopmental effectiveness of moral discussions. For example, Berkowitz, Gibbs, andBroughton (1980) reported the dyadic stage mismatch of people to be an effective14technique in moral discussions to facilitate lower-stage subjects' moral growth. That is,in discussion sessions, higher stage moral "reasoners" seem to facilitate the moraldevelopment of their lower-stage partners. Further, Berkowitz and Gibbs includeddiscussant relationships as another subset of variables. Of particular interest to thepresent study are parent-child relationships as well as those between friends. It is tothese two types of relationships I now turn.Moral Reasoning in the Context of Peer RelationsKohlberg (1984) claimed that relationships with peers are important in a child'smoral reasoning development. In these relationships, children are provided with manyopportunities to take the perspective of their peers in order to resolve moral conflictswhich may arise. Ideally, these role-taking opportunities create cognitive-moral conflictbetween a child's view of the situation and the peer's view. Numerous studies haveinvestigated the importance of role-taking opportunities in the context of peer relations.In addition to Arbuthnot (1975), Berkowitz, Gibbs and Broughton (1980), andBerkowitz and Gibbs (1983), there have been studies by Maitland and Goldman (1974),and Damon and Killen (1982) which have focused on moral reasoning development in apeer relation context. Damon and Killen, for instance, had children discuss moral-typeproblems under three different conditions. They discovered that children who activelyparticipated in resolving the actual problems with their peers scored higher in theirmoral reasoning level at post-test compared to the two control group conditions: (a)children who discussed a hypothetical problem with the experimenter, and (b) childrenwho received only the pre- and post-test. This finding supports Kohlberg's claim thatpeer relations are an important contributor to children's moral reasoning development.In addition, upon further investigation of the discussions between peers, Damonand Killen (1982) found that children who were initially at lower stages of moralreasoning and who later reached higher stages at post-test were involved in discussionswhere there was a "reciprocal quality of acceptance of transformation of one another's15ideas" (p. 365). These findings suggest that those children who had morally developedwere participating in two-way, collaborative interactions where an understanding oftheir partner's perspective was necessary. In contrast, no change in moral stage wasfound in children whose interactions were asymmetrical in nature (i.e., where one childcontributed more ideas while the other child accepted more ideas in order to resolvethe conflict). These interactions were described as not being reciprocal in naturebecause of the lack of co-construction toward a resolution of the conflict.Unfortunately, Damon and Killen were unable to specify an interaction stylecharacteristic of morally advanced children. Rather, these children were more varied intheir interaction styles than lower stage children. Further investigation of theinteraction between these "morally mature" children is warranted. Nevertheless, for"morally immature" children, Damon and Killen's results are consistent with those ofBerkowitz and Gibbs (1983) in demonstrating that interaction styles involving theexchange of ideas in order to resolve problems among peers are predictive of higherstages of moral reasoning than other styles. Thus, what seems to be important to moraldevelopment are both the opportunities and the desire to understand another'sperspective. Whether this occurs through procedures of confrontation (Arbuthnot,1975) or collaboration (Damon & Killen, 1982) may be dependent on the socialcontext, the experimental task, and the age of the members within the sample.The general results of the studies mentioned here strongly support the claim thatpeer relations provide children with perspective-taking opportunities important tomoral reasoning development. Moreover, the studies by Berkowitz and Gibbs (1983)and Damon and Killen (1982) suggest that how people interact with their peers whendiscussing moral issues is an important predictor of moral reasoning development.Hence, Kohlberg seems to have been right in emphasizing the importance of peerrelations. However, the focus of this study is on a subset of the peer group known asclose friends.16Moral Reasoning in the Context of FriendshipGiven that researchers have shown the significant impact peer interaction has onchildren's moral reasoning growth, it seems somewhat intuitive that interaction withfriends in particular may have a greater impact, and maybe even a different one, onchildren's moral reasoning development compared to interaction with strangers oracquaintances. In fact, there is evidence which suggests that there may be some truth tothis notion. For instance, Newcomb and Brady (1982) studied Grade 2 and Grade 6boys as they worked on a task together. There were two types of pair-groupings: Onegroup was comprised of mutual friends while the second group consisted ofacquaintances. Each pair was assigned to one of three task conditions: (a) cooperative(equally shared rewards), (b) competitive (proportional-to-work-accomplishedrewards), and (c) no rewards. These task sessions were videotaped to capture thecommunicative exchanges, affective expressions, task performance, and synchronism oftask-oriented behavior. In general, Newcomb and Brady reported that friendshipinteractions for both the second and sixth graders were characterized by greatermutuality than interaction between acquaintances. That is, compared to acquaintances,friends more frequently exchanged information through discussions, and were morelikely to offer mutually beneficial suggestions and to comply with each other'sdirectives. Furthermore, friends worked in conjunction with each other moreextensively than acquaintances. Thus, mutual exchanges were characteristic of boys'friendship in task-oriented interactions.As well, in a study by Berndt and Perry (1986), the researchers identified certaincharacteristics which were unique to friendships. They reported that children in Grades2, 4, 6, and 8 perceived their friends as more supportive than acquaintances. Includedin this label of support were such features as play or association, prosocial behavior,intimacy, loyalty, and attachment or self-esteem enhancement. Based on the resultsfrom this study, Newcomb and Brady's (1982) study, as well as other studies, Berndt17(1987) was able to draw a number of conclusions about the differences in the nature ofrelations between friends as compared to peers. First, the conversations betweenfriends are marked by a greater sense of mutuality than conversations between non-friend peers. That is, as Berndt reports, friends talk more, show more intimate self-disclosure, and explain their own view in a debate compared to non-friend peers.Second, in conversations, there is greater evidence of affect, both positive and negative,between friends as opposed to non-friend peers. In conversations, friends seem to smilemore, express more agreement and disagreement, and be more critical compared tonon-friend peers. Berndt interpreted the disagreements and criticisms between friendsas an indication of the honesty and openness in the friendship. Third, friends showevidence of greater concern with their equality in contrast to non-friend peers,particularly in situations were they are being compared in their performance. That is,Berndt reported that friends may try to achieve equality through sharing, helping, orcompeting with each other, depending on the situation. Therefore, Berndt's (1987)review has been important in highlighting some of the important differences betweenfriendships and peer relations. Moreover, Berndt suggests that since friends have more"connected conversations" where friends are more responsive to each other's requestand more often give an explanation of their own views than non-friends, discussionswith friends "may facilitate greater advances in moral reasoning than do non-friends'conversations" (p. 297). Interestingly, Kohlberg never distinguished between closefriend and peer relationships in terms of their influence on children's moral growth.Unfortunately, there has been a paucity of research directly investigating theimportance of friendships to moral reasoning development. One study linkingfriendship to moral reasoning was performed by Thoma and Ladewig (1991). Thomaand Ladewig assessed 156 college students' stage of moral reasoning. In addition, bygiving these students a questionnaire whereby they listed those people who providethem with social and emotional support, the researchers were able to divide the18students into two general groups: (a) students who had formed close friends in college,and (b) students who had not. Thoma and Ladewig found that moral reasoning scoreswere higher for those students in the close friendship group than students who were not.This was true independently of the students' college level (i.e., freshman, sophomore,junior, and senior). Furthermore, in the friendship group, there appeared to be apositive correlation between the stage of moral reasoning and the year the student wasenrolled: Upper-year students scored higher in moral reasoning compared to thelower-year students. Such an effect was not seen in the non-friendship group. As well,other variables such as gender, age, grade-point average, place of residence, gender ofclose friends, and number of friends listed were uncorrelated with moral reasoningscores. Hence, friendship through the college years seems to be related to moralreasoning development. However, the reason for the relationship between friendshipand stage of moral reasoning in this study is uncertain. One possible explanation is thathigher stage moral "reasoners" are attracted to each other which enables them toestablish close friendships. An alternative explanation is that friendships provide theforum where the individual is exposed to new ideas and interests which may challengehis or her own ideas, thereby producing cognitive conflict.The claim that friendships are important to moral reasoning growth hasgarnered further support from a second study by Thoma and Ladewig (1993). In thisstudy, Thoma and Ladewig isolated three friendship variables: "a) friendship density(i.e., the degree to which one's friends are also friends with one another); b) friendshipboundary density (i.e., the degree to which college and non-college friends representdistinct friendship networks), and c) perceived close college friend support" (Thoma &Ladewig, 1993, pp. 2-3). The results of the study show that moral reasoning scores werepositively correlated with social support which is consistent with Thoma and Ladewig's(1991) earlier findings. However, moral reasoning scores were negatively correlatedwith both friendship density and boundary density. That is, the less dense or complex19the network of friends the higher the moral reasoning score. Therefore, these studentswith less dense networks (where they have a greater proportion of friends who do notknow each other) may be exposed to a greater variety of perspectives on issues. Thismay be compared to those students who have friends who all know each other. In thissituation, there may be less of a variety of perspectives since the denser network offriends may share many perspectives in common. However, this is only one way tointerpret the results. Further studies are needed to determine the causal direction inwhich this relationship operates. As well, additional studies investigating age-relateddifferences in the importance of friendships to moral reasoning would also be ofinterest. Thoma and Ladewig studied college students only. Yet conceptions offriendship in late adolescence differ markedly from those in childhood (Berndt, 1981;Youniss, 1980). Nevertheless, Thoma and Ladewig's studies have been important inbringing to light the unique contribution close friends may provide to one's moralreasoning development.Moral Reasoning in the Context of the Parent-Child RelationshipAs mentioned, Kohlberg (1984) argued that peer interaction is important tomoral development because it requires that children understand other perspectiveswhen deciding what is best for the group. In contrast to peer interaction, Kohlbergclaimed that children's interaction within the family "is not unique or critically necessaryfor moral development.... [T]here is no evidence that the family is a uniquely necessarysetting for normal moral development" (p. 73). The reasoning behind Kohlberg's boldstatement is that in a family, most of the decisions are made unilaterally by parents withlittle input contributed by children. This is due to the asymmetry in the parent-childrelationship where parents hold most of the decision-making power. Since children donot have much say in the family decision-making process, it is not necessary for them tounderstand how other family members think about issues.20However, many researchers (Buck, Walsh, & Rothman, 1981; Hart, 1988;Holstein, 1972; Jurkovic & Prentice, 1974; Parikh, 1980) have challenged this belief.These and other studies have attempted to demonstrate the existence of a relationshipbetween parents' and children's stage of moral reasoning. Yet when Powers (1988) andWalker and Taylor (1991) considered all these studies, they reported that, at best, thereonly were modest and inconsistent correlations between children's stage of moralreasoning and that of their parents. Powers explained that these weak results may bedue to inadequacies in Kohlberg's moral judgment scoring system. Powers (1988)wrote: "One important problem in comparing results from these studies is that themajority were completed before the manual for the Standard Issue Scoring method(Colby & Kohlberg, 1987) was available" (p. 215). Alternatively, Walker and Taylorexplain these inconsistencies by suggesting that what may be important to a child'smoral development is not the parents' moral competence but their moral performance.That is, the manner in which parents interact with their children in discussing moraldilemmas may be crucial. So far, research seems to support this hypothesis. Forexample, Edwards (1980), in her review, reported studies which found positivecorrelations between moral judgment levels in children and parental affection andencouragement of discussion about morality. Edwards (1980) stated:Reading these studies, one gets a definite impression of thekind of parents believed most likely to have children at highmoral judgment stages. The most successful parents areexpected to be these verbal and overtly rational people whoencourage warm and close relations with children, and whopromote a "democratic" style of family life. That is, theyfoster discussions oriented towards a fair consideration ofeveryone's viewpoint. (p. 517)Further support for the importance of parental moral performance on children'smoral development comes from Powers (1982; in Powers, 1988). Using a transactclassification system similar to Berkowitz and Gibbs' (1983), Powers was able to identifyinteraction styles used in discussions of moral issues. Powers reported a positive21correlation between maternal affective support and adolescent level of moral judgment,and a negative correlation between a family's affective conflict and level of moraljudgment. Conflict in Powers' study refers to speeches which, for example, attackanother's reasoning or personality in a hostile or sarcastic fashion. Powers believed thatthese types of behavior may not be conducive to moral development since they maylead to an unwillingness to consider another point of view. In addition, none of Powers'parental behavior (performance) categories believed to be cognitively stimulating(focusing, challenging and sharing perspectives) were related to moral development asPowers hypothesized. Thus, Powers' results suggest that in a parent-child interaction,affectively stimulating behavior from parents is more important to adolescent moraldevelopment than is cognitively stimulating behavior.In an extension to Powers' study, Walker and Taylor (1991) investigated theimportance of parent-child interactions to the child's moral development. In theirstudy, Walker and Taylor video-taped and transcribed moral dilemma discussionsinvolving the mother, father, and child. These discussions were then coded using amodified version of Powers' Developmental Environments Coding System (DECS). Themodified DECS included the following categories:(1) operational (speeches that operate on the reasoning ofanother): critique, competitive request,counterconsideration, concession, clarification; (2)representational (speeches that elicit or re-present thereasoning of another): paraphrase, request, comprehensioncheck; (3) informative (speeches that entail; sharing ofopinions): opinion, competitive opinion, agreement,disagreement, request for change, intent for closure; (4)supportive (speeches that indicate positive affect andencouragement (including listening responses), humor; (5)cognitively interfering (speeches that interfere with sustainedand coherent discussion): distracting, refusal, devalue task,distortion; (6) conflictual (speeches that indicate negativeaffect): resist/threaten, hostility; and (7) miscellaneous:unclear, incomplete statements whose meaning could notbe discerned. (Walker & Taylor, 1991, p. 269)22The rationale behind revising the DECS was to separate Powers' transactive statements(speech which illustrates a family member coordinating another's moral perspectivewith his or her own) into operational and representational categories. The reason forthis distinction was because Walker and Taylor believed that one of these transactivestyles may be more important to children's moral reasoning development than theother, and Powers' system did not allow them to investigate this. By modifying Powers'coding system, Walker and Taylor found that families characterized as having a highlevel of moral reasoning disparity between the parents and the child, and high levels ofrepresentational and supportive interaction by parents predicted the greatest moraladvancement by their children over a 2-year period. Thus, parents who listen andencourage their child, who make the effort to ensure they understand their child'sopinion, and who help to create an affectively positive environment appear to havechildren who show greater moral development. In contrast, families with moderatemoral reasoning disparity and high levels of operational and informative parentaldiscussion styles predicted the least moral development. These findings are noteworthysince it was believed that an operational style of interaction would induce theintrapsychic conflict necessary to stimulate moral development. In addition, familieswith high moral reasoning disparity, high levels of informative, cognitively interferingparental discussion styles, and high levels of conflictual interactions also predicted littlemoral development. This result seems to suggest that family environments where thereis a direct conflictual and confrontational approach to discussing moral issues may notbe the most ideal in fostering children's moral development. As a result, this studyseems to demonstrate that parental behavior, in terms of discussion styles, seems to bean important contributor to the moral development of children. Further, Walker andTaylor's study adds to the growing body of research findings which suggests that parentsplay an influential role in their children's moral development and that a positiveaffective parental style of interaction may facilitate this development.23The Different Roles of Friends and ParentsIn the two previous sections, the research findings presented have shown thatparents and friends seem to have an important influence on children's moraldevelopment. In addition to these results, there has been evidence suggesting that bothparents and friends may play valuable, albeit different, roles in children's moraldevelopment. These results come from the social development literature which hasprovided illustrations of the unique importance of both parental relations andfriendships to children. A number of these studies are discussed below.In a study by Furman and Buhrmester (1985), the researchers obtained fifth- andsixth-grade children's perception of their relations with significant others. Thesechildren reported parents to be important sources of affection, enhancement of self-worth, a sense of reliable aid, and instrumental aid. Furthermore, mothers were seenby children to be more important for companionship than fathers, and girls reportedmore intimacy with mothers than fathers. Friends, on the other hand, were seen bychildren to be providers of companionship as well as intimacy. Moreover, girls reportedmore intimacy, affection, and enhancement of worth with their best friends compared toboys. Thus, children appear to view relations with friends quite differently thanrelations with parents.In another study, Buhrmester and Furman (1987) recorded children'sperceptions of their relations with significant others in three grades. They found thatthe second-, fifth-, and eighth-grade students reported that their same-sex friends wereimportant providers of companionship. However, relative to same-sex friends, ratingson companionship with parents were lower for second graders, equal for the fifthgraders, and lower for the eighth graders. As for intimacy ratings, there was a clear sexdifference. Girls' intimacy ratings for parents were significantly higher in Grade 2,equal in Grade 5, and significantly lower in Grade 8 compared to the ratings for same-sex friends. Boys' intimacy ratings for parents were equal in Grade 2, significantly24higher in Grade 5, and equal in Grade 8 relative to same-sex friends. Again, theseresults suggest that children perceive their relations with parents as qualitativelydifferent than those with same-sex friends.In addition to Furman and Buhrmester, Youniss (1980; Youniss & Smollar,1985) has devoted much research effort investigating differences in children's relationswith parents and friends. In his first book, Youniss (1980) was able to paint the twosocial worlds, adult and peer relations, in which children are involved by asking them todescribe their interactions with their friends and parents. Youniss found that in child-adult relations, adults are perceived by children as having unilateral authority. As aresult, children tend to conform to the requests made by adults. However, as childrenapproach adolescence, they begin to see adults less as authority figures and more aspeople with their own assets and shortcomings similar to themselves. This reflectschildren's movement towards a position of equality between them and adults whereboth are free to take initiatives, and where both can provide help when the other is inneed.In contrast, the developmental course which peer relations follows is differentthan that of adult relations. At the age of 8 years, children understand peer relations asthe pragmatic practice of equality and direct reciprocity. Direct reciprocity is seen inconcrete terms as the sharing or exchange of skills or tangible objects. At around theage of 9 years, children appear to have a different understanding of reciprocity. First,there is an emerging understanding of cooperation as an important principle in theprocess of reciprocity, and thus, important in friendship formation and maintenance.Second, there is a growing awareness of friends being psychologically different fromoneself. Children described their friends "as being in separate psychological states andas making adjustments to their states. Actions subsequently taken appeared to bedirected toward achieving equality or equity between the states" (Youniss, 1980, p. 230).During early adolescence, the principle of equity is expanded to take into account25similar personalities and shared identity. As well, the understanding of cooperation iselaborated to include the openness of coming to one another and revealing problemsand admitting difficulties. The outcome of subscribing to these principles of directreciprocity is the establishment of enduring intimate relationships.To further explore the nature of adolescent relations with parents and friends,Youniss, along with Smollar, performed an additional series of studies. In these studies,Youniss and Smollar (1985) interviewed adolescents asking them to describe theirrelations with their mothers, fathers, and same-sex close friends. Youniss and Smollardiscovered that adolescent daughters perceived their fathers to be authority figures whoprovided advice on practical matters as well as guidelines on how their daughtersshould behave. In general, the contact between the daughter and father was infrequent,and when it did occur it usually lacked intimacy, understanding, and acceptance.Mothers also were considered authority figures. However, unlike with fathers,daughters confided in, fought with, and disobeyed their mothers more frequently.Further, the mother-daughter relationship was perceived as meeting each other'semotional and material needs. Therefore, relations with mothers was seen as moremutually equitable than with fathers.Sons, on the other hand, saw their father as a person with whom they sharedrecreational or work activities, and discussed objective issues or practical problems.This relationship was perceived to be unilateral in that the father met the materialneeds of the son, while the son reciprocated by being obedient to and respectful of thefather. Thus, the relationship can be described as distant but respectful. However,sons' relations with mothers were closer than their relations with fathers in terms ofopenness and confidence. Sons tended to tell their mothers about their activities andabout the problems they were having. Nevertheless, the mother was still considered therule-maker who demanded respect and obedience. Hence, mothers appeared to be26more open in their relations with their sons while still maintaining some unilateralauthority.The majority of female relations with same-sex close friends can becharacterized by shared activities, mutual intimacy, mutual understanding, acceptanceof respect for differences of opinions, and a perception of self as relaxed, open, natural,outgoing, accepted, and accepting. This also applied to about 40% to 45% of the malesame-sex friendships. However, for another 30% of male friendships, thischaracterization did not apply. For this subgroup, close friends were characterized byshared activities that involved a sense of guardedness in communication rather thanintimacy, intolerance rather than acceptance and respect, and non-understanding ratherthan mutual understanding. Moreover, this subgroup of young men could involvethemselves in only a limited range of discussion topics when interacting with theirfriends, and were more likely to see themselves in close friendships as criticized,distrustful, insensitive, and selfish, than as open, relaxed, and accepting.The studies by Furman and Buhrmester (1985; Buhrmester & Furman, 1987)and Youniss (1980; Youniss & Smollar, 1985) have been important in demonstratingthat children perceive their relations with friends quite differently than their relationswith parents. They also show that there are clear differences in how females, comparedto males, view their relations with parents and friends. The fact that children perceivefriends and parents in two distinct "lights" may lead one to suspect that children willbehave differently when interacting with a parent as opposed to a friend. There hasbeen some evidence suggesting that, in fact, this may be the case. For instance, Kruger(1992) had "focal" girls (mean age = 8.6 years) undergo an intervention designed tostimulate moral growth. In this intervention program, the focal girls discussed moralconflicts with either a same-sex friend or with their mother. In addition to the pre- andpost-test measures that monitored changes in moral reasoning, Kruger observed andcategorized the girls' styles of interaction with parents and friends, and related these27styles to the girls' level of moral reasoning at post-test. While at pretest there was nodifference in level of moral reasoning between the focal girls with a friend versus thosewith their mother, upon post-test a difference was evident. Focal girls with a friendwere reasoning at a higher level on the post-test measure given immediately followingthe discussion compared to focal girls with their mothers. There was no difference inlevel of reasoning between pre- and post-test for the girls who interacted with theirmothers. Furthermore, in trying to predict level of moral reasoning based on dyadicstyles of interaction, Kruger reported that the Leadership Style in peer interaction wasone of two best predictors of post-test reasoning: "Leadership Style features the focal'sspontaneous control of the interaction by way of questioning and passive compliance bythe partner" (p. 204). The Egalitarian Style in the mother-daughter interactions was theother best predictor of post-test reasoning: "Egalitarian Style represents the focal'sactive and spontaneous collaboration with the partner in the transactive dialogue, ...[and] features the focal's and partner's equal status" (p. 204). One interpretation of thefindings is that the girls who felt comfortable enough to express their critical thoughts inan uninhibited fashion may be the common denominator underlying moraldevelopment in both social situations. For instance, in the cases where the "uninhibitedtypes" were interacting with their mothers, they may have considered themselves asequals in trying to resolve the conflict, with both mother and daughter "speaking theirmind." On the other hand, when these same type of girls were interacting with theirpeers, they may have taken greater responsibility and control of the situation relative totheir friends. That is, compared to these girls, the friends may have felt less able toopenly criticize ideas and to feel comfortable in taking control of the situation. As well,the reason why the egalitarian style was not predictive of higher stages of moralreasoning in peer interaction may be because most of the girls in Kruger's sample feltuncomfortable in expressing their thoughts or in taking control, and that the uninhibitedtypes may have been the exception rather than the norm. Whether this interpretation28of Kruger's findings is accurate is uncertain, and further scrutiny of her data would behelpful.There are caveats to Kruger's study which need to be mentioned. First, togeneralize the results to all children would be inappropriate since only girls from asingle age group (7 - 10 years) were included in the sample. Second, Kruger did notemploy the appropriate experimental control groups to determine whether the mereexposure to additional moral problems would promote development independent ofany discussion with a partner. As well, a general control group that received only thepre- and post-tests should have been included in order to determine whether higherreasoning on the post-test would have occurred regardless of exposure to additionalmoral issues. These points are important because by including the proper controlgroups alternative interpretations of Kruger's results may have been eliminated. Forexample, if the changes in level of moral reasoning take place independently of anyinteraction with partners, Kruger's findings could be interpreted to mean that whileinteraction with friends may not contribute anything unique to increasing level ofreasoning, interaction with mothers may act to prevent moral reasoning growth.Despite the flaws in Kruger's study, her findings do suggest that there are importantdifferences in how children interact with parents compared to friends, and that thesedifferences may be important in understanding variability in children's level of moralreasoning.Thus far, a major focus of this paper has been on understanding the importanceof relationships on children's moral reasoning development. However, there is anotherarea of human functioning that may be important to consider in order to further ourunderstanding of moral reasoning development. This area is known as ego functioning(Haan, 1977), or adaptational styles (Hart, 1992; Vaillant, 1977). Like moral reasoningdevelopment, there is a history behind this concept of ego functioning. Knowledge of29this history may be of benefit to the reader, and so I temporarily retreat from the moralfrontiers to present a brief discussion on ego functioning.Ego FunctioningThe historical roots of the study of ego functioning can be traced to Freud'sconcept of a defense mechanism (1894/1962). For Freud, the function of defensemechanisms was to keep conflicting thoughts or feelings out of awareness. Moreover,Freud described five important properties of defense mechanisms:a) Defenses were major means of managing instinct andaffect; b) they were unconscious; c) they were discrete fromone another; d) although often the hallmarks of majorpsychiatric syndromes, defenses were reversible; and,finally, e) defenses could be adaptive as well aspathological. (Vaillant, 1986, pp. viii-ix)However, while Freud introduced and explained defense mechanisms and some of theirproperties, he provided no empirical evidence of their existence (Paulhus, Fridhandler,& Hayes, in press). This evidence would come later.The seed planted by Freud a century ago has produced many studies on defensemechanisms with research branches growing in a number of theoretical directions (seePaulhus et al., in press). One of these branches represents the work of Norma Haan(1977; Haan, Aerts, & Cooper, 1985). In terms of the importance of this branch,Paulhus et al. wrote: "The work of Norma Haan has had the single strongest influenceon contemporary work--both on defense mechanisms and coping" (p. 15).As Paulhus et al. (in press) have demonstrated, researchers hold strikinglydifferent conceptions of the nature of defense mechanisms. In her writing, Haan (1977)redefines defense mechanisms into the term ego functioning. Ego functioning refers tothe processes people use to solve life problems and to achieve a better understanding ofwho they are as "persons". These processes help people organize their lives in order tocreate a sense of self-consistency. The reason for investigating ego functioning in thepresent study is derived, in part, from Haan's belief that understanding individuals' ego30functioning may be important in explaining some of the variability across people instage of moral reasoning.Haan's interest in ego functioning is the result of her dissatisfaction with both thepsychoanalytic tradition and the cognitive-developmental paradigm in explainingdevelopment.From one viewpoint, the Freudian system is oversold on theomnipresence and centrality of pathological functioning butundersold on the importance of rational determination ineveryday life. The Piagetian system is oversold on theomnipresence of rationality and undersold on the facilewillingness of people to twist, bend, and forego rationalitywhen it suits them. (Haan, 1977, p. 6)As a result of this dissatisfaction, Haan sought to establish a middle ground that wouldintegrate these two different theoretical perspectives. She was able to accomplish thisthrough her model of ego processes.Haan stated that there are many ego processes people may use in dealing witheveryday life situations. However, in order to make some sense of all of them, Haancreated a taxonomy with three general modes of which two, coping and defending, willbe discussed. Haan drew a clear distinction between coping and defending egoprocesses. She believed that coping ego processes are normative in that peopleregularly employ them in everyday situations. The use of coping ego processes isconsidered important to an individual's moral development because they "permit" theassimilation and accommodation of new information which may be critical to thisdevelopment (Haan, 1977). However, under stressful circumstances a person mayperceive these situations as threats to his or her sense of self-consistency. In order todeal with these threatening events, the person may employ non-normative defensiveego processes in order to endure the stressful situation. Defensive processes operate byintervening between a person's moral