The Development of Morality

Social, Emotional, and Personality Development

  1. Elliot Turiel

Published Online: 1 JUN 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470147658.chpsy0313

Handbook of Child Psychology

Handbook of Child Psychology

How to Cite

Turiel, E. 2007. The Development of Morality. Handbook of Child Psychology. III:13.

Author Information

  1. Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JUN 2007


Moral development is examined from the perspective of the major theoretical approaches. The chapter begins with discussion of historical roots of the psychology of morality. The issues accorded greatest emphasis in each approach organize the remainder of the chapter. The first section reviews conceptions of morality based on the idea that character traits constitute morality. The next section deals with approaches emphasizing emotions and processes of internalization of morality. Then comes a discussion of theories proposing that there are substantive differences between females and males in moral orientations. Next attention is given to approaches emphasizing cultural differences in individualism and collectivism, which result in the acquisition of moralities based on the centrality of individuals and rights or the group and duties. Much of the rest of the chapter focuses on approaches that emphasize the role of judgments in the development of morality defined in terms of welfare, justice, and rights. This work has examined how children's multifaceted experiences result in the development of distinct domains of judgment, including the moral, social conventional, and personal domains. The implications of the development of different domains of reasoning for contextual variations and heterogeneity within cultures are considered.


  • collectivism;
  • constructivism;
  • contexts;
  • domains;
  • individualism;
  • internalization;
  • justice;
  • morality of care;
  • reciprocal interactions;
  • rights;
  • welfare