A developmental model of hierarchical stage structure in objective moral judgements

J. Boom, P. C.M. Molenaar

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11 Scopus citations


A hierarchical structural model of moral judgement is proposed in which a subject is characterized as occupying a particular moral stage. During development, the subject's characteristic stage progresses along a latent, ordered dimension in an age dependent way. Evaluation of prototypic statements representative of moral stages below a subject's current stage are assumed to follow a quasi-Markov simplex pattern, whereas higher level statements are evaluated in a homogeneous, nonhierarchical way. This hybrid developmental model of moral judgement converges with the usual simplex model if subjects reach the highest stage. Using a causal modeling approach, the model is applied in an empirical study of stage score correlations of Defining Issues Test importance ratings of moral issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-145
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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