Association Between Severity of Adolescents’ Peer Problems and Moral Judgment Development
Keywords:peer problems, moral judgment development, adolescence, age differences
Previous studies supported that adolescents? moral judgment decreases as their peer problems increase in severity. The objective of the present research was to examine peer problems as a predictor of adolescents? moral judgment development based upon Jessor?s problem behavior theory and Gibbs moral development theory. It was hypothesized that moral judgment increases with growing age and thus, older adolescents are expected to be at higher stages of moral judgment development than younger adolescents. It was also assumed that adolescents with severe peer problems will be at lower level of moral judgment development than their counterparts. The younger adolescents (n = 140; M = 13.1 year) and older adolescents (n = 147; M = 19 year) were compared on measures of Index of Peer Relations and Padua Moral Judgment Scale. The findings showed that adolescents? moral judgment development declined with an increase in peer problems, particularly during late adolescence. Adolescents who reported having moderate and severe peer problems had lower level of moral judgment development than those with no and mild peer problems. Findings provided guideline for future researchers and practitioners.