competence and his or her moral performanceand distorting, but not destroying, his or her moral stage achievement. Hence, throughthis model, Haan believed that she would be able to maintain the Piagetian insistence31that structures are irreversible in development, and are directly expressed in action,while preserving the Freudian insistence that defensive actions are typically used bypeople when a threatening situation warrants.In addition to the general distinction between coping and defending, Haanspecifically described 10 ego processes of defense and 10 ego processes of coping, witheach defense process having a coping counterpart (see Appendix B). Haan furthergrouped the 20 ego processes into four categories according to their general function:(1) Cognitive processes generally represent the instrumental aspects of one's problem-solving efforts and involve the accommodation of other perspectives; (2) Intraceptive-reflexive processes reflect a person's effort to assimilate his or her thoughts, feelings, andintuitions; (3) Attention-focusing processes describe the effort to be aware of and tofocus on important problems; and (4) Affective-impulse Regulating processes describeefforts to transform primitive feelings and emotions into forms which areaccommodating to the social context. One example of a coping ego process under thecognitive function is Objectivity. People using this process are able to separate ideasfrom feelings, and ideas from each other in order to achieve objective evaluations whenthe situation warrants it. Isolation, on the other hand, is the counter-part defensive egoprocess under the cognitive function. People using this process are unable to relatetheir feelings with their ideas, and unable to link their ideas together.There has been a small body of research investigating the relationship betweendefense mechanisms and cognitive and social circumstances. However, one should notethat most of this work has been carried out by researchers working outside Haan's egofunctioning paradigm. Nevertheless, the findings of these studies are helpful in thegeneral understanding of the nature of defense mechanisms as it relates to this study.Defense Mechanisms and Cognitive AbilitiesOne of the few studies relating defense mechanisms to cognitive abilities wasconducted by Chandler, Paget, and Koch (1978). These researchers attempted to32explore the "relationships between children's developing cognitive abilities and theirsuccess or failure in interpreting and explaining various mechanisms of psychologicaldefense" (p. 197). They began by explaining that "affective interchanges" peopleexperience in life are comprised of three elements forming a subject-affect-objectcomplex: "An author or subject (S) initiates an impulse or affect (A) towards aparticular target or object (0)" (p. 198). During stressful circumstances, defensemechanisms operate by transforming this complex in three ways. One way is totransform any single element in the S-A-O complex into its logical inverse. Twodefense mechanisms which do this simple inverse are repression and denial.Repression focuses on the affect element. An example of repression consists of thefollowing transformation: "'I feel anger towards you' to the alternate 'I don't feel angerat all'" (p. 199). Denial, on the other hand, focuses on the object element. An exampleof denial involves transforming the initial statement "I feel anger towards you" to "I feelanger, but not at you." The second form of transformation involves substituting anysingle element with its reciprocal and the end result being the neutralization of thatelement. Four defense mechanisms which fall into this form are rationalization,displacement, turning against the self, and reaction formation. The first threemechanisms substitute the object term with some more acceptable alternative.Reaction formation, on the other hand, substitutes the affective element with somemore supportable alternative. Finally, the third form involves the whole complex asopposed to an individual element. This operation "focuses on more encompassing oroverarching joint propositional statements which combine into a single superordinateunit the separate elements previously considered" (p. 199). Two defense mechanismswhich involve operating on two or more elements are projection and introjection. Anexample of projection would be when "I am angry at you" is transformed to "You areangry at me." In the case of introjection, "You are angry at me" is changed to "I amangry at you."33Chandler et al. (1978) hypothesized that since simple inverses and reciprocalsinvolve reversibility in thought children who have attained concrete operationalthinking will have little trouble understanding these two types of defense mechanisms.Further, since children employ inverse before reciprocal operations (Piaget, 1970),Chandler et al. proposed that children's understanding of mechanisms using inverseoperations would precede those using reciprocal operations. And in order tounderstand the more complex mechanisms like projection and introjection, Chandler etal. argued that formal operational thought is a necessary prerequisite.Formal operational reasoning ... is assumed by Piaget toentail a propositional form of logic which operates onmetastatements or second-order propositions aboutelementary propositions and allows a kind of reversibility ofthought which incorporates the flexibilities of both simpleinverse and reciprocal operations. (Chandler et al., p. 200)The findings Chandler et al. report support their hypotheses. That is,preoperational children were unable to understand the defense mechanisms presentedin this study. Concrete operational children were able to understand those mechanismsusing simple inverse and reciprocal transformations, and had an easier time with theformer compared to the latter. However, concrete operational children were generallyunable to understand the more complex mechanisms which formal operational childrenwere able to understand. Thus, these results suggest that children's understanding ofpsychological defenses is dependent, in part, on their level of cognitive development.Defense Mechanisms and Social Perspective-taking AbilitiesIn addition to cognitive abilities, there is some evidence that children'sperspective-taking abilities relate to their use of defense mechanisms. This evidencecomes from a study by Dollinger and McGuire (1981). These researchers separatedchildren into three age groups (youngest, mean age = 6-4; intermediate, mean age = 8-6; oldest, mean age = 11-7). All the children were presented with stories of academicand social conflict. These stories depicted children using the defense mechanisms of34repression, denial, displacement, projection, rationalization, somatization, and self-blame (turning against self). After the story was read, children were asked to explainwhy the story character acted the way he or she did. Children's responses wererecorded and scored for their understanding of the stories. In addition, children weregiven a social perspective-taking measure designed by Chandler (1973). This measureinvolved children having to look at a related sequence of cartoon pictures and tell astory as the pictures were presented. Once this was done, one or two "significant"pictures were removed from the series, and, in a modification of the standardprocedure, a puppet was put in place of these pictures. The children were then asked toretell the story from the puppet's perspective with the significant pictures missing.Children's responses were scored based on the egocentric intrusions the children made.Egocentric intrusions consisted of the attribution of privileged information (informationknown to the children) to the puppet.The results of this study showed that of the low egocentric children, a majority(75%) of them had few failures in defense understanding. However, approximately half(47%) of those children who were moderately egocentric and none (0%) of the veryegocentric children passed the understanding-of-defense criterion. Hence, Dollingerand McGuire's findings suggest that the reason why children have a difficult timeexplaining another's hidden or covert motives is related, in part, to the difficulty theyhave in taking another child's perspective in conflicts.Defense Mechanisms and GenderAs well as focusing on the relationship between defense mechanisms andcognitive and social perspective-taking abilities, there have been a few studies whichhave looked at gender differences in the use of defense mechanisms (see Cramer,1979). These studies have reported that when choosing defense mechanisms, male andfemale adults differ. Adult males score higher on the mechanisms turning against theobject and projection, whereas females score higher on turning against the self. There35has also been a tendency for females to score higher on reversal, which includesnegation, denial, reaction formation and repression, and principalization, whichincludes intellectualization and rationalization. According to Cramer (1979), "thesefindings support Erikson's (1964) position that males are psychologically orientedtoward the external world, whereas females are oriented internally" (p. 476).In Cramer's (1979) study, she focused her attention on the defense mechanismsof adolescents. Her subjects comprised two age groups, Grade 9-10, and Grade 11-12students. To assess the functioning of their defense mechanisms, students were givenGleser and Ihilevich's (1969) Defense Mechanism Inventory (DMI). After analyzing thedata, Cramer found that turning against the object and projection were chosensignificantly more often by males compared to females. Turning against the self andprincipalization, on the contrary, were chosen significantly more often by females thanmales. Moreover, planned comparisons of the simple interaction effects within eachage group show that the Sex by Defense interaction was stronger in the older groupthan in the younger group. Cramer interpreted these findings as suggesting that theexternalizing of conflict for males and the internalizing of conflicts for females beginsometime prior to early adolescence.Defense Mechanisms and Social CircumstancesIn addition to gender differences in the operation of defense mechanisms, thereis some evidence that in different social circumstances children exhibit the use ofdifferent defense mechanisms. This evidence comes from Cramer (1983), who studiedchildren's defense mechanisms through their responses to videotaped vignettesdepicting unpleasant child-related situations. In this study, children in two age groups(Grades 1-2, and Grades 4-5) were asked to watch four peer situations and four adult-child situations. Upon completion of the video presentations, the experimenterexplained to the children that the ending of the movie had not been portrayed, andwere then asked what they would do in a situation like the one that was presented.36Children's responses were recorded and scored for the defensive or coping nature of thereaction. In addition to the open-ended question, the experimenter gave each of thechildren four possible endings to the movie, and then asked each child to select the onethey would do if they were the character in the video. The four possible endingsrepresented one of four defense responses: turning against the object, turning againstself, projection, and reversal.In support of previous findings, Cramer (1983) reported that the younger boyschose turning against the object significantly more often than did girls, while theyounger girls chose reversal significantly more often than boys. Since both of thesedefenses are logically simple, Cramer's results are consistent with those of Chandler etal. (1978). As well, the findings offer some evidence that boys became externallyoriented, while girls internally oriented. However, gender-related differences did notemerge for the older group. Moreover, in terms of differences between the two agegroups, little was found. It seems that the more complex mechanisms have not fullydeveloped by Grades 4 and 5. This is supported by the fact that the complexmechanisms of projection and turning against the self are not found in the responserepertoire of the older children in this study.Another set of findings in Cramer's (1983) study that is of interest was thatchildren seem to make different defense choices in unpleasant situations involvingpeers compared to those situations involving adults. While reversal is the mechanism ofchoice in adult-child situations, turning against the object, turning against the self, andprojection are chosen more often in peer situations. Moreover, the most frequentcoping response recorded from the open-ended question to the peer situation was tonegotiate the problem. In the adult situation, children's coping response wasacquiescence to the adult's position. Thus, when faced with a conflict involving a larger,more powerful parental figure on whom the child is dependent, it may be moreadaptive for children to give up their wishes. And in order to prevent unpleasant37feelings of doing this, they adapt by using the mechanism of reversal to change theirmental thoughts. On the other hand, when conflicts with peers arise, children need notabandon their wishes or feelings. Instead, they may feel free to "express these directly(turning against the object), or may misrepresent the agent (as in projection) or theobject (as in turning against the self) of the negative feeling" (Cramer, 1983, p. 93).Hence, from these studies, one obtains a better understanding of the relationshipbetween such variables as cognitive and social perspective-taking abilities, gender, andsocial circumstances and the use of particular defense mechanisms. This informationwill prove to be helpful in the formulation of hypotheses for the present study. Yetbefore these hypotheses are laid out a final discussion remains. In the followingsection, we return to the moral frontier armed with our knowledge of defensemechanisms and ego functioning. The hope of this study is to use this knowledge inorder to further our understanding of children's moral reasoning development.Ego Functioning and Moral ReasoningMuch of the research investigating the relationship between ego functioning andmoral reasoning has been carried out by Haan (1977; Haan, Aerts, & Cooper, 1985).Haan's work is important because of its potential of making a unique contribution toour understanding of moral development. While Kohlberg's (Kohlberg et al., 1983)model emphasizes the importance of cognition and rationality to the moral domain,Haan's model attempts to explore beyond rationality by including other significantfactors, such as emotions and possible psychopathologies, which are wrapped in anindividual's ego functioning, or adaptational style as Hart (1992) labelled it. Thispersonality variable of ego functioning may be an important influence on the moralreasoning process. Certain ego processes may lead some children to reason morally athigher levels. Generally speaking, Haan (1977) believed that coping processes wouldallow people to reason at their level of competence. On the other hand, there may besome ego processes which lead children to reason at lower levels. Haan generally38thought that defending processes would impede people from reasoning at theircompetence level. To determine the validity of her beliefs, a number of studies havebeen conducted.These studies which have investigated the connection between children's egofunctioning and their moral reasoning, at first sight, provide no clear consensus on thenature of this relationship. Haan, Stroud, and Holstein (1973), for example, comparedstages of moral reasoning and ego functioning based on extensive psychiatric interviewsof "hippies." Haan et al. reported that there was a positive correlation between moralstages and several coping processes. Those processes most positively associated withmoral stage included objectivity, intellectuality, logical analysis, and concentration. Inaddition, the intraceptive coping functions were positively correlated with stage ofmoral reasoning, but to a lesser extent. Defensive functions, however, wereindependent of stage of moral reasoning.In another study, Haan (1977) had 47-year-old adults -- subjects and spouses --complete a series of measures to obtain the following information: IQ, SES, cognitivestage, moral stage, and ego functioning score. In predicting moral stage, theresearchers formed a regression equation. They reported that neither IQ, SES, orcognitive level made a significant contribution. Ego functioning, on the other hand, didmake a significant contribution. Specifically, denial and intellectualizing made positivecontributions to predicting moral stage scores, whereas repressiveness made a negativeone. In explaining these findings in light of Haan et al.'s (1973) study, Haan (1977)states that, when "general factors" such as SES and IQ are not controlled, copingfunctions appear to be positively correlated with level of moral reasoning. When thesegeneral factors are controlled people who reach higher levels of moral reasoning seemto engage in the defending processes of denial and intellectualization which suggeststhat these people are socially and emotionally "illiterate" to some degree.39Hart and Chmiel (1992), on the other hand, reported results which differ fromthose of Haan (1977). In their study, Hart and Chmiel utilized Kohlberg's data from hislongitudinal study involving boys and men (Colby, Kohlberg, Gibbs, & Lieberman,1983). In re-analyzing the data, Hart and Chmiel reported that adolescent egofunctioning is related to concurrently measured stage of moral reasoning as well asstage of moral reasoning in adulthood. When stage of moral reasoning in adolescenceis controlled, Hart and Chmiel found that a significant amount of variance in stage ofmoral reasoning in adulthood is accounted for by ego functioning in adolescence.Further, in cross-lagged correlations between adolescents' ego functioning and theirstage of moral reasoning in adulthood, the researchers report that these correlations areconsistently higher than the cross-lagged correlations between adolescents' stage ofmoral reasoning and their ego functioning in adulthood. This infers a causal