Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Developmental Psychology


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Tobias Krettenauer

Advisor Role

To supervise data collection, thesis writing, and data analysis


The goal of this study was to begin to fill a gap in the research on moral identity development in adolescence by investigating positive moral emotions (i.e., pride) for motivation in moral action in relation to moral identity development. Specifically, two forms of pride were analyzed: authentic pride, which is focussed on an action and its positive outcomes, and hubristic pride, which is focussed on an individual’s performance that reflects their greater capability in comparison to others. A new pride measure was developed for use in this study. Ten scenarios depicting moral behaviour were used, with eleven statements representing authentic or hubristic pride. Based on a pilot study using 59 undergraduate students, factor analyses showed strong reliability in the statements’ representation of two distinct facets of pride: authentic and hubristic.

Based on a sample of 216 adolescents (98 Grade 10 students, 118 undergraduate students) it was initially found that authentic and hubristic pride are, in fact, positively related. Subsequently, as predicted by previous research, authentic pride was strongly related to guilt, whereas hubristic pride was strongly associated with narcissism. Authentic pride was also found to be more strongly associated with aspects of internalization (moral identity internalization and internal moral motivation), with hubristic pride being more strongly associated with features of externalization (moral identity symbolization and external moral motivation). Most importantly, analyses showed that these associations become much stronger when controlling for individual facets of pride. Overall, the findings call for a differentiation between authentic and hubristic pride when studying moral emotion and/or moral behaviour. In addition, the importance of discussing the role of positive moral emotions in moral identity development and motivation for moral behaviour from early adolescence to adulthood is highlighted.

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