As healthcare professionals, psychology students and psychologists are expected to behave ethically and morally. It is assumed that moral and ethical reasoning in psychology students develops through exposure to ethical dilemmas within ethics classes and during clinical training experiences. Rest's Four Component Model of Moral Behavior, a neo-Kohlbergian approach to understanding moral development, posits an interaction of Moral Sensitivity, Moral Motivation, Moral Reasoning and Moral Character. Moral sensitivity, or awareness of a moral dilemma, is posited to cue the moral reasoning process, though little is known about how the training environment can facilitate or hamper such developments. Fifty".'two psychology-graduate students were assessed on moral sensitivity (empathy) and moral reasoning to determine the impact of the moral climate in clinical supervision. The hypothesis that moral climate, students' perception of a clinical supervision experience, would either mediate or moderate the moral sensitivity and moral reasoning relationship was tested with SEM and hierarchical regression analyses. Moral climate moderated the cognitive empathy and moral reasoning relationship; however, moral climate neither mediated nor moderated the affective empathy and moral reasoning relationship. Affective empathy alone is sufficient to cue the moral reasoning process with moral climate having an additional impact on moral reasoning. Cognitive empathy interacts with the moral climate to cue the moral reasoning process. Mature perspective taking skills within a dearly defined clinical relationship experience facilitate the ability to identify and resolve moral dilemmas in interpersonal situations such as psychotherapy.
Kelly R. Morton
Matt L. Riggs
Janet L. Sonne
Master of Arts (MA)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Moral development; Moral education; Ethics
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Mahoney, Marita Louise, "Effects of Moral Sensitivity and Moral Climate on Moral Reasoning" (2003). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 719.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives