Special populations: Women, elderly and diversity

Frederick P. Buttell, Michelle M. Carney, Melanie Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate levels of moral reasoning among a sample of battered women and compare them with a national normative sample. Method: The study involved collecting Defining Issues Test (DIT) data from 50 women (age, M = 33, SD = 10) beginning their stay at a shelter for battered women. Unlike the original method of assessing moral reasoning involving a lengthy interview, the DIT is a multiplechoice test. Consequently, it is easy to administer and score and, over the last 20 years, it has become the most widely used instrument for assessing moral reasoning. Results: Analysis indicated that the battered women comprising the sample were employing levels of moral reasoning comparable with the national normative sample. Conclusion: Implications of the findings for countering arguments that battered women are morally immature in the way in which they approach the stay/leave decision were explored and discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-170
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 28 2006


  • Battered women
  • Moral development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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