Moral Cognitions and Prosocial Responding in Adolescence

Nancy Eisenberg, Amanda Sheffield Morris

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

55 Scopus citations


From the late 1960s through the 1980s, research on moral judgment flourished, especially work influenced by Kohlberg's (1981, 1984) influential cognitive developmental approach to moral judgment. In addition, there was a marked upsurge in empirical research on prosocial development from the early to mid-1970s until approximately a decade ago. Much of the early research on moral judgment included adolescent study participants; moreover, in recent years there has been an inordinate amount of research on adolescents' aggression and antisocial behavior. Nonetheless, as noted by Hoffman in 1980 and Eisenberg in 1990, studies of the prosocial aspects of moral development during adolescence have been limited in quantity. Indeed, in 1987 Hill commented that "capability for relatedness, connectedness, communion, and for what Gilligan has termed 'caring morality' have ... been little studied" (p. 24). Perhaps the relative dearth of research on adolescents' prosocial tendencies is not surprising, given that social science researchers and the popular press have tended to emphasize the negative aspects of adolescence, painting a picture of this developmental period as one of emotional turmoil, hormones, and delinquency (Steinberg & Morris, 2001).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Adolescent Psychology
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9780471726746
ISBN (Print)0471209481, 9780471209485
StatePublished - 29 Jul 2013


  • Externalizing problems
  • Moral cognitions
  • Peer influence
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Social-relatedness and moral political awareness


Dive into the research topics of 'Moral Cognitions and Prosocial Responding in Adolescence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this