linkbetween ego functioning in adolescence and stage of moral reasoning in adulthood. Interms of the importance of specific ego processes, while adolescent coping processesfrom all four of Haan's (1977) ego function groupings generally were predictive ofhigher stages of moral reasoning compared to defending processes, in particularobjectivity and intellectuality were positively associated, whereas isolation, regression,rationalization, and denial were negatively associated with moral reasoningadvancement. Finally, Hart and Chmiel created a regression equation to predict adultmoral reasoning development based on the following variables: adolescents' egofunctioning, IQ, and stage of moral reasoning. They discovered that stage of moralreasoning in adulthood (age range 24 - 34) was predicted by adolescents' stage of moralreasoning, IQ, and ego functioning. Furthermore, stage of moral reasoning for adultsat ages 32 - 34 years was best predicted from their ego functioning in adolescence aswell as their IQ. Stage of moral reasoning in adolescence, however, did not significantlyimprove this prediction.40Hart and Chmiel's (1992) findings are important because they suggest that theego processes people employ may determine, in part, how they develop morally. Inaddition, these results indicate that some coping processes, or "mature processes" asthese authors label them, may facilitate moral development while some defendingprocesses, or "immature processes", may impede it. Therefore, defensive processesmay not only intervene between a person's moral competence and performance in aparticular situation by distorting his or her moral stage achievement as Haan (1977)claimed, but constant use of these defensive processes across situations may impede thestructural development taking place. Likewise, as well as allowing the individual toreason at his or her competence level in specific situations, regular use of copingprocesses across situations may act to facilitate moral reasoning development. Thesepoints are elaborated by Hart and Chmiel:Adaptational styles are likely to influence moral judgmentby regulating the extent to which individuals are (1)sensitive to the weaknesses of their own moral principles,and therefore experience cognitive disequilibrium, and (2)capable of understanding, and being empathic to, theperspective of others. It seems clear that individuals whoare using mature adaptational styles will be more likelythan those who rely heavily on immature ones to developsophisticated moral judgment. (pp. 173-174)An additional study by Haan (1978) seems to support Hart and Chmiel's (1992)findings. In this project, Haan had a sample of adolescents ranging in age from 12 to 17years from which six friendship groups were formed. These participants were pretestedfirst to obtain an assessment of their moral stage of reasoning based on Kohlberg's(1984) work. This was followed by an intervention which involved the participantsengaging in five group sessions of games and simulations which involved moral issues.These sessions involved different tasks and these tasks varied in the general amount ofstress produced within the participants. For instance, in one session, participants playedthe game "NeoPD":41Two subgroups were constituted to play a version ofPrisoner's Dilemma for a penny a point, with eachsubgroup's final earnings being equally divided among itsmembers. After the first three blocks of trials, negotiationsbetween representatives of each subgroup began. Theoscillations between competition and cooperation usuallyfound in Prisoner's Dilemma occurred. (Haan, 1978, p. 292)Another game called "BaFa" involved randomly dividing the group into two subgroupseach subgroup representing different cultures:Each culture privately practiced its designated mode ofcommunication and expressed its underlying values; oneculture was egalitarian, but highly competitive, whereas theother was sexist, but noncompetitive. Each cultureobserved the other; then the players visited the oppositeculture one at a time and attempted to participate in it withvarying degrees of help from their hosts. After all hadvisited, the entire group discussed the meanings and worthof each culture, the 'cultural shock' they felt when theyvisited, and so on. (Haan, 1978, p. 292)Upon termination of these group sessions, the participants were tested again 1 and 4weeks later. Results suggested that, compared to a control group which received onlypre- and post-test, subjects in the experimental group experienced significantadvancements in stage of moral reasoning 1 and 4 weeks after termination of thesessions. As well, through a factor analysis procedure, Haan was able to specify 14factors underlying the ego processes. When ego factor scores were averaged acrossgroup sessions, objectivity and cognitive coping factors contributed positively to theregression equation predicting stage of moral reasoning at the first post-test. Pretestscores of stage of moral reasoning also explained a significant amount of the variance inpost-test scores. Hence, Haan has shown in this study that cognitive coping processesseem to be an important predictor of post-test moral reasoning scores.The results of Haan's (1973, 1978) and Hart and Chmiel's (1992) studies clearlyillustrate the importance of cognitive coping processes to moral development. YetHaan's (1977) study seems to suggest that the defending processes of denial andintellectualization positively correlate with stage of moral reasoning. Why thisdiscrepancy exists is uncertain. One explanation could be due to differences in the42situational context between the studies. Situational factors have been shown to be animportant influence on both the stage of moral reasoning obtained as well as the egoprocesses used. In Haan's (1978) study, for instance, in addition to forming regressionequations with post-test scores as the dependent variable, Haan created regressionequations for each of the individual group sessions. The dependent variable in theseequations was individuals' stage of moral reasoning which was scored based onindividuals' responses in each of the group sessions. Haan reported that there was ahigh degree of variability in level of moral reasoning across the five sessions. Forexample, moral reasoning scores were significantly higher in the BaFa conditioncompared to the NeoPD condition. Thus, production of moral reasoning seems to varywith the nature of the situation. Moreover, which ego factor contributed significantly toeach of the five regression equations also differed. For example, in the conflictualNeoPD session, defensive doubting, cognitive coping, interpersonal accuracy, and notdenying factors contributed to the regression equation. In contrast, in the BaFa session,affective regulation, suppression, interpersonal logic, and cognitive empathy factorscontributed positively to the regression equation. Hence, different patterns of egoprocesses seemed to coordinate levels of moral reasoning in different situations.Similar findings were reported in another study by Haan (1986).Haan's (1978) study has been important in illustrating how specific ego processesused in particular situations can predict moral stage scores obtained from responsesmade within that situation. Further, Haan has shown that when ego processes areaveraged across situations, the use of cognitive coping processes are predictive of post-test moral stage scores. However, what remains uncertain is whether the people withwhom individuals interact in discussion or game situations influence the ego processesthat individual employs, and whether these selected ego processes relate to stage ofmoral reasoning in some way. Recall that in Haan's study, she had groups consisting offriends. Yet there is evidence (Cramer, 1983) suggesting that individuals would react43differently if the group members were unfamiliar peers, unfamiliar adults, or familymembers. Further, as has been shown, there is a substantial body of evidence whichsuggests that interaction with both friends and parents are important contributors to achild's moral reasoning development. Given the moral importance of these people, itseems possible that how children interact with them may be a good predictor of thechildren's moral reasoning level. For instance, if children use predominantly defendingego processes in their interaction styles with friends and family, they may be more likelyto reason morally at lower levels compared to children who use predominantly copingprocesses. As a result, the present study was conceived in order to investigate this issue.In particular, this study attempts to investigate whether children's ego functioning inmoral discussions with parents and friends can be used to predict children's stage ofmoral reasoning based on Kohlberg's Moral Judgment Interview (MB). One reason whyindividual interviews are used to obtain data for scoring moral stage is becauseKohlberg's individual interview is the standard measure of moral reasoningcompetence. Another reason is because the use of these interviews to obtain moralstage scores allows these scores and ego functioning scores to be obtained fromseparate data sources. Ego functioning scores are obtained from observing dyadicinteractions between target children and their partners. This is done to prevent theclaim that relations between level of moral reasoning and ego functioning may havebeen artificially produced since the two variables may be tapping the same underlyingfactor within the same data.The Present StudyTo investigate the relationship between children's ego functioning and theirstage of moral reasoning, the following study was conducted. In this study, participants'ego functioning was observed in two social contexts: parent-child and friend-childinteractions. Further, participants from two grades (Grade 5 and 10) were included inthis study in order to assess age differences. In each interaction, the two partners44discussed one hypothetical moral dilemma as well as two real-life moral conflictsinvolving the two partners. To generate these real-life conflicts, each person revealed amoral conflict they were having or have had with their partner. In light of thetheoretical and empirical literature presented, some preliminary predictions are maderegarding how the variables of social context, age, gender, and ego functioning relate.These predictions are followed by the main prediction involving the relationshipbetween moral reasoning, ego functioning, age, and gender.To begin with, age differences in children's ego functioning were predicted.Recall that Chandler et al.'s (1978) study investigated the developmental trends indefense mechanisms and showed that there is a correlation between children's cognitiveabilities and their understanding of more "complex" defense mechanisms. Sincechildren's understanding of defense mechanisms depends on their level of cognitivedevelopment, it was thought that children's use of defense mechanisms would depend,to some extent, on their level of cognitive development as well. As a result, it waspredicted that younger children will use less complex ego processes compared to theadolescents. For instance, the cognitive coping processes seem to require formaloperational abilities in order to stand back from the situation, reflect, and evaluate itobjectively. Thus, these processes are more likely to be used by children in Grade 10compared to those in Grade 5. Likewise, the coping intraceptive processes require theability to deal with cognitive complex situations, and to understand the other person'sperspective. Such thinking requires complex cognitive abilities more often found inadolescents than in younger children. As well, based on the work of Chandler et al.,one can predict that the less complex defending processes of rationalization, denial,repression, displacement, and reaction formation may be more often used by theyounger children, while the more complex defending process of projection would beexpected to be used more often by adolescents.45Secondly, differences were predicted in the use of ego processes when childreninteract with their friend as opposed to their parent. As the work of Youniss (1980;Youniss & Smollar, 1985) and Furman and Buhrmester (1980) have shown, children doperceive their relations with parents differently compared to their friends.Furthermore, Cramer's (1983) study has shown that children choose different defensemechanisms in conflictual situations involving their parents as opposed to their friends.One explanation for these reported differences may be due to the power structure inthese two relationships. In friendships, both members are considered to be of equalstatus, and therefore, each person's opinion should be considered of equal value. Inparent-child relationships, since the parent is considered the authority figure, there maybe a tendency on the part of the child to undervalue his or her own opinion whileviewing the parent's point-of-view as necessarily correct. As a result, it is reasonable toexpect that children will employ the cognitive and intraceptive coping processes to agreater extent in their interaction with friends than with parents. These copingprocesses require the consideration of feelings and ideas generated by themselves andothers in order to negotiate and solve the problem. Relationships where there is thisbalance of power seem to suit these type of processes. On the other hand, the affectivecoping processes will be used more often with parents than with friends. Wheninteracting with parents, children may be more careful in how they express themselvesin the presence of their parents who are often acting as instructors in how to behavesocially. Finally, in terms of the defending processes, in interacting with friends,children will use projection and the cognitive processes more often than wheninteracting with their parents. These processes may be important to the child in orderto cope with the threatening feeling of inequality in the relationship. However, thedefending attention-focusing and affective processes, as well as the regression anddoubt, were predicted to be employed in interaction with parents as opposed to friends.46Such defense processes may be used by children when interacting with parents who theyperceive to be more knowledgeable about moral issues.Thirdly, gender differences in the use of ego processes in children's socialinteraction are predicted. Since girls report more intimacy, affection, and enhancementof worth from their friends relative to boys (Furman & Buhrmester, 1985), one mayexpect girls to be characterized as using the coping processes of empathy andsublimation in their interaction with friends in comparison with boys. As well,according to Cramer (1979), girls are considered to be more internally oriented,whereas boys are more externally oriented. Therefore, it may be expected that the useof the defense mechanisms of rationalization and intellectualization would be moretypical of girls, while projection would be more typical of boys.Fourthly, differences in the use of ego processes as a function of the type ofdilemma (i.e, hypothetical vs. real life) is predicted. The results from Hart andChmiel's (1992) and Haan's (1978) studies seem to suggest that in hypothetical moraldilemmas, people tend to use predominantly cognitive processes. In real-life dilemmas,a broader array of ego processes are expected to be used. In Walker, de Vries, andTrevethan's (1987) study, real-life dilemmas generated by children (age range: 6 - 15years) revolved around issues relating to friendship, honesty, theft, and fighting. Sincethese dilemmas may be personally significant to the participants, affective-impulseregulating processes and intraceptive processes may be more common-place here thanin hypothetical dilemmas.While these first four predictions are aimed at improving one's understanding ofthe ego functioning domain, this last prediction attempts to further uncover therelationship between ego functioning and moral reasoning, which is the main goal ofthis study. Based on the literature reviewed there are a number of predictions whichcan be made about the nature of this relationship. With the exception of Haan's (1977)study, researchers have found that the use of coping processes is correlated with higher47levels of moral reasoning (Haan, 1978; Haan, Stroud, & Holstein, 1973; Hart & Chmiel,1992). In particular, these researchers found that cognitive, intraceptive-reflexive, andattention-focusing coping functions are positively correlated with level of moralreasoning. In contrast, the researchers reported that the four defending functions werenegatively correlated with level of moral reasoning Thus, in general, it was predictedthat the coping functions will be positively correlated, and the defending functions willbe negatively correlated, with level of moral reasoning. Yet to what extent do each ofthese ego functions explain some unique part of the variance in children's level of moralreasoning? In order to determine this, multiple regression equations will be formulatedwith level of moral reasoning acting as the dependent variable, and age, gender and theeight ego functions being the independent variables.While age differences have been found in level of moral reasoning (see Colby etal., 1983), it is important to determine whether ego functions are able to explainadditional variance of the dependent variable. Although the cognitive and intraceptive-reflexive coping functions, and the cognitive, attention-focusing, and the affective-impulse regulation defending functions are predicted to share some of the explainedvariance with age, each of these functions are predicted to explain unique componentsof the variance as well. That is, although these functions are believed to be correlatedwith age, they, nevertheless, may account for portions of the variance not accounted forby age.While age differences in level of moral reasoning have been reported in theliterature, clear gender differences have not surfaced (see Walker, 1991). Yet it ispredicted that there are gender differences in the use of cognitive and intraceptivedefending functions. The role that gender may play in the regression equation is to actas a suppressor variable, thereby enhancing the effects of these and other ego functions.48MethodParticipantsWith the cooperation of the Vancouver School Board, 40 children wererecruited to participate in this study through letters sent to parents of the students.Only children from two-parent families were asked to participate. The children wereselected from two age groups with 10 boys and 10 girls in each group. One age groupwas comprised of Grade 5 students (M = 10.9 years,  SD = .34) and the other age groupwas comprised of Grade 10 students (Ig = 15.5, SD = .31). In addition, a parent and asame-sex friend of each child (the friend was chosen by the child) were asked to takepart in the study thus creating a total N of 120 participants. Generally, the fathers wereolder than the mothers (fathers' M = 47.9 years, SD = 5.7, range = 36-60, vs. mothers'M = 44.1 years, SD = 6.8, range = 32-54). The friends who participated averaged thesame age as the target children although there was greater variability (Grade 5 friends'M = 11.1, SD = 2.3, range = 9.4-12.7, and Grade 10 friends' M = 15.4, SD = .83, range= 13.8-17.5).ProcedureEach target child participated in two sessions involving an interview and a dyadicdiscussion (i.e., parent-child & friend-child), and each session lasted approximately 2hours. The order in which these sessions occurred was randomized. The two sessionswere spaced approximately a week apart.Each session involved having two participants (either parent and child or friendand child) report to the Department of Psychology at the University of BritishColumbia. After being briefed about the study and having provided written consent,both participants were taken to separate rooms for an individual interview ofapproximately an hour in length. These interviews were audio-taped for latertranscription and scoring. Each interview involved children reacting to four moraldilemmas; three were hypothetical dilemmas from Kohlberg's Moral Judgment Interview49(MJI) and one involved a conflict that the participant reported having or already hadwith their partner.Although there are three different forms of the MJI (A, B, and C), only two wereused, A and B. The reason for this is that forms A and B are exactly parallel to eachother, whereas Form C is not. The form chosen for the interviews was randomlyselected and the same form was given to both participants. The three hypotheticaldilemmas from the randomly selected MJI form were read to each participant followedby a series of questions from the WI manual about the dilemma. The fourth dilemmawas generated by the participant and included responses to standardized questions (seeAppendix C). These questions allowed the participants to describe the conflict, whythey considered it to be a moral conflict, and how they felt the conflict should beresolved.Following the individual interviews, the two participants convened for a dyadicdiscussion. There were three parts to this section. The first part involved the discussionof one of the hypothetical dilemmas which they had previously heard in the individualinterview. In order to promote discussion, the experimenter chose a dilemma in whichthere was some disagreement in responses between the participants. The second partinvolved the discussion of a real-life conflict the child was having or already had withthe partner (i.e., parent or friend) as revealed in the individual interview. The thirdpart involved the discussion of a real-life conflict the partner was having or already hadwith the child as revealed in the individual interview. The order in which these threemoral conflicts were discussed was randomized. It should be noted that eachparticipant was asked in the individual interview to consent to revealing his or herconflict to the partner. In the rare event that the participant did not generate a conflictor refused to discuss the conflict with the partner, he or she was asked to generate anexample of a conflict that may occur between a child and a parent (or friend dependingon who the partner was).50For each discussion, the two participants were instructed to review (in the caseof hypothetical dilemma) or reveal (in the case of real-life dilemmas) the dilemma andthen discuss a series of questions similar to the ones provided in the individualinterviews. Further, they were asked to discuss the questions such that each person hadthe opportunity to express his or her position. For questions where there weredisagreements, the participants were asked to try and resolve the disagreements. Afterthe instructions were given, the experimenter left the room. The only time theexperimenter reentered the room was at the end of each of the dilemma discussions inorder to inform the participants which conflict they were to discuss next and to providethem with the appropriate set of discussion questions. The discussion section lastedapproximately an hour and was video-recorded. The video-recording was used forsubsequent coding of ego functioning.The entire session lasted approximately 2 hours. Upon completion of the lastdiscussion, the experimenter entered the room to thank the participants for their timeand provided them each with the $10 remuneration. This process was repeatedapproximately a week later with the child and his or her other partner.ScoringMoral reasoning. Using Colby and Kohlberg's (1987) Standard Issue ScoringManual, the MJIs for each target child were blindly scored by the author. Based onthese interviews involving hypothetical dilemmas, responses were analyzed such thatevery moral judgment which matched a criterion judgment in the appropriate section ofthe manual was scored. The moral judgments obtained were then summarized into asingle score by calculating Weighted Average Scores (WAS). The WAS is calculated bymultiplying the percent usage of each stage by the stage number and then summing thetotals (ranges from 100 - 500). Since each target subject completed two MJIs (one foreach session), a single score was calculated based on the six dilemmas from the twointerview sessions. Some justification for averaging across sessions comes from the fact51that there was no significant difference between sessions in terms of WAS. When a 2(grade) X 2 (sex) X 2 (session) Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was computed, nosession effect was found a: (1, 36) = 2.031, p = .163). As well, the correlation betweenthe two forms was a substantial r = .65.Inter-rater reliability was determined through a second rater who independentlyscored 10 randomly selected interviews (25% of the sample). There was a highcorrelation between the two raters for the WAS ( = .93). As well for GSSs, there washigh reliability with Cohen's Kn = .87. Cohen's Kn statistic was used because it correctsfor chance agreement between the raters (Brennan & Prediger, 1981).Ego functioning. Haan's (1977) Q-sort method was used to code for the use ofspecific ego processes by each child in the discussion sessions. The advantage of usingthe Q-sort procedure is that it allows for easy comparison of results across samples withvery different backgrounds. The Q-sort is comprised of 60 different items, three ofwhich represent each of the ten defending ego processes and three of which representeach of the ten coping ego processes. 0-sorts were completed for each of the threedilemma discussions (one hypothetical and two real-life). Upon viewing a video-tapeddiscussion, coders sorted through and placed the 60 items into a forced quasi-normaldistribution of nine steps. Items most uncharacteristic of the child were placed at thelow-scoring end and items most characteristic of the child were placed at the high-scoring end of the distribution, with neutral items in the middle. The target's twodiscussion sessions were coded by different observers to preclude the possibility ofcoder bias.Each target child was involved in six discussions (two sessions X threedilemmas), and two well-trained coders performed Q-sorts on these discussions. Theinter-rater reliability between these two coders was assessed by having them score 42randomly selected video-taped discussions (17.5% of the sample). Similar to pastresearch (Haan, 1977), the Q Correlation was used as the index of inter-rater reliability.52The standard criterion for adequate inter-rater reliability is a Q Correlation of .40. Themean correlation between the coders was .56, with 83% of all the correlations beingabove the standard criterion.Based on this Q-sorting procedure, two types of ego functioning scores wereobtained. The first set of scores are those obtained for each of the 20 individual egoprocesses. This is calculated by summing the three item scores within each process.The second set included eight summary scores representing each of the four egofunctions in two modes, coping and defending. These summary scores are obtained byaveraging the scores for each of the processes within a particular function mode. Forexample, the summary score for the cognitive coping function is obtained by averagingthe coping scores for objectivity, intellectuality, and logical analysis.53ResultsThe results to be presented are organized into three sections. The first sectionaddresses the issue of how ego functions and processes differ as a function of age,gender, social circumstance (parent-child vs. friend-child interaction), and type ofdilemma. The second section examines patterns of moral reasoning. Finally, the thirdsection reports the relationship between ego functioning (as well as demographicvariables) and moral reasoning.Ego FunctioningTwo paths were taken in exploring the data on children's ego functioning. Thefirst path involved conducting exploratory post hoc analyses. Given that relatively littleresearch has been performed in this area, it is of interest to determine what significanteffects would surface when ego functioning was examined as a function of all variablesin general. The second path involved investigating the specific a priori hypothesesmade.Post hoc AnalysesTo perform the post hoc analyses, eight 2 (grade: 5, 10) X 2 (gender) X 2(session: parent-child, friend-child) X 3 (dilemma: hypothetical, target real-life, partnerreal-life) ANOVAs were conducted, one for each ego function. In each of theseANOVAs, grade and sex were between-subject factors, while session and dilemma werewithin-subject factors. Since eight univariate ANOVAs were conducted post hoc, aBonferroni inequality procedure was implemented to prevent an inflated Type I error.Thus, a family-wise error rate criterion was set at p < .08, and the p criterion for eachindividual ANOVA was set at a conservative .01. By setting a more liberal family-wise.p criterion than the traditional .05 and using the conservative Bonferroni inequalityprocedure, it was hoped that a reasonable compromise between Type I and Type IIerrors would be achieved.54From the set of eight ANOVAS, significant effects were found for three egofunctions. For the cognitive coping ego function, there was a main effect for grade, F(1, 36) = 7.45,9 < .01. Older children scored higher on cognitive coping compared toyounger children (Ms = 5.96 vs. 4.76) 1 . This effect is consistent with the prediction.Given that the use of cognitive coping processes require more mature cognitiveabilities, it was expected that younger children would be less likely to possess theseprocesses in their repertoire compared to older children.As well, for cognitive coping, there was a main effect for dilemma, F (2, 72) =4.90, p < .01. Differences across dilemmas here and subsequently in this section wereexamined by the Tukey method of multiple comparisons test with .p < .01. Thiscomparison revealed that on hypothetical dilemmas, children evidenced more cognitivecoping compared to real-life target and real-life partner dilemmas (s = 5.68 vs. 5.23and 5.17). This effect is again consistent with my prediction. That is, children wereexpected to use predominantly cognitive processes on hypothetical dilemmas in whichthey may have little personal investment.An additional finding was the dilemma effect for the attention-focusing copingfunction, F (2, 72) = 4.96,9 < .01. Here the use of this function was morecharacteristic of children in the hypothetical dilemma discussions compared to both thereal-life target and partner dilemma discussions (Ms = 5.80 vs. 5.34 and 5.25).Although this effect was not predicted, it seems congruent with the dilemma effect forthe cognitive coping function. That is, if children are more logical, objective, andintellectual in hypothetical dilemmas compared to the real-life dilemmas, they are morelikely to be task-focused (i.e., concentration) as well.For attention-focusing defending ego function (i.e., denial), there was a maindilemma effect, F (2, 72) = 6.95, p < .002. In the hypotheical dilemmas, the attention-1. Note. The mean scores are based on a 1 to 9-point scale with 1 representing "mostuncharacteristic", 9 representing "most characteristic", and 5 representing the neutralpoint.55focusing defending ego function was more uncharacteristic of children than in the real-life dilemmas (Ms = 4.25 vs. 4.73 and 4.80). This finding does not fit with predictions,and therefore, suggests that there may be more to the dilemma effect than initiallythought.Moreover, there was a significant grade X dilemma effect, F (2, 72) = 7.24, .p <.001. Further investigation into this interaction was conducted by analyzing the simplemain effects of grade for each dilemma. When this was done, a marginally significantgrade effect was discovered for the real-life partner dilemma only, F (1, 38) = 6.98, .p <.012. Grade 5 children tended to use more denial in their real-life partner dilemmascompared to Grade 10 children (Ms = 5.30 vs. 4.30).In addition, for the attention-focusing defending function, there was a significantsession X dilemma effect, F (2, 72) = 5.30, p < .007. This interaction was furtherexplored by analyzing the simple main effects of dilemma for each session. Thisanalysis revealed that there was a dilemma effect only in the parent-child session, F (2,72) = 9.25, _co < .001. In parent-child sessions, children were using more denial in thereal-life dilemmas compared to the hypothetical dilemmas (s = 3.96 vs. 4.97 and5.01).While the exploratory analysis confirmed some of my predictions, they alsoprovided new information which was not anticipated, yet may be important inunderstanding the nature of children's ego functioning. One important finding is thatolder children do tend to use more of the "complex" cognitive coping processescompared to younger children. However, the dilemma effects which have emergedsuggests that my initial theorizing may be wrong. In the hypothetical dilemmas,children tend to use more cognitive and attention-focusing coping processes comparedto the real-life situation. These results generally can be considered to be consistentwith my predictions. However, the fact that there was a dilemma effect for theattention-focusing defending function (i.e., denial) was not predicted. Why is it that56children use more denial in real-life dilemma discussions than in hypothetical dilemmadiscussions? An answer to this question will be proposed later. As well, other findingsin need of explanation are the interaction effects for denial. First, younger childrenwere found to use more denial in their real-life partner dilemmas compared to Grade10 children. Second, in the parent-child sessions, children were using more denial inthe real-life dilemmas compared to the hypothetical dilemmas. A discussion of theseresults will be presented later.Planned AnalysesIn addition to post hoc analyses, planned analyses were conducted to investigatethe specific a priori predictions made (pp. 43-47). In these analyses, the conventional.05 significance level will be used. The first issue deals with whether older children(Grade 10) use more complex ego processes compared to younger children (Grade 5).To examine this, ANOVAs were conducted for each of the following ego functions andprocesses: the cognitive coping function, the intraceptive-reflexive coping function,rationalization, denial, and the affective-impulse regulating function (repression,displacement, and reaction formation). These processes were examined with a 2(grade: 5, 10) X 2 (session: parent-child, friend-child) X 3 (dilemma: hypothetical,target real-life, partner real-life) ANOVA. Session and dilemma were included asfactors since they are repeated measures, but only grade effects will be reported at thispoint.These analyses revealed four significant main effects for grade (see Table 1).First, as the post hoc analyses found, there was a grade effect for cognitive copingfunction, F (1, 38) = 7.14, p = .011. As predicted, use of the "complex" cognitive copingfunction was more characteristic of older as compared to younger children (Ms = 5.96vs. 4.76). Second, there was a grade effect for intraceptive-reflexive coping function, F(1, 38) = 5.43, p < .05. Older children used the complex intraceptive coping functionmore often than younger children (Ms = 5.87 vs. 5.32). Third, there was a grade effect57TABLE 1Children's Ego Functioning across GradeEgo Function/ProcessesGrade5 10Cognitive Coping 4.76 (1.56) 5.96 (1.28)Intraceptive Coping 5.32 (.65) 5.87 (.81)Affective Defending 5.10 (.66) 4.68 (.45)Repression 4.98 (1.18) 4.30 (.70)Note. Standard deviations are indicated in parentheses. All functions reported show asignificant grade difference at the .05 level.58for the affective-impulse regulating defending function, F (1, 38) = 5.58, 9 < .05.Younger children tended to use this less complex defending function more than didolder children (Ms = 5.10 vs. 4.68). Fourth, there was a grade effect for repression, F(1, 38) = 5.01,.p < .05. In this case, younger children were found to use the lesscomplex process of repression more frequently than older children (Ms = 4.98 vs. 4.30).Hence, these findings lend support to the prediction that younger children use the lesscomplex processes and functions more than older children, while older children tend touse the more complex processes and functions to a greater extent than the youngerchildren. However, there were no significant grade effects found for the two remainingdefending processes of rationalization and denial.The second set of predictions concerns differences in children's use of egoprocesses when interacting with a parent as opposed to a friend. It was predicted thatchildren would use cognitive and intraceptive-reflexive coping functions, cognitivedefending function, and projection to a greater extent when interacting with friendsversus parents. On the other hand, it was predicted that children would use affective-impulse regulating coping and defending functions, denial, regression, and doubt moreoften when interacting with parents versus friends. For each of these processes andfunctions, a 2 (session) X 3 (dilemma) ANOVA was conducted. Dilemma was includedas a factor since it is a repeated measure, but only session effects will be reported at thispoint.The results show no significant main effects for session were found for any of theego processes and functions (cognitive and affective-impulse regulating functions,intraceptive-reflexive coping function, projection, denial, regression, and doubt). Thatis, there was no significant differences in children's use of these ego processes andfunctions when they interacted with their friends versus their parents.The third set of predictions dealt with gender differences in the use of egoprocesses. It was predicted that girls would use more empathy and sublimation in their59interaction with friends in comparison with boys. Moreover, girls, in general, werepredicted to use the defensive mechanisms of rationalization and intellectualizationmore often than boys. In contrast, boys were predicted to use more projection thangirls.To examine these issues, 2 (sex) X 2 (session) X 3 (dilemma) ANOVAs wereconducted for the above ego processes. Again, session and dilemma were included asfactors because they were repeated measures, but only gender effects will be reportedat this point. The ANOVAs conducted showed a significant gender effect for theprojection process, F (1, 38) = 5.08,D < .05. Females were characterized as using thisexternally oriented process more than males which is contrary to the prediction made(Ms = 4.75 vs. 4.04). However, none of the other functions showed a gender effect.Finally, differences in ego processes were predicted between types of dilemma.That is, in hypothetical dilemmas, cognitive processes were hypothesized to be morefrequently found, while the real-life dilemmas were thought to invoke intraceptive-reflexive and affective-impulse regulating processes. To determine the validity of theseclaims, 2 (session) X 3 (dilemma) ANOVAs were computed for each of the six egofunctions (cognitive coping and defending, intraceptive-reflexive coping and defending,and affective-impulse regulating coping and defending). Session was included as afactor in the ANOVAs since it is a repeated measure, but only dilemma effects will bereported at this point. From this set of ANOVAs, three significant dilemma effectsemerged (see Table 2). Differences across dilemmas in this section were examinedusing the Tukey method with < .05.First, as reported in the post hoc analyses, a significant main effect for dilemmawas found on the cognitive coping function, F (2, 78) = 4.94,D < .01. It appears thatchildren evidence more cognitive coping on hypothetical dilemma discussions comparedto real-life target and real-life partner dilemma discussions (Ms = 5.68 vs. 5.23 and5.17). As well, there was a significant main effect for dilemma on the intraceptive-60TABLE 2Children's Ego Functioning across Dilemma DiscussionsDilemmaEgo Function Hypothetical Target PartnerCognitive CopingIntracep. Defending5.68a4.17a(1.61)(1.38)5.23b4.57 b(1.64)(1.40)5.17c4.57c(1.74)(1.57)Cognitive Defending 3.85d (.99) 4.12 (.98) 4.20e (.87)Note.^Standard deviations are indicated in parentheses.a differs from b and c, p < .05d differs from e, p < .0561reflexive defending function, F (2, 78) = 3.95,.p < .05. Use of the intraceptivedefending function was more characteristic of children in real-life target and partnerdilemma discussions than in hypothetical dilemma discussions (s = 4.57 and 4.57 vs.4.17). These two findings are consistent with the predictions that children usepredominantly cognitive processes in hypothetical dilemma discussions where they mayhave little personal investment, and use more intraceptive and affective functions inreal-life dilemma discussions where they have more personal investment.However, there is evidence which raises doubts about the generality of thisfinding. For instance, a main effect for dilemma on cognitive defending function wasfound, F (2, 78) = 3.85, D < .05. Upon further exploration, it was discovered thatchildren's use of the cognitive defending function was more uncharacteristic onhypothetical dilemma discussions than in the real-life partner dilemma discussions (s= 3.85 vs. 4.20). This is contrary to the prediction that children in hypotheticaldilemma discussions are characterized as generally using more cognitive functions thanin real-life dilemma discussions.Thus, while the grade effects in the use of complex ego processes and functionsemerged, which are consistent with the hypotheses and post hoc findings, otherpredictions did not bear out. In the case of ego functioning between the two sessions,no significant differences arose. That is, children did not appear to use different egoprocesses when interacting with their friends as opposed to their parents. Moreover, inthe case of ego functioning between gender, only one significant effect emerged.Females were characterized as using projection more frequently than males. This iscontrary to my hypothesis which predicted that males would use more projectioncompared to females. Finally, the results for the dilemma effect suggest that thereasoning behind the proposed hypothesis may be more complicated than initiallybelieved. While use of cognitive coping was more characteristic of children inhypothetical dilemma discussions, and use of intraceptive-reflexive defending was more62characteristic of children in real-life dilemma discussions as predicted, there were otherfindings not consistent with the predictions. Use of cognitive defending was moreuncharacteristic in hypothetical dilemmas than in real-life dilemmas. Moreover, thefindings from the post hoc analyses show a dilemma effect for the two attention-focusing functions which was not predicted. Denial was found to be more characteristicof children in real-life dilemmas than in hypothetical dilemmas. Concentration, on theother hand, was found to be more characteristic of children in the hypotheticaldilemmas versus the real-life dilemmas. These latter findings which were not predictedare informative in that there may be more to the dilemma effect - the situationalcontext - than previously thought.Moral ReasoningAs mentioned previously, children's overall level of moral reasoning wasobtained by combining the scores yielded by the two interviews (Form A & B; i.e., sixdilemmas). Level of moral reasoning was expressed in weighted average scores (WAS).To determine grade and gender effects, a 2 (grade) X 2 (gender) ANOVA wasconducted. Two significant results emerged. First, there was a strong main effect forgrade, F (1, 36) = 52.49,D < .001. Older children tended to score higher in their levelof moral reasoning compared to younger children (s = 311.5 vs. 256.0). This findingis consistent with past research showing age to be positively correlated with children'slevel of moral reasoning (Colby et al., 1983). As well, there was a main effect forgender, F (1, 36) = 8.96,.p < .005. Females tended to score lower in their level ofmoral reasoning compared to males (Ms = 272.3 vs. 295.2). This finding is surprisinggiven that there generally is a lack of gender differences using Kohlberg's measure,especially in childhood (Walker, 1984, 1986b, 1991).Moral Reasoning and Ego FunctioningThis final section attempts to identify the relationship between ego functioningand moral reasoning. In order to do this, a multiple regression procedure was63performed with level of moral reasoning acting as the dependent variable. Age, sex,and the eight ego functions (both coping and defending on the cognitive, intraceptive-reflexive, attention-focusing, and affective-impulse regulating functions) were thepredictor variables. A summary score for each of the ego functions was obtained byaveraging over dilemmas and sessions. To form the regression equation, the stepwiseselection method was performed. The probability of F-to-enter was set at a default of.05. Therefore, a variable was allowed to enter the equation only if the probabilityassociated with the F test was less than or equal to the default .p < .05.Based on the stepwise selection procedure, three predictors variables emergedsignificant (see Table 3). The results indicate that level of moral reasoning can bepredicted from age, the cognitive coping function, and the attention-focusing copingfunction. These three variable were able to account for 68% of the variance in level ofmoral reasoning (R2 = .683). Age, not surprisingly given the strong developmentalcharacter of moral reasoning, accounted for the greatest amount of variance, 53%. Thepartial correlation for age (controlling for the other variables in the equation)demonstrated a strong, positive relationship with moral reasoning. Cognitive copingaccounted for an additional 11% of the variance when age was controlled. The partialcorrelation for cognitive coping showed a strong, positive relationship with moralreasoning as well. Attention-focusing accounted for a further 4% of the variance whenage and cognitive coping were controlled. The partial correlation for attention-focusingcoping illustrated that there is a negative relationship with moral reasoning. That is,when age and cognitive coping are controlled, attention-focusing is negativelycorrelated with moral reasoning. After controlling for these variables, none of theothers added significantly to the regression equations; and when the remainder of thevariables were forced into the equation, they, in combination, only accounted for anadditional 5% of the variance.64TABLE 3Multiple Regression Analysis of Moral Reasoning ScoresPredictor Variables^R^R2^R2^PartialChangeAge .73 .53 .53 *** .66Cognitive Coping .80 .65 .11** .54Attention Coping .83 .68 .04* -.32Note. *** p < .001 ** p < .005 * p < .05.65Further, an examination of the zero-order correlations (Table 4) illustrates thefact that most of the coping ego functions were positively correlated, and most of thedefending ego functions were negatively correlated with level of moral reasoning. Also,there were strong inter-correlations among the ego function variables (see Table 4).That is, the coping functions tended to be positively correlated with each other, thedefending functions tended to be positively correlated with each other, and the copingfunctions were negatively correlated with the defending functions, as would beexpected. Yet despite these high correlations, the tolerance level for each of thefunctions did not reach a low enough level to warrant concerns about the problem ofmulticollinearity (Dillion & Goldstein, 1984; Tabachnick & Fidell, 1989).66TABLE 4Ego Functioning Correlation MatrixCogCopCogDefIntrCopIntrDefAttnCopAttnDefAffCopAffDefMJICognitive CopingCognitive DefendingIntraceptive CopingIntraceptive DefendAttention CopingAttention DefendingAffective Coping.59 -.41-.78.41.74-.79-.51-.94.76-.77.25.76-.72.52-.83-.40-.76.67-.58.74-.67.19.44-.64.36-.58.63-.64-.48-.89.67-.79.86-.72.60-.3567DiscussionThe purpose of this study was to explore two areas of human functioning,children's ego functioning and their moral reasoning, and to determine how they may belinked with each other. While there has been a substantial amount of research devotedto extending the moral frontiers, there has been much less work investigating children'sego functioning, and even fewer studies bridging the two areas. Moreover, the priorresearch attempting to connect these two areas has produced some conflicting results.Thus, this study sought to reexamine these areas in hopes of improving ourunderstanding of children's ego functioning and its relation to moral reasoningdevelopment.The initial task of merging these areas of study was undertaken by Haan (1977).Her reason for doing this was based on her dissatisfaction with the psychoanalyticapproach's overemphasis on pathological functioning and underemphasis on theimportance of rationality. As well, Haan was equally unhappy with the cognitive-developmental approach's overemphasis on rational functioning and underemphasis onother aspects of functioning such as affect. Thus, Haan attempted to integrate theseparadigms into her model of ego processes.Since Kohlberg's model is considered a cognitive-developmental model, thecharge that it tends to emphasize rational, objective thought holds some legitimacy. Infact, Kohlberg (Kohlberg et al., 1983) himself built his model on the assumption thatcognitivism was an important component in moral reasoning. However, there havebeen some who have claimed that there is more to the moral domain than rationalthought (Blasi, 1990; Gilligan, 1982; Haan, Aerts, & Cooper, 1985; Puka, 1991). Thepurpose of drawing the area of ego functioning into the moral domain was to broaden itbeyond rationality by focusing on other components, like affect, which manifestthemselves in individual's ego functioning. Thus, it was hoped that how children"coped" in moral dilemma discussions would reveal further insight into the nature of the68moral domain. Yet before discussing these domains jointly, I first will examine each ofthem individually.The investigation of children's ego functioning in this study was unique in itsattempt to identify factors which may influence the use of these coping and defendingprocesses. As a result, gender and age (grade) differences were predicted in the use ofchildren's ego processes and functions. These predictions were made based on pastresearch (e.g., Chandler et al., 1978; Cramer, 1979). Moreover, differences in socialcircumstances were predicted in the use of ego processes and functions as well. Pastresearch (Cramer, 1983; Haan, 1978) suggests that the social situation in which a childperceives him or herself to be affects how the child reacts in those circumstances. Inthis study, two situational variables were isolated, types of dilemma and dyadicdiscussion sessions. Two discussion sessions were selected, parent-child interactionsand friend-child interactions. The reason these two discussion contexts were chosen isbased on a large body of research illustrating the importance of friends and parents tochildren's social and moral reasoning development (i.e., Powers, 1988; Thoma &Ladewig, 1993; Walker & Taylor, 1991). In addition, the effect of dilemma type onchildren's use of ego processes and functions was considered. Haan's (1978, 1986)studies show that college students discussing different topics and playing differentgames appear to elicit different ego processes and functions. This study attempted toconsider both discussion session and dilemma together.The results from this study provides further enlightenment in children's use ofego processes and functioning. To begin with, children's ego functioning wasinvestigated for differences across grade. There has been evidence suggesting that theunderstanding of defense mechanisms differs as a function of level of cognitivedevelopment (Chandler et al., 1978). Based on this study, it was thought that use of theego functions and processes would vary as a function of grade (age), which is believedto be correlated with level of cognitive development (Piaget, 1970). Consistent with69predictions, the results from this study indicate that there were differences foundbetween grade (age) in the use of specific ego processes and functions. In particular,for older children, the use of cognitive and intraceptive-reflexive coping functions werefound to be more characteristic compared to younger children. As for youngerchildren, the use of the affective-impulse regulating defending function and the egoprocess of repression were seen as being more characteristic than older children.Therefore, not only do older children understand these complex ego functions, asChandler et al. have shown, but older children appear to be using these complex egofunctions in their interaction with others as well. Younger children, however, do nothave a firm understanding of these complex ego functions and, therefore, are likely tobe perceived as using the less complex ego functions and processes.However, the use of the less complex defending processes of rationalization anddenial was found not to differ between the two grade (age) levels. While this findingdoes not support the predictions made, it does not necessarily refute the reasoningbehind the predictions either. It is possible that both older and younger children areusing these defense processes to the same extent since the two groups possess therequired cognitive abilities.While grade differences generally were found in children's use of ego processesand functions as predicted, the same was not true for gender. Boys and girls were notperceived to differ in their use of empathy, sublimation, rationalization, andintellectualization as predicted. This is an interesting finding given the results of someof the research in this area. For instance, Cramer (1979) reported that males tend tochoose the externally oriented defense mechanisms of turning against the object andprojection. In contrast, females tend to choose the internally oriented defensemechanisms of turning against self and the cognitive coping processes. Moreover, theonly significant gender difference found was in the use of projection. Contrary toprediction, females were characterized as using more projection than males. That is,70compared to boys, girls appear to be projecting on to others objectionable tendenciesrather than recognizing it as part of themselves.A number of reasons for the discrepancy in results between this study and that ofCramer (1979) can be postulated. It is possible that the process of measurement mayinfluence the implementation of ego functions. Thus, it may be true that girls generallyprefer internally oriented ego processes while boys generally prefer externally orientedego processes. However, in specific situations, such as a moral discussion with a friendor parent, these preferences may not manifest themselves in their use. Moreover, thediscrepancy could relate to the fact that Cramer's method of assessment was by self-report while this study assessed children's ego functioning based on observation.Hence, children may perceive themselves as acting differently than the way an outsideobserver is perceiving them. Future studies investigating the source of this discrepancywould be interesting and worthwhile in order to improve our understanding of thedifferences between children's perception of their ego functioning and the perception ofan objective observer.As well as investigating gender differences, differences in the use of egofunctions and processes were explored under various social circumstances. One of thesocial context variables included in this study was discussion sessions; that is, dochildren's use of ego processes and functions differ when they are interacting with aparent versus a friend? The interest in this variable was derived from Kohlberg's (1984)claim that peer relations are an important contributor to children's moral reasoningdevelopment. As well, Powers (1988) and Walker and Taylor (1991) have shown thatinteraction with parents is important to children's moral growth. Hence, we know thatparents and friends are important to children's moral development. However, in thisstudy, I wanted to determine whether children's use of ego processes and functionswould differ between these two dilemma discussion sessions.71As discussed, there is a substantial body of research (Buhrmester & Furman,1987; Furman & Buhrmester, 1985; Youniss, 1980; Youniss & Smollar, 1985) whichclearly shows that children perceive their relations with parents differently than theirrelations with friends. Kruger's (1992) study suggests that children behave differentlywhen interacting with parents versus friends. Finally, in her study, Cramer (1983)reported that children seem to choose different defense mechanisms in situationsinvolving peers compared to situations involving adults. Part of the reasoning behindthese findings relates to the balance of power within these relationships. While parentstend to be perceived as possessing a greater amount of power in the parent-childrelationship, in the friend-child relationship there is a greater sense of equality.Therefore, it was predicted that there would be strong differences in the use of egoprocesses and functions between the session conditions.Contrary to previous findings and the stated predictions, there were nosignificant differences in the use of ego processes and functions between the twosessions. That is, there were no processes or functions more characteristic of childrenin their interaction with parents than in their interaction with friends. One explanationfor this finding is related to the fact that parents who participated in this study were notrandomly sampled. Rather, it was necessary to ask parents to volunteer to participatein this study. As a result, these parents may tend to be in relations with their childrenwhich can be characterized as more egalitarian than is typical; that is, where parentsand children are treated as relatively equal in status. Thus, if this is the case, then onemight expect fewer differences between the parent-child interaction and the friend-child interaction.Another explanation for the lack of findings here is that in the parent-childinteractions the gender of the parent with whom the child interacted was notconsidered. In this study, target children were match with friends of the same-sex.However, with parents, target children interacted with either their mother or father.72The reason this was done was because of the small cell size that would be produced ifan additional variable was taken into account in the statistical analyses of the data. Asa result of this decision, however, there may be an interactive effect between gender ofthe parent and the fact that it is a parental figure. That is, any parental effect expectedcould be muddied by gender effects since interactions with mothers were notdistinguished from interactions with fathers. Thus, such an effect may be obscuringdifferences that would otherwise surface between parent-child and friend-childinteractions.An addition consideration for this unexpected finding is that in past researchchildren's perception of their relations with parents and friends was measured. As well,in Cramer's (1983) study, children were allowed to choose which defense mechanismsthey would use in hypothetical situations involving their parents and friends. However,in this study, children's use of ego processes and functions were measured by observingchildren in interaction with their partners. It is possible that in these real-lifeinteractions, children may not show as much variability in their use of ego processes indifferent situations as they may expect or as they may perceive themselves. That is,while children may anticipate using specific processes with specific people, whenactually interacting with these people children may be employing different processes alltogether. Thus, this could explain, in part, why session effects were not present.While no session effects were discovered, there were a number of dilemmaeffects. Recall that in hypothetical moral dilemma discussions, cognitive processes werehypothesized to be more frequently found, while in real-life dilemma discussions, abroader array of processes were anticipated, particularly the use of intraceptive-reflexive and affective-impulse regulating processes. The reasoning behind thesepredictions is that because real-life dilemmas are more personally significant to thetarget children, intraceptive-reflexive and affective-impulse regulating processes may bemore commonly used here than in hypothetical dilemmas. Discussing hypothetical73dilemmas may be seen as more of an intellectual exercise requiring predominantlycognitive processes.The results from this study provide evidence that the use of the cognitive copingfunction is more characteristic of children in hypothetical dilemma than in the real-lifedilemma discussions. Moreover, the use of the intraceptive-reflexive function is lesscharacteristic of children in hypothetical dilemmas than in real-life dilemmas. Thesefindings are consistent with the hypothesis.However, there were a number of findings which were not consistent withprediction. For instance, the use of the cognitive defending function was morecharacteristic of the partner real-life dilemmas compared to the hypothetical dilemmas.This finding suggests that there may be a different explanation (to be discussed later) tothe dilemma effect seen.Furthermore, from the post hoc analyses, additional dilemma effects werediscovered in children's use of the attention-focusing functions. First, there was asignificant dilemma effect for the use of the attention-focusing coping function. Inhypothetical dilemma discussions, children were characterized as using moreconcentration than in the real-life dilemmas. As well, the post hoc analysis revealed adilemma effect for attention-focusing defending function. Use of this function wasmore characteristic of children in real-life dilemma discussions compared to thehypothetical dilemma discussions.Thus, the results from both sets of analyses suggested that in the hypotheticaldilemmas, children appear to be coping better in terms of their use of cognitive andattention-focusing functions, and defending less in their intraceptive-reflexive andattention-focusing functions. In contrast, in both real-life situations, children appear tobe functioning poorly relative to the hypothetical dilemma discussions. Children inreal-life discussions are characterized as coping less well in their cognitive function, anddefending to a greater extent in their cognitive, intraceptive-reflexive, and attention-74focusing functions (relative to hypothetical discussions). Hence, the general pictureappearing is that children are functioning relatively poorly in real-life dilemmadiscussions in terms of coping with conflictual situations.One explanation for these results is that since hypothetical dilemmas tend not tobe of any personal significance to the discussants or to the relationship between thediscussants, they are perceived to be less threatening, and therefore, less stressful to thetarget child. As a result, they feel more relaxed in discussing these issues withwhomever their partner may be. In contrast, it is likely that children perceive thediscussion of the real-life dilemmas as more threatening to the relationship than thediscussion of hypothetical dilemmas. That is, the target children may be reluctant todiscuss these real-life dilemmas for fear of how their partner may react. These childrenmay feel some stress in discussing these issues, especially when they were aware thatthey were participating in a research project. Therefore, they are more likely to usedefending processes and functions. Such as explanation would be consistent withHaan's (1977) theory. Recall Haan's claim that in stressful circumstances where peopleperceive these situations as threats to their sense of self-consistency, people mayemploy defensive ego processes.In addition to the main dilemma effects, an interaction between grade anddilemma was found for one ego function. It seems that Grade 5 children tend to usemore denial in real-life partner dilemmas compared to Grade 10 children. This effect isconsistent with the prediction that younger children would be more likely to use denialthan older children. Moreover, what is of interest is the fact that this effect is onlyevident in situations where the partner's moral dilemma is being discussed. That is, thetarget child is denying present or past facts and feelings in regards to the moral conflictthe partner has raised.Another interesting finding was the interaction effect between session anddilemma. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that in their interaction with75their parents, children were characterized as using more denial in the real-life dilemmascompared to the hypothetical dilemmas. This suggests that children are having adifficult time discussing real-life conflicts involving their parents with their parents.Children seem to want to de-emphasize the importance of moral conflicts they arehaving with their parents, while emphasizing the more pleasant aspects of therelationships.In summary, children were found to use a variety of ego functions in bothhypothetical and real-life dilemma discussions. Moreover, children were found to copebetter and defend less in hypothetical discussions than in real-life discussions. Inhypothetical dilemma discussions, these children tended to rely more on the cognitiveand attention-focusing coping functions than in real-life dilemmas. As well, the use ofthe defending functions of attention-focusing and intraceptive-reflexive were lesscharacteristic of these children in hypothetical dilemmas than in real-life dilemmas.These findings suggest that social context can have a substantial effect on the processeschildren use when interacting with others. In situations where they feel uncomfortable,such as discussing moral dilemmas involving their partner with that partner, childrenmay resort to defending processes. However, in situations where they feel morerelaxed, such as discussing hypothetical, impersonal dilemmas, children may be morelikely to use the cognitive and attention-focusing coping processes.Further, this dilemma effect may be so strong as to negate any session effects.That is, a discussion of a moral conflict the children are having with a partner whomthey know well may be so stressful that it does not matter whether the partner is afriend or a parent. What may be relevant is the fact that their partners are people withwhom they are well acquainted and to whom they are closely related. As a result, thesechildren may be fearful that discussing a moral conflict between them and theirpartners may strain the relationship.76Whether this is a valid interpretation of the results can only be determined withfurther research. One issue that should be explored is whether there is a directcorrespondence between stress and the use of defending ego functions. There are anumber of measures that could be used to assess the stress level of a person in asituation, one being galvanic skin response (GSR). Assuming that children areexperiencing stress in these real-life dilemma discussions, would they experience thesame amount of stress outside the lab setting? That is, do children experience stress,and thereby, use defending processes and functions when they discuss moral conflictswith their parents or friends in their everyday interactions? To determine this wouldrequire field observations.Another issue worth pursuing is to identify other "moral" scenarios besideshypothetical moral dilemma discussions where children may use coping functions. Inthese alternative situations, are there specific coping functions and processes other thancognitive and attention-focusing which would be more typical? A third issue is todetermine the stability in children's use of ego functioning across situations and time. Iftheir use is stable then they may be considered a personality variable. These are someof the important issues worth addressing in future research.In the area of children's moral reasoning, two effects were found. First, therewas a grade (age) difference in level of moral reasoning. Grade 10 children scoredhigher in their level of moral reasoning than Grade 5 children. This finding isconsistent with the results from Colby et al.'s (1983) longitudinal study whichdemonstrated that as their participants grew older, there was a gradual increase in stageof reasoning. Thus, this grade (age) difference was of no great surprise.The second effect emerging was a difference in level of moral reasoning forgender. Females tended to score lower in their moral reasoning compared to males.This finding raises a much debated issue of gender differences in moral reasoning, andhas led to a bantering between Baumrind (1986) and Walker (1984, 1986b) in the77developmental literature. This debate has revolved around the claim that Kohlberg'sstage theory is biased against females (Gilligan, 1982; Haan, 1977). Gilligan, forinstance, has argued that Kohlberg's theory does not fairly reflect the feminine concernsof welfare, caring, and responsibility. As a result, in Kohlberg's scoring system, femaleswill tend to score lower than males since Kohlberg's theory emphasizes the masculineattributes of rationality, objectivity, and individuality. However, doubts regardingGilligan's claims have been raised by Walker (1984, 1986b, 1991). Walker (1991)reviewed the literature covering "all studies using Kohlberg's measure in which sexdifferences in the development of moral reasoning was examined" (p. 350). Of the 152samples collected from some 80 studies, Walker reported that 85.5% of these samplesshowed no significant sex difference. For 5.9% of the samples, females scored higher,and for 8.6% of the samples, males scored higher. Furthermore, Walker performed ameta-analysis with these samples to determine whether there is an overall significantgender difference. The meta-analysis showed that there were no significant differencefor gender.Given the substantial body of evidence refuting the gender difference in moralreasoning claim, it is difficult how to make sense of this study's finding. However, twopoints can be made. First, the sample size in this study is not very large (target childrenN = 40). This fact needs to be taken into account when interpreting the results of thisstudy. When dealing with a small sample size, there is always the danger that one'ssample is not a completely fair representation of the population. Second, the genderdifference found is not a very large one (1/5 of a stage). Therefore, although thedifference reached statistical significance, the actual numbers are not all thatimpressive. Certainly these findings would not provide much support to Gilligan's claimthat Kohlberg's model tends to place the masculine values of rights, rationality,individuality, etc., at higher stages, while placing feminine values of care andconnectedness at lower stages. The validity of such claims would require a more78substantial gender difference in level of moral reasoning with a particular focus onStage 3 and above reasoning (WAS of 300 or more). In this study, the WASs for bothgenders were below 300.While the discussion thus far has focused on the two areas of human functioningseparately, this final section attempts to tie these two domains together by asking:What is the nature of the relationship between children's moral reasoning and their egofunctioning? In particular, can our knowledge of which ego functions children's use inmoral dilemma discussions aid us in predicting their level of moral reasoning? WhileHaan (1977, 1985, 1986; Haan et al., 1985) has explored college students' use of egoprocesses in group discussions and in game situations, she did not compare children'suse of ego functions in didactic discussions with parents versus friends. As has beenillustrated in the review of the literature, parents and friends are believed to playimportant, but potentially different, roles in children's moral development.To address these questions, a stepwise multiple regression procedure wasperformed. The eight ego functions, along with age and sex, were entered into aregression equation to determine whether they predicted children's level of moralreasoning. The results showed that there were three predictor variables which reachedsignificance. They were age, cognitive coping, and attention-focusing coping.Combined, these three variables accounted for 68% of the variance in the level ofmoral reasoning: (a) age was found to explain a majority of the variance, 53%; (b)cognitive coping explained another 11%; and (c) attention-focusing coping explained anadditional 4%.The fact that age was found to be an important contributor is of no surprisegiven that a significant grade (age) difference was found in level of moral reasoning. Ofgreater interest is that cognitive coping explained a substantial amount of variance evenafter controlling for age. Past research (Haan, 1978; Hart & Chmiel, 1992) has foundthat cognitive coping at pretest tends to predict level of moral reasoning at post-test79better than the other ego functions. The findings of this study are consistent with theseresults. Children's ability to be logical, intellectual, objective, and task-focused seems tobe positively correlated to their ability to reason about moral issues. These resultsseem to substantiate Kohlberg's (Kohlberg et al., 1983) claim that his model placesemphasis on cognition: People rely on their rational nature when making moraljudgments.Moreover, this coping function may be important in the assimilation andaccommodation of new information critical to moral reasoning development. That is,these coping functions may play an important role in the facilitation of children's levelof moral reasoning by allowing them to experience a broad array of perspectives onmoral issues. Hence, these findings provide some support for Hart and Chmiel's (1992)claim that children using coping functions would be more likely to develop sophisticatedmoral judgments than those using defending functions.However, the finding that attention-focusing coping explained a significantamount of variance provides an interesting twist to this study. Recall that attention-focusing became negatively correlated with moral reasoning after age and cognitivecoping were controlled. Children at higher levels of moral reasoning werecharacterized as concentrating less than children at lower levels of moral reasoning. Anexplanation for this finding is that children at higher levels of moral reasoning may notneed to concentrate as hard as children at lower levels when discussing moraldilemmas. These children, having scored high on cognitive coping, may have thecognitive coping abilities necessary to perform the task easily. In contrast, children atlower levels of moral reasoning, and who have scored lower in cognitive coping, mayneed to concentrate more in the dilemma discussion since they may not possess the fullcomplement of cognitive coping abilities necessary to easily complete the task. Thus,this finding suggests that the specific use of the attention-focusing coping function maynot lead to sophisticated moral judgments. However, it should be noted that this80finding was a weak one, barely attaining significance. In addition, the zero-ordercorrelation with moral reasoning was found to be positive. Therefore, further researchis necessary before any strong conclusions can be drawn.The fact that a relationship exists between moral reasoning and ego functioningmay be vulnerable to the criticism that it is, to some extent, spurious. The rationalebehind this claim is that since ego functioning and moral reasoning were obtained fromcontexts of moral deliberations, one should not be surprised to find a relationship sincethey are both tapping the same type of activity. Therefore, in order to show that alegitimate relationship exists, one could have observed children's ego functioning insituations other than moral deliberations. However, I feel this claim has minimalvalidity. While it is true that both the individual interviews and dyadic discussions dealtwith moral issues, the procedures in the two situations differed substantially. In onesituation, level of moral reasoning is obtained based on an individual interviewtechnique which is designed to tap people's reasoning about hypothetical moraldilemmas. In the other situation, use of ego processes is obtained based onobservations of people's behavior in a dyadic discussion of both hypothetical and real-life moral issues. These issues covered a wider variety of topics and are more"relational" in nature compared to the hypothetical dilemma discussions in theindividual interview. Hence, the underlying data sources used to understand theseareas of human functioning do differ both in their breadth of topics as well as in theirpersonal importance to the individual.Moreover, the decision to use moral dilemma discussions as the context in whichto observe children's ego functioning was selected for a reason. Researchers belief thatthese types of discussion scenarios are important in fostering moral reasoningdevelopment (Berkowitz, Oser, & Althof, 1987; Piaget, 1932/1965). As a result, it washoped that how children behaved in these situations may enlighten our understandingof factors important to children's moral growth.81The finding that cognitive coping and attention-focusing coping are predictors oflevel of moral reasoning is further interesting in light of the fact that the use of thesefunctions were two which distinguished real-life from hypothetical dilemma discussions.Recall that these functions were found to be more characteristic in the hypothetical andless characteristic in the real-life dilemmas. More specifically, in discussing moraldilemmas with parents and friends, target children used a variety of ego functionsdepending on the dilemma context. In hypothetical dilemma discussions, children werecharacterized as using less defensive functions (cognitive, intraceptive-reflexive, andattention-focusing) and more coping functions (cognitive and attention-focusing)compared to when they discussed real-life dilemmas. The impression yielded by theseresults was that children found it difficult and stressful to discuss real-life moralconflicts. These target children were asked to discuss with their partner real-life moralconflicts which they were having or had recently had with that partner. Whilehypothetical moral conflicts were impersonal, real-life conflicts were personal issueswhich were not always easily discussed. On many discussion occasions it appeared thatchildren were minimizing the importance of the conflict in order to maintain a "smooth"relationship in front of the camera in the lab. Hence, these findings suggest that whilediscussing real-life moral conflicts may not be an important social context in which tostimulate moral development, discussing hypothetical moral conflicts may be importantby encouraging children to use their cognitive coping abilities.However, observing children discussing moral conflicts is only one scenario inwhich to determine their use of ego functions. There are many other situations in whichto obtain this type of information. If cognitive and attention-focusing coping functionsare important to children's moral reasoning development, would their use in othersocial situations and across time continue to be predictive of their level of moralreasoning? Thus, observing children's ego functioning in a variety of scenarios mayprove useful in addressing this issue. In addition, doing this will further aid us in82determining whether the relationship between ego functioning and moral reasoning isin fact spurious.Thus, from this study further inroads into the moral domain has beenaccomplished through the revelation of a clear link between personality ego functioningand moral reasoning level. Other than age, the strongest predictor of children's level ofmoral reasoning was cognitive coping. This is not surprising given the cognitive,rational constitution of Kohlberg's model. However, it should be noted that themajority of the coping functions, not just the cognitive ones, were positively correlated,while most of the defending functions were negatively correlated with level of moralreasoning. These findings suggest that other components, such as affect, are integralparts of the moral domain. The difficulty for psychologists is trying to tease thesedifferent components apart. There have been many researchers (e.g., Blasi, 1990; Puka,1991), who have suggested broadening the moral domain beyond Kohlberg's cognitiveconception by identifying and understanding the role these other components playwithin the area of morality. Yet how one goes about doing this in some systematicfashion, as Kohlberg's theory did, remains a daunting challenge.83ReferencesArbuthnot, J. (1975). Modification of moral judgment through role playing.Developmental Psychology, 11, 319-324.Baier, K. (1965). The moral point of view: A rational basis of ethics.  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Moral stages and moralorientations in real-life and hypothetical dilemmas.  Child Development, 58, 842-858.Walker, L. J., & Taylor, J. H. (1991). Family interactions and the development of moralreasoning. Child Development, 62,  264-283.Youniss, J. (1980). Parents and peers in social development: A Sullivan-Piagetperspective. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Youniss, J., & Smollar, J. (1985). Adolescent relations with mothers. fathers. andfriends. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.8889APPENDIX AKOHLBERG'S MORAL STAGE MODELPRECONVENTIONALPreconventional individuals are those who do not understand and uphold sharedsystems of moral rules, roles, and norms. Individuals at this level are responsive tocultural rules and labels of good and bad, right and wrong, yet interpret these rules andlabels in terms of the physical consequences to their action, or in terms of the physicalpower of those who enforce the rule labels.Stage 1: Heteronomous MoralitySome of the features of this stage is that: (1) there is the ability to see situations fromonly a single perspective; (2) rightness and wrongness are defined by authority figures;(3) moral judgments are self-evident requiring no justification beyond citing the rules;and (4) wrong actions are identified with punishment.Stage 2: Individualistic, Instrumental MoralityStage 2 can be characterized in the following ways: (1) individuals have the ability torecognize and respect more than one perspective in the situation; (2) individuals aim tomaximize their own desires; (3) reciprocity is important at this stage in that individualscoordinate their actions in order for themselves to benefit.90CONVENTIONALIndividuals at the conventional level see maintaining the expectancies of their family,group, or nation as valuable in its own right. At this level, there is an attitude ofconformity and loyalty to maintaining, supporting, and justifying personal expectationsas well as the social order. Further, individuals at the conventional level are able toidentify with other persons beyond themselves and understand morality to be sharedsystems of moral rules, roles, and norms.Stage 3: Interpersonal Normative MoralityThe features of this stage are as follows: (1) there is the understanding of a third-personperspective; (2) there is the subscription to mutually trusting relationships amongpeople; and (3) there is a belief in shared moral norms which emphasize people beinggood, altruistic role-occupants.Stage 4: Social System MoralityStage 4 has these characteristics: (1) individuals taking a members-of-societyperspective; (2) a belief in the existence of a social system of sets of codes andprocedures which apply equally to all members; and (3) the pursuit of one's interest asthe legitimate goal only if it maintains the social system.91POSTCONVENTIONALAt this level, people understand the social systems of moral norms, rules, and roles, butaccepting these societal systems is dependent on whether they accept the general moralprinciples which underlie these systems. Individuals at this level strive to define moralvalues and principles which have validity and application apart from the authority ofgroups.Stage 5: Human Rights and Social Welfare MoralityAt this stage, individuals consider: (1) the universal values and rights to be a part of anymoral society; and (2) the societal laws and other social systems to be legitimate only tothe extent that they either represent, preserve, or protect fundamental human rightsand values.Stage 6: Morality of Universalizable, Reversible, and Prescriptive General Ethical PrinciplesAt this stage, individuals operate based on the principles of justice and respect forpersons, and are able to take on all perspectives in a situation and balance thesedifferent points of view.Note. adapted from Colby & Kohlberg (1987, pp. 25-35)92APPENDIX BDEFINITIONS OF EGO PROCESSEScoping cognitive processesObjectivity: Subjects separate their ideas and feelings from each other so that theyachieve objective evaluations when situations require this sort of behavior.Intellectuality: Subjects are capable of detachment in an affect-laden situation whichrequires impartial analysis and awareness and is so detached from restrictions ofthe environment and self that they are able to give their thoughts free rein.Logical Analysis: Subjects are interested in analyzing thoughtfully, carefully, andcogently the causal aspects of situations, personal or otherwise.defending cognitive processesIsolation: Subjects' affect seems not to be related to their ideas, and/or they seem not tobe able to put their ideas together.Intellectualization: Subjects with high ratings retreat from affect to formulations ofwords and abstractions. Subjects think and talk on a level of abstraction notquite appropriate to the situation, use jargon, and do not specify how these ideasrelate to context.Rationalization: Subjects offer superficially plausible reasons to explain their behaviorand/or intentions, which allows their sub rosa self-gratification to escapeattention, but they omit crucial aspects of situations, or are otherwise inexact.93coping intraceptive processesTolerance of ambiguity:  Subjects are able to cope with cognitive and affectivecomplexity or dissonance. Subjects are capable of qualified judgment; they areable to think in terms of grays rather than blacks and whites.... They tolerateinevitably complex negative and positive feelings toward others.Empathy: Subjects sensitively put themselves in the other person's boots; they take theother's role; they are able to imagine how the other person feels and thinks. Intheir interpersonal relationships they take account of others' feelings and ideas.Regression in the service of the ego: Subjects utilize feelings and ideas that are notdirectly ordered or required by the practical immediate elements of the situationto add to their understanding of problems, their handling of situations, and theirenjoyment of life.defending intraceptive processesDoubt: Subjects are unable to resolve ambiguity. They doubt the validity of their ownperceptions or judgments, are unable to make up their mind, and are unable tocommit themselves to a course of action or presentation of incidents.Projection: Subjects attribute an objectionable tendency to another person, or persons,instead of recognizing it as part of themselves.Regression: Subjects resort to evasive, wistful, demanding, dependent, ingratiating, non-age appropriate behavior to avoid responsibility, aggression, and unpleasantdemands from others and self.94coping attention-focusing processConcentration: Subjects are able to set aside disturbing or attractive feelings orthoughts in order to concentrate on the task at hand.defending attention-focusing processDenial: Subjects deny present or past facts and feelings that would be painful toacknowledge and focus instead on the benign or pleasant.95coping affective processesSublimation: Subjects find alternate channels and means, which are self-satisfying,socially accepted, and tempered for the expression of affect which cansometimes be basically "primitive."Substitution: Subjects express tempered, domesticated feelings.Suppression: Subjects' infeasible and inappropriate feelings and affective responses areheld in abeyance and controlled until the proper time and place and with theproper object. At the same time, affect can be expressed when it is appropriate.defending affective processesDisplacement: Subjects temporarily and unsuccessfully attempt to control unacceptableaffects or impulses in relation to their original objects or situations, and thenexpresses them in a situation of greater internal or external tolerance.Reaction formation: Subjects appear to have transformed their impulses and affectsinto their opposites, with resulting alteration of behavior which may,nevertheless, occasionally break down so that the original impulse is in evidence.Repression: Subjects unconsciously and purposefully forget. They have gaps in recall ofthe past and just can't remember or elaborate. Their constriction in thinking aredue to a naive, oblivious, unthinking attitude.Note. adapted from Haan (1977)96APPENDIX CPROTOCOL TO THE REAL-LIFE DILEMMA INTERVIEW1. The stories we've been discussing are examples of moral conflicts. It's quite normalfor people to have conflicts or disagreements with others - it's part of everyday living.I'm wondering if you are presently experiencing, or have recently experienced, a moralconflict with your [mother/father/friend/child]? A moral conflict is a situation whereyou have to make a decision about what is right or wrong, and you're not sure what todo. Could you please describe the most recent moral conflict you experienced withyour ... that was not resolved to the satisfaction of both of you?2. What was the conflict for you in that situation?3. What was it about this conflict that made it a problem of right and wrong?4. What was it about this conflict that made it so important to you? (What was at stakefor you in this conflict?)5. What was your point of view, your ....'s point of view, and how were these points ofview in conflict?6. What were you feeling or experiencing at the time? What was your .... feeling?7. In deciding what to do, what did you consider, what factors were involved? Why arethose considerations important? How did you weigh those considerations?8. What options do you have in this situation and what do you think about each?Which seem right? Why? Which seem wrong? Why?9. Considering your position and your ....'s position, which points in each are right andwhich are wrong? Why?10. What do you think is the most important thing to be concerned about in thisrelationship? Why is that important?11. What action did you consider or are you considering?12. How do you think this conflict should be resolved?13. Do you think your actions were actually right or wrong? How do you know?14. What do you think should be the right thing to do? Why?97


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