Describing and Testing a Moderator of the Moral Judgment and Action Relationship

Stephen J. Thoma, James R. Rest, Mark L Davison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


The relationship between moral judgment development and action for Ss who differ in the degree to which justice-based moral judgments influence moral decision making was investigated. First, a method for quantifying Ss' use of justice-based moral judgments in moral decision making (the utilizer variable) is described. Second, 5 moral judgment and action studies are reanalyzed to assess the moderating effect of the utilizer variable information. Results indicate that the relationship between moral judgment scores and action intensifies as utilization increases. Moreover, the utilizer effect appears uniform across different age and educational levels and behavioral domains. These findings support the validity of the utilizer variable and are consistent with recent multiprocess models of moral action that suggest that moral judgments are a necessary, but insufficient, factor in the production of moral action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-669
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1991


Dive into the research topics of 'Describing and Testing a Moderator of the Moral Judgment and Action Relationship'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this