Moral development and discipline encounter in delinquent and nondelinquent adolescents

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The present study tested whether Hoffman's conceptualization of the relationship between disciplinary techniques and moral development can account for findings that delinquents score lower than nondelinquents on various measures of moral development. Twenty-six delinquent adolescents, 20 middle class nondelinquents, and 20 lower class non-delinquents were assessed on moral development using the following measures: resistance to temptation, moral stage, feelings after offense, judgment about the severity of punishment, and confession. The use of induction by parents was examined with a Q-sort administered to adolescents and their parents. On most measures of moral development delinquents performed lower than nondelinquents. Less induction was found to be used with delinquents than with nondelinquents. Induction was positively related to most moral measures. It was concluded that disciplinary methods may account for differential moral development of delinquent versus nondelinquent adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-230
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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