Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

First Advisor

Carol Sadler


This study explored the relationship between the consciousness of moral belief and the practice of moral behavior. It addressed the role that situation, social interaction, and gender play in this relationship. The subjects included 24 eleven and twelve year old, sixth grade boys and girls in a rural elementary school. Qualitative research was employed, including observation of moral behavior in the classroom and interviews in groups of two or three students at a time. Observations were examined through the moral developmental conceptual frameworks of Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan. The findings, while raising many questions concerning components of moral development not addressed in this study, tend to denote a general discrepancy between belief and behavior among sixth grade boys and girls with a strong reliance on external authority and motivation.