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Journal Article


Hardy SA, Walker LJ, Olsen JA, Woodbury RD, Hickman JR. Dev. Psychol. 2014; 50(1): 45-57.


(Copyright © 2014, American Psychological Association)






The purposes of this study were to conceptualize moral identity as moral ideal self, to develop a measure of this construct, to test for age and gender differences, to examine links between moral ideal self and adolescent outcomes, and to assess purpose and social responsibility as mediators of the relations between moral ideal self and outcomes. Data came from a local school sample (Data Set 1: N = 510 adolescents; 10-18 years of age) and a national online sample (Data Set 2: N = 383 adolescents; 15-18 years of age) of adolescents and their parents. All outcome measures were parent-report (Data Set 1: altruism, moral personality, aggression, and cheating; Data Set 2: environmentalism, school engagement, internalizing, and externalizing), whereas other variables were adolescent-report. The 20-item Moral Ideal Self Scale showed good reliability, factor structure, and validity. Structural equation models demonstrated that, even after accounting for moral identity internalization, in Data Set 1 moral ideal self positively predicted altruism and moral personality and negatively predicted aggression, whereas in Data Set 2 moral ideal self positively predicted environmentalism and negatively predicted internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Further, purpose and social responsibility mediated most relations between moral ideal self and the outcomes in Data Set 2. Moral ideal self was unrelated to age but differentially predicted some outcomes across age. Girls had higher levels of moral ideal self than boys, although moral identity did not differentially predict outcomes between genders. Thus, moral ideal self is a salient element of moral identity and may play a role in morally relevant adolescent outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Language: en


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