Academic journal article International Journal of Child Health and Human Development

Measurement of Prosocial Reasoning among Chinese Adolescents

Academic journal article International Journal of Child Health and Human Development

Measurement of Prosocial Reasoning among Chinese Adolescents

Article excerpt

Introduction

Moral reasoning is defined as the process of judging right and wrong, and is regarded as the force behind moral action (1). As a child progresses to adolescence, and their moral reasoning changes from the 'self- focused' or 'self-centered' status / mentality ('what feels good to me is right') to a stance in which social approval guides both reasoning about justice and about doing good. Moral reasoning becomes more sophisticated as a child reaches adolescence, an empathie orientation stage in which they often express sympathetic concerns for others. The empathie orientation could further develop into the internalized value orientation stage in late adolescence or early adulthood, which is defined as an "orientation to an internalized responsibility, duty, or need to uphold the laws and accepted norms or values (2,3). The young person eventually develops an individualized ethics code for directing their moral behavior.

Eisenberg adopted the stages of moral development of Kohlberg and examined how prosocial (moral) reasoning is linked to prosocial behavior like sharing, cooperating, helping, volunteering and comforting others (4). Based on the theories of moral development (1) and empirical studies, Eisenberg further refined the five stages of prosocial reasoning (5): 1) Hedonistic (self-focused) Orientation: The respondent only cares for oneself, and any apparent altruistic behavior is motivated by selfishness, e.g. TT1 help them because they'll help me in future' (reciprocity), or simply because the child likes the person they are helping, 2) "Needs of Others" Orientation: It addresses the needs of others who are being recognized only to a limited extent. The needs of the specific situation are being addressed without a genuine sense of empathy, 3) Stereotyped, and Approval-focused Orientation: Adolescent acts in a way that will make them popular or liked by others, for example lending a helping hand in order to impress others. When they are asked to explain their behavior, they tend to use stereotyped portrayals of good and bad behavior, 4a) Empathie Orientation: Adolescent starts to show genuine empathy by putting themselves in the shoes of others and begins to report feelings of genuine guilt when considering their own actions, 4b) Transitional Level: Adolescents explain their actions by referring to wider social values and the need to protect the dignity and self-esteem of others, 5) Internalized Orientation: The adolescent has a comprehensive set of values and understands their responsibilities towards others. They harbor self-respect that they can only maintain by behaving with a duty of care towards others. The person's desire to live up to their own set of principles is also a motivating factor for what?

The assessment of moral reasoning was often conducted by using moral dilemmas - hypothetical situations in which people are required to make difficult decisions. During the assessment, it is more significant to examine the reasoning behind rather than the actual choice made. In line with the approach used by Kohlberg (1), Eisenberg and associates (5,6) presented ethical dilemmas for assessing the stage of development of the prosocial moral reasoning in children and adolescents. They asked respondents to take up the role of someone else and decide whether to act out of self-interest or in the interests of others.

To date, many of the previous studies on prosocial moral reasoning were conducted by using interview measures of moral reasoning. In recent years, some self-completed measures of moral reasoning have been designed to assess prosocial reasoning, which could be more efficiently and effectively administrated to larger research samples (7-9).Based on Eisenberg's prosocial moral reasoning interview measure (2), Carlo and associates developed a paper-and-pencil measure named Prosocial Reasoning Objective Measure (PROM) (10).The PROM is a self-completed questionnaire which assess prosocial reasoning using moral dilemmas, in which a person's needs/desires conflict with those of needy others, with formal obligations minimal or absent (11). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.