College of Arts & Sciences

Date of Award

Summer 8-1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Gary McCullough, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

James Olson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Cynthia Phillips, Ph.D.


Kohlberg's Moral Judgment Interview and parallel dilemmas depicting abusive domestic situations were used to compare moral development of two groups of couples. Twenty men from a program for abusive men and their wives were compared to 20 couples selected by convenience sampling from university students, two church congregations, and friends. The Conflict Tactics Scale for couples was used to determine the validity of the responses of the male partner. No differences in Global Stage Scores were found between abusive or non-abusive men. None were found between genders. Weighted Average Scores on traditional Kohlberg stories and spousal abuse dilemmas were similar for the two groups. The Non-Abusive Group men scored higher on moral judgment interviews than the abusive men according to the Weighted Average Scores. Men and women in the Non-Abusive Group were more in agreement about the extent and amount of violence in their relationships. Individuals who scored highest on abusive Weighted Average 30ores were those who rated themselves and their partners as less violent.



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