Moral gender differences have been discussed in terms of Kohlbergian stages and content of orientations and taken to correspond to universal stable male and female features. The present study instead focuses on moral motivation and explains differences in terms of role expectations. We assessed moral motivation in 203 adolescents by a newly developed rating procedure based on participants' open-ended responses to hypothetical moral conflicts and validated this measurement by two self-reports and one experiment. We used independent measures for the content of gender stereotypes and gender identification. Male stereotypes comprise mostly negative and morally unfavorable traits, female stereotypes mostly positive and morally favorable traits. A marginally significant relationship is found between high gender identification and low moral motivation in boys, not in girls. We take gender differences in moral motivation to result from an interaction between individually differing degrees of gender identification and content of culturally shared gender stereotypes.


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pp. 26-52
Launched on MUSE
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