Adolescent Moral Development

A. Sheffield Morris, N. Eisenberg, B. J. Houltberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This article reviews the literature on theories of moral development, adolescent changes in moral reasoning and related behaviors, moral emotions (empathy, guilt, and shame), and multiple interacting systems (culture, family, and peers) that shape the development of moral reasoning and behavior during adolescence. Associations between moral development and adolescent adjustment are discussed, as well as socialization influences. Much of the literature on moral development to date has focused on childhood, whereas research on adolescent moral development has focused more so on moral identity and civic engagement. An overview of this research is provided. The article concludes with a discussion of moral education programs and potential applications of research findings.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Adolescence
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9780123739513
StatePublished - 2011


  • Empathy
  • Guilt
  • Justice moral reasoning
  • Moral behavior
  • Moral identity
  • Moral reasoning
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Socialization
  • Sympathy


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