Theories of Moral
- Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987) devised a theory in which he
explained s six stages of moral development divided into three
- Morality is the system one uses to decide what is right and
wrong; how one’s conscience affects choices.
- Moral development refers to the capacity of the individual
to act in accord with conscience and moral imperatives rather
than egocentric values.
- Kholberg defines moral judjments "as judgments of value, as
social judgments, and as judgments that oblige an individual
to take action.”
- He was inspired by Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget and the
American philosopher John Dewey.
- By the second year of life, “moral emotions” are emerged.
- By 36 months, most children demonstrate the internalization
of parental standards.
- During the school years, the importance of rules and
adhering to them become well defi ned.
- Moral dvelopment after adolescent period is complex and
influenced by social factors.
- Kohlberg explained three levels of reasoning and six stages
of moral development . Each level has two stages that
represent different degrees of sophistication in moral
Three levels of reasoning
- Preconventional - reason according to the self
- Conventional - reasoning based on social rules and
- Postconventional - use the principle behind the social
norm to direct their behavior.
- Obedience and Punishment Orientation
- Individualism and Exchange
- Good Interpersonal Relationships
- Maintaining the Social Order
- Social Contract and Individual Rights
- Universal Principles
- The first two stages have preconventional level
- During stage 3 and 4, child shows conventional level
- Postconventional level of resoning is
observed during stage 5 and 6.
- Parents influence the moral development of their children.
- Kolberg's theory explained moral development in a
philosophical and psychological context.
- Smeltzer SC, Bare BG. Brunner and Suddarth's Textbook of
Medical-Surgical Nursing. 10th edition. (Edrs). Philadelphia:
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004.
- Psychiatry, Third Edition. Edited by Allan Tasman, Jerald
Kay, Jeffrey A. Lieberman, Michael B. First and Mario Maj.
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2008.
This page was last updated on: