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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Relational structures among worldview, self-view, moral inclusiveness, and moral orientation : a holistic and complementary perspective Yu, Angela Yan-Yan


The overall goal of this study was to develop a comprehensive model of moral development to explicate the complexities of everyday morality. Based on a holistic and complementary perspective, the model relates the constructs of “worldview” and “self-view” to represent the influence of cultural individualism-collectivism and personality on moral development. It posits that worldview shapes self-view and moral inclusiveness [what is included in one’s moral consideration (Carter, 1980)] and then worldview, self-view, and moral inclusiveness jointly influence moral orientation (the main hypothesis). Interacting with situational factors, moral orientation would further influence moral judgment and behavior, thus connecting habitual morality with reflective morality. The specific objectives were: (a) to examine the relational structures among worldview, self-view, moral inclusiveness, and moral orientation; and (b) to construct a moral orientation index that measures various moral orientations, including egocentric, family, care, norm, justice, biocentric, and religious orientations, reflecting the corresponding worldviews, self-views, and levels of moral inclusiveness. Moral inclusiveness was operationalized as relationship closeness to different social groups at expanding levels of moral inclusiveness: (1) self only, (2) family, (3) peers, (4) society, (5) humanity, (6) nature, and (7) God. Survey data were gathered from 640 Grades 8-12 students and 472 adults. Structural equation models (SEM) were developed using the student data while making some comparative references to the adult data. Results of SEMs generally supported the main hypothesis. For example, individuals scoring higher on vertical individualism, social Darwinism, and independent self scored higher on egocentric orientation; individuals scoring higher on vertical collectivism and closeness to family scored higher on family orientation; and individuals scoring higher on horizontal collectivism and interdependent self scored higher on care orientation, at Levels 1, 2, and 3 respectively. Individuals scoring higher on collectivism, horizontal worldview, and moral self scored higher on justice orientation, but individuals scoring higher on closeness to nation scored lower on justice orientation at Level 5. The primacy of worldview, particularly collectivism, over self-view and moral inclusiveness in moral orientation development has implications for education. Exploring the roots of habitual morality, this study advances theory by integrating different schools of moral psychology with cultural psychology.

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