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ERIC Number: ED358939
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Moral Orientation and Expressions of Empathy in Children's Accounts of the Persian Gulf Conflict.
Gonsalves, Joanna; Harkins, Debra
Some researchers argue that males and females develop moral reasoning in the same manner, while others contend that males tend toward moral judgements based on the concept of "Justice" and women base their judgements on "Care." A third school argues that neither such cognitive elements as justice and care are as important as emotion, particularly empathy, in moral action. A study was conducted to determine whether there were any gender differences in children's moral orientation to political conflict and to examine the relationship between empathy and moral orientation. The study involved 30 males and 31 females from grades K, 2, 4, and 6 at an urban magnet school in Massachusetts. The children were interviewed about their understanding of events in the war in the Persian Gulf, their feelings toward the war, and their sources of information. Responses were coded to identify moral considerations as justice- or care-oriented, and then were reviewed for expressions of empathy. Study findings included the following: (1) among children in kindergarten through second grade, 38% showed neither "Care" nor "Justice" orientations and 2% included both; (2) among children in grades 4 through 6, 5% showed no orientation and 20% showed both; (3) for all children, no significant differences in moral orientation were found for males and females; (4) for the 35 children whose responses included moral considerations, only one child showed a "Justice" orientation, while 11 children showed "Care" orientations; and (5) the only gender differences found were with respect to empathy, with 17 females making empathetic statements compared to 5 males. (AC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A