A questionnaire was developed to determine the ethical attitudes and education of a group of California dietitians. A group of 198 randomly selected individuals from the California Dietetic Association membership of 2,180 participated in the study.

Great diversity was exhibited in age, type of position held and total years of work experience in the sample group. Eighty-one per cent of the respondents were less than forty-nine years of age. The positions most frequently held by the participants were in hospital therapeutics and administration, teaching and schools, and consultant work. Sixty-three per cent were employed on either a full-time or part-time basis at the time of the study.

Ninety per cent were aware that The American Dietetic Association has a code of ethics. Approximately sixty-seven per cent had received some type of ethical education during internship or college in their major field of study or in philosophy, psychology or religion.

No correlation was found to exist between the age of the respondent and her ethical education or her ethical attitude toward the questions submitted.

A majority opinion was found to exist for most of the questions; and this majority opinion seemed to parallel the ethical principles outlined in the official code of ethics of The American Dietetic Association.

Controversial questions were concerned with the political activities of the association(s), the dietitian's obligations (1) to "render service for the common good without regard for personal gain," and (2) to accept opportunities for greater responsibility.

There was no majority opinion on the degree of frankness required in the dietitian-patient relationship, the conduct of the dietitian in her private life and whether or not the dietitian was justified in using the offer of another position as a lever in gaining a salary increase.

Judging from the high percentage of returned questionnaires and from the expressed interest of the participants in the subject, it would seem reasonable to expect that similar studies could be made with probable success.

Use of a similar questionnaire could be made in determining the ethical education needs of dietetic interns. Preparation of some type of textbook on ethical considerations specific to the dietetic profession seems justified.




Graduate School

First Advisor

Ruth Little

Second Advisor

Mary P. Byers

Third Advisor

Catherine N. Graf

Fourth Advisor

Jennie S. Hudson

Fifth Advisor

Betty R. Stirling

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Ethics; Education



Page Count

vi; 75

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

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.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives