Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 475–488 | Cite as

Gender differences in self-reported moral reasoning: A review and new evidence

  • Kathleen M. Galotti


Sixty-four undergraduates wrote responses to the question, “When faced with a moral dilemma, what issues or concerns influence your decision?” The responses were coded according to one or more of 13 themes by independent raters blind to the subjects' gender. Six of the themes were identified as “feminine” themes and seven as “masculine” themes on the basis of previous work by Gilligan ([1982],In a Different Voice, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts), Kohlberg ([1976], “Moral Stages and Moralization: The Cognitive-Developmental Approach,” in Lickona, T. [ed.],Moral Development and Behavior: Theory, Research, and social Issues, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York), and others. Only one association between gender and the presence of any given theme reached statistical significance: Thus, there is little evidence to support the idea that men and women differ in their reports of how they think about moral dilemmas. For all subjects, the average proportion of possible feminine themes in a response was higher than the proportion of possible masculine themes. This finding supports the idea than an exclusive focus on themes such as rights and responsibilities will fail to capture many of the considerations all subjects regard as most important.


Gender Difference Health Psychology School Psychology Social Issue Moral Reasoning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen M. Galotti
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCarleton CollegeNorthfield

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