Measuring the content of moral judgment development: The Revised Moral Authority Scale (MAS-R)

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Fiona White
Cite this article:  White, F. (1997). Measuring the content of moral judgment development: The Revised Moral Authority Scale (MAS-R). Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 25(4), 321-334.


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This paper investigates the psychometric properties of the revised Moral Authority Scale (MAS-R), a unique content-based scale, which measures an individual's attributed level of influence to sources of moral authority in their moral decision making. In order to examine these psychometric properties, the MAS-R, Rest's (1979) Defining Issues Test (DIT) and Shelton & McAdams (1990) Visions of Morality Scale (VMS) were administered to 186 adolescents and their parents. Results indicated that the test-retest and split-half reliabilities of the MAS-R subscales were high. With regard to the validity of the scale, predicted levels of convergence were found between MAS-R subscales and the DIT stage scores but not between the MAS-R subscales and the VMS subscales. It was also found that the MAS-R discriminated between subjects' political and religious affiliations further strengthening its validity. Moreover, the item-total correlational analysis suggests that the MAS-R has strong structural validity. The present findings concerning the psychometric properties of the MAS-R not only replicate previous findings involving the MAS (White, 1996b) but provide stronger support amongst a broader sample. Important research implications for the use of the MAS-R within a family socialization framework of the content of moral thought are explicated.
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