ERIC Number: ED225668
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Family Decalage: Understanding Moral Conflict.
Smith, Rebecca M.
Family conflict over rights and responsibilities may result from horizontal and vertical decalage in members' development of moral reasoning abilities. The terms horizontal and vertical decalage refer to phenomena of uneven individual development within and across stages of moral reasoning. Because moral conflict involves competing claims, the principle necessary for resolution is justice, of which equality and reciprocity are two components. What these components mean depends on the cognitive, ego development, and social perspective levels an individual attains. But even if family members' moral reasoning abilities vary widely, moral conflict can be justly resolved. To better understand moral conflicts in the family, the concept of "family decalage," or uneven cognitive development among family members, is useful. According to scoring methods used in early research, standardized on males, females were found to receive scores lower than men on moral development. However, recent studies have indicated that differences between males' and females' perceptions of justice may account for these findings. When such differences are taken into account, women achieve developmental levels in moral reasoning equivalent to those of men. More generally, it is evident that research on sex-role attitudes, preferences, and behavior has excluded measures of moral reasoning development. Uneven learning in all the content areas of sex roles should be considered in future studies within this area of research. (RH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Family Decalage; Moral Reasoning
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council on Family Relations (Washington, DC, October 12-16, 1982).