Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Science
In the present research we extended previous studies examining moral emotion expectancies in childhood to investigate the relationship between moral emotion expectancies and moral behavior in adolescence. A secondary goal was to explore the relationships among moral emotion expectancies, the moral self, and moral action. Two hundred and thirty-five adolescents in grades 7, 9, 11, and first year university completed a structured interview assessing moral emotion expectancies in various situations in which a moral norm is either regarded or disregarded. Participants distributed up to 10 plastic chips on nine emotional expressions to indicate how they expected to feel in each moral situation and also provided an overall emotion rating for each scenario that averaged across all the specific emotions they anticipated. A written questionnaire measured self-reported prosocial and antisocial behavior by asking participants how often they engaged in a list of activities in the past year. The questionnaire also included a measure of self-centrality of moral values to the individuals’ identity. Self-evaluative moral emotion expectancies were shown to have associations with antisocial and prosocial behavior, but it was the overall emotion ratings that were most closely associated with behavior. Thus, moral emotions do not appear to stand out against other, more basic emotions when predicting moral action. These overall ratings were associated with self-reported levels of antisocial behavior while moral self scores were better predictors of self-reported prosocial behavior. Additionally, the relationship between emotion expectancies and antisocial behavior was also found to be moderated by age, with emotion expectancies becoming more predictive of self-reported antisocial action with age.
Johnston, Megan E., "Moral Emotion Expectancies and Moral Behavior in Adolescence" (2009). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 937.