ERIC Number: ED222957
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Reference Count: 0
An Application of Kohlberg's Moral Reasoning Theory to Understanding Problems of Marital and Family Communication.
Winsor, Jerry L.; Lower, Frank J.
The concepts of moral reasoning developed by Lawrence Kohlberg can be applied to the analysis of communication in intimate relationships in an attempt to deal with the high rate of marital dissolution. Kohlberg has identified three levels of moral reasoning: (1) preconventional, in which a person reasons in terms of punishment, reward, or exchange of favors; (2) conventional, in which the individual is concerned with maintaining the expectations and rules of his or her family, group, or nation for its own sake; and (3) postconventional, in which moral reasoning is based on autonomous principles. Each level contains two stages. This paradigm opens new vistas for analysis of family communication breakdowns. For instance, it is possible to hypothesize that couples who reason at the same level are likely to handle disagreements more productively, to have a better chance of staying together, and to suffer fewer family communication problems. Research is needed to check this hypothesis. Discussing moral dilemmas could help bring parents and children to higher levels of moral reasoning, which in turn may lead to the strengthening of society as a whole. (JL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Kohlberg (Lawrence)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (68th, Louisville, KY, November 4-7, 1